Strings of colored lights rapidly blink like a fluorescent snake, illuminating the dark room and all the sweat-drenched patrons that inhabit it. The glistening lights are accompanied by swift melodic blips, as an indigo hue steadily fills the space and reveals a hooded woman onstage. She begins to contort and sway her limbs to the sounds in swirls of wispy fabric. The indigo slowly transitions to a deep cerulean, and finally a glimmering gold as she starts to sing . . .
In a world infused with countless contrasting electronic influences, the lines that define exactly what “pop music” is are increasingly blurred. Euphonious vocal melodies may still be the standard, but instrumental palettes can be anything. This freedom allows compelling singers to surround themselves with experimental elements while retaining the “pop sound”. Oh No is the newest full-length from Canadian artist Jessy Lanza.
The seraphic singer teams up again with Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan to craft another album filled with eclectic pop perfection. Greenspan returns with his versatile electronic arrangements for which he’s known, traversing genres including minimalist r&b, house, and footwork. The most prominent divergences from the previous album are Lanza’s highly refined vocal skill and a distinct shift towards a more glistening, buoyant mood.
Although sadness remains a prominent topic in these songs, the way that it’s conveyed is vastly different. Where Pull My Hair Back communicated the sorrowful subject matter in a predominantly icy, subdued tone, Oh No translates it into gorgeous compositions that focus on glowing aspects of vulnerability and triumph. Lanza is redefining what it means to be a pop icon. If you’re seeking eclectic, electronic pop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)