Six pop jams to put a smile on your face

Pop music has a bad reputation these days. When people hear pop they automatically think Britney Spears and the big music machine. But really, there’s more to the genre than that. It’s a popular sound. And really a pop artist doesn’t have to have a lot of fans to be “pop.” These are examples of emerging artists in the pop music realm who deserve more fans and more following because the music they make is enjoyable. Give them a spin!

Dale McKay – “Make You Happy”
-From the opening chords on the organ through the killer percussion and McKay’s great vocals, you can immediately hear the “pop” sound of this track. There are shades of MJ in this, but also definitive spark from a wide variety of influences. The best part is that this song could have really come out any time from about 1975 to the present day. It has a really wide appeal to it. If you put this on for the family picnic, a lot of people would be wondering who it is. They’d all be tapping their toes.

Cameron Walker feat. Elena Coats – “Just Come Home”
-Cameron Walker has a real knack for a good melody. When you add Elena Coats to the track for some harmonies, you have pop gold. Seriously I have no idea why this song has not gone massive yet. It should be picked up by a television show or movie soundtrack and blast off to be on the phones of millions of young people. There’s a sincerity to Walker’s lyrical delivery that really begs for pop success. The romantic, idealized lyrics are absolutely perfect for the genre. This is a non-formulaic but “fits the mold” pop song if I’ve ever heard one.

King Deco – “Read My Lips”
-For someone who hasn’t been “out” much in the last few years, this song gives me a curmudgeonly feeling about “kids these days” being out late, partying all night. That said, it also makes me wish I was 18 again and able to go to the club where they play music like this. It’s sultry and smooth. It has just the right kind of pull that makes you want to know what the next line is going, but you also know exactly where it’s going. This is the kind of edgy pop that really makes sense to go big and even has a bit of electro. It should be right at home on the top 40.

Jamison Chester Fox – “In the Summer”
-Every year there are a few really good cruising songs that come out. This is the cruising jam for 2016, for sure. The song is easy, with a nice restrained and control female vocal, but the subject matter works really well for a pop hit. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to live free in a coastal city. I can imagine surfing or boogie boarding, listening to a song like this to chill out. There’s a romantic core to the lyrics that keep it easy to connect. The simple sonic structure keeps it in that pop category in all the right ways.

Morning Wars – “Cannibal”
-I know what you’re thinking… this isn’t pop, it’s rock. Okay, well I left my hair splitter at home, but seriously this song is about as pop as a song can get in my book. It sounds like something that would have peaked on the top 40 sometime between about 2005 and 2010. That said, it’s not a worn out style and I really enjoy the edgy feel of the lead singer’s voice. When I listen to the song, I don’t 100% know the message, but I know it’s about a woman I probably don’t want to meet. Okay, right, I’m sure of it. But still, she inspired a cool song, so there’s that.

Palmas – “Flowers”
-About 20 seconds into this song, I went to my “song of the year” list and added this as a candidate. So yeah, if you think these midweek lists are just throwaway coverage please don’t. I absolutely love this song. I am so captivated by the harmonies, the structure, and the message that I actually find it hard to write about. You know a song is good when it makes you think of an exact situation at an exact moment in your life. I wish I had the courage to write like these talented artists can write. I also love the blend of retro styling with fantastic, fresh performance. I love it.

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