Three unconventional tracks to show the versatility of the “pop” genre (when you’re not listening to the radio)

Certainly So – “Tired for a living”
-Everything from the understated guitar to the inflection in the lead vocal makes this song feels like an “alt” track. This isn’t the grungy, belabored style of alt music though. This is a bright style of rock that brings an alternative energy (truly) that flies in the face of convention in terms of “pop” or “rock” music with an excellent Ivan and Alyosha style lead vocal. The lyrics are about being tired and worn out, conveyed with an energetic instrumentation and rhythm. This is a track for people who have just had enough but are not hanging their heads; this is about optimistically fighting for yourself despite being worn out.

Zac McMillan – “Once more”
-There are a lot of “oh ohhs” in the opening of this song, but trust me you’ll want to stay with it. It’s got an acapella jazz vibe to it that’s going to be a fit for barbershop types, but there’s literally something for everyone in this track. If you’re a reader of a certain age (ahem), you will remember the group Rocakapella (of Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego? fame). This song fits within that comp, bringing elements of pop harmonies and rhythms in a style and sound that you won’t hear on the radio today. The lyrics are ultimately about appreciating life and deciding to strive for it, being wholly present. It’s a feel good, energetic song that will have a lot of listeners singing along.

FELIX – “Hallelujah”
-There’s a haunting energy to the first few lines of this song. It stands out from the crowd immediately. As the full band enters (the organ, in particular), the song takes on an intriguing direction that feels like a party song and a celebration all at once. The production mix on the guitars, drums, keys, and vocal all come together for something really special. “Oh… no… looks like you just lost a friend.” The phrasing, timing, and relatability of the song put it on another level. This is the kind of song that if it has the right opportunity to be exposed to pop audiences absolutely will take off. Fans of bands like Tame Impala will eat this up. It’s got sass, movement, and just the right poppy groove with unconventional instrumental elements that make it stand out. This has major hit potential.

Image courtesy: Certainly So IG

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