There are several reasons why music has always piqued my interest. One of the biggest reasons is the development and progression that each year shows in the different genres that I follow.
However, another reason is the discovery of new and interesting artists in the underground scene who bring new ideas to an already common genre.
Default Genders, a.k.a. James Brooks, is an electronic producer from Canada who has been making music for a little over 10 years now.
However, until now he has been a low-key musician with very few releases.
Brooks started out making rave and house music for the music festival scene, but soon dropped the idea because of traumatic incidents that happened while on tour.
Later, he started Default Genders as a more experimental outfit looking more at ambient, indietronics and chill-wave for influences.
“Main pop girl 2019” is Brooks sophomore record under this alias and it’s a genre-defining moment in some ways changing how you look at pop music and the people who listen to it.
Starting with the lyrics, Brooks dives into the different substances, feelings and ideas that influence teens and young adults in different contexts, especially through the music festival scene and high school.
He tackles ideas of drug abuse, sexual harassment, stealing and abuse.
The title of the record really makes more sense when you think about the ideas presented on it, people who listen to pop music in 2019.
Now let’s look at some tracks that really stand out from the rest of the record in ideas and presentation.
From the opening track “when it’s over” you’re introduced to a serene, light, and floating synth chord that leaves a sense of calmness and tranquility that only gets added to the very reverbed vocals done by No Rome.
Brooks blends ambient music and chill-wave to a staggering perfection on this track, leaving you with an incredible opening track.
We later get the track “pharmacoma (for ben deitz),” which starts with an EKG heartbeat sample. As the track builds, more instruments and synths get layered on top of the sample creating a fast-paced yet angelic feel, similar to floating in the air.
This track intermingles chill-wave, break-beat, indietronics, lo-fi hip-hop and shoe-gaze.
Each element gets woven into the track slowly and meaningfully to create a truly relaxing experience.
The last track I want to highlight is “vietato calpestare i prati,” which has a wobbly synth chord combined with an overly dubbed quartet vocal sample that harvests an off-putting feeling, while keeping the angelic feel of the quartet.
Track after track produces an amazing balance between serenity and speed.
From the first track to the eighth, there is a great combination of genres and ideas that continues to make me break down each song to discover more layers.
However, not everything is perfect. “Reverse chronological order (part 1),” “sophie (emphasis mine)” and “holy ground” don’t produce any of the same feelings that the rest of the record does.
Each of these tracks seems like a second thought and honestly, they should have been left out of the track listing altogether because none of them really fit the record.
In conclusion, Brooks creates a genre-changing record by incorporating several different genres of music and seamlessly producing a new genre that probably could be labeled as post-bedroom-pop.
At the same time, he talked about the problems that modern teens and young adults face in the world today that the pop industry seamlessly forgets about. Therefore, I will give the record a 4.4/5.
Happy listening, Gannon University!