Pop on some Grande SPM

Sunday Star-Times - - ESCAPE | ENTERTAINMENT - Kate Robert­son kate.robert­son@stuff.co.nz Call Me Maybe You’re Beau­ti­ful.

Smart Pop Mu­sic (SPM) isn’t a new con­cept, but thanks to Ari­ana Grande’s sur­prise re­lease thank u, next, it’s hav­ing a very main­stream mo­ment.

SPM tricks you into think­ing it’s low-key be­cause the pro­duc­tion is up­beat and fun, when, in re­al­ity, it’s ac­tu­ally quite com­plex. Think Lorde, think Chelsea Jade.

On thank u, next Grande muses on past re­la­tion­ships in a stream of con­scious con­fes­sional.

The sin­gle is loaded with self­aware­ness, and the pro­duc­tion stays true to her sound. It’s au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal, but rooted in emo­tions we can all re­late to. If my In­sta­gram feed is any­thing to go by, friends can’t get enough of it ei­ther.

Say ‘‘thank u, next’’ to the prob­lem­atic pop records in your glove­box and usher in some bops that’ll leave you with some­thing to chew on.

Some peo­ple (me) would ar­gue Robyn pi­o­neered SPM, at least in a mod­ern-day con­text. This year, Robyn re­turned with new mu­sic for the first time in eight ex­cru­ci­at­ingly long years.

Come­back al­bum Honey dives right back into what she does best: fig­ur­ing life out on the dance floor. Close your eyes and move in a way that feels good, be­cause that’s all Robyn would want for you. A lit­tle bit of pure, un­in­hib­ited joy.

Carly Rae Jepsen has been mak­ing SPM for years, but the masses re­jected her early on.

tran­scended suc­cess, ul­ti­mately meet­ing a sim­i­lar fate to James Blunt’s

Love or hate that song, Jepsen knows good pop. She builds nar­ra­tives from broad, in­clu­sive themes and knows just how far to push pro­duc­tion. Her new sin­gle Party For One show­cases both of th­ese things. It’s SMP se­ri­ously wor­thy of your con­sid­er­a­tion.

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