As Thanksgiving rolls around every year the typical cliché of what you’re thankful for comes with. While it may be a cliché, it really is important to think about. This year, I want to reflect on something that I truly am thankful for: pop music.
I actually think about this quite a lot. Music really has been a guide for me, it has been a release, and it has been (queue another cliché) a release for me. Throughout my depressed high school years, I had my music to shelter me. Throughout my solitary college years, I listened to music to guide me back to myself. Now, in my current stage of life, after making a solo move across the country, the music and artists I love are yet again always here to comfort me. Even more so, the pop artists I have grown to look to – they have become songwriters for my life after loving them for so long. I am thankful for this.
After years of being a pop-head, you discover the list of artists you really go back to. As it is female pop music for me, artists like Charli XCX, Yeaji, Shygirl, Lana Del Rey, and Janet Jackson have scarily created music that I feel was made for me. As most of those artists have released music recently, I want to share why I am thankful for them this year.
- Good Ones
- New Shapes (ft. Christine and The Queens & Caroline Polachek)
- Xcxoplex (with Charli XCX)
I would consider myself one of thee Charli XCX superstans. I am watching all her interviews, streaming every single album (all year long), promoting her music to everybody that doesn’t want me to, and wearing my “In the top .002% of her listeners on Spotify” badge with pride. As well as that, I listen to her music because it is invigorating. For me, she has mastered the simple yet precise formula for creating a pop song that makes you feel emotion (whatever emotion it is, she can do them all).
This year, she released and was a part of some projects that I especially appreciated. The first songs listed, are the two lead singles from her new album CRASH. Along with them, are amazing visuals with sultry looks and tall hair to match the 80’s inspiration in the album. Additionally, the last is a collaboration that is timeless: A.G. Cook and Charli XCX. Together, the two made a shiny, blissful, carefree remix of one of A.G Cook’s songs – it is a must-listen. Even so, if you don’t listen, I’ll be sure to do it for you. I am thankful for Charli XCX.
Last year, Yaeji really showed me an album that I loved and adored. WHAT WE DREW was my all-time favorite album of 2020. As an artist, she creates music that is a fusion of hip-hop, trance, and 80’s house. It is absolutely hypnotic. Now, this year she has released two songs that have really grown on me.
29 is a single that she says really helped her rediscover what she loves about music when making it. The lyrics are few, but the way she produced around them resonated with me. Who wouldn’t feel a line like “I been a bit/Held up with shit/Draining my energy left and right.” The second song was her first release after her last album. Honestly, with this one, I was just so joyful to finally hear a Yaeji track again. It’s glitchy, fast, and fun. I am thankful for Yaeji.
Shygirl is another artist that has made a huge impact in music I am thankful for after a release from last year. Her 2020 ALIAS EP was experimental, rap-pop, industrial, and dark. If you understand language in stan culture you’ll know what I mean when I say she made it into my “holy-trinity” after that release. This year, BDE was all of those things I loved about her cranked up ten times. I remember sitting in my car listening to it thinking “damn she really did it again with this one.” Then, after hearing it in the first club I went to when I moved to Austin, Texas it reminded me that I was supposed to be where I chose to go. Eventually, I want to be working with artists that create sound in the way Shygirl does. I am thankful for Shygirl.
Lana Del Rey
- Chemtrails Over The Country Club
- Blue Banisters
Lana Del Rey holds a very special place in my heart. The reason being is that I credit her for why I am as obsessed with pop music as I am. Like many female pop music fans, her 2012 Born To Die was… well… everything at the time. It was during my obsession with that album that I gained my first stan badge (artists should really give those out). While that album can’t hold a candle to her most recent work, in my opinion, she was one of the first people that made music that I wasn’t just hearing, but I was listening to.
Her power with lyrics has only improved with the two albums she released this year. On Chemtrails, she was soft, intimate, and kind-hearted, and I am not just saying that because I was going through a breakup at the time. Then, on Blue Banisters it is safe to say she took a much more emotionally-charged route. Nonetheless, whatever route she chooses with music I am probably driving my car down it listening to what she is creating because I am thankful for Lana Del Rey.
- Got ‘Til It’s Gone
While this icon hasn’t put any new music out this year, I am definitely thankful for her. Janet Jackson can be considered one of the main influences in female pop today. Through her dance videos, catchy-pop tunes, and effortless looks she has become a blueprint for what is expected in today’s music.
Feedback from her 2008 album Discipline is special to me because it was one of the first tracks I added to the first DJ sets I ever did. If you know it, you know it belongs on the dancefloor. Got ‘Til It’s Gone from Velvet Rope is a track I have more than overplayed this year. It is just that mellow tune I need to hear when I need a break from the world around me. If you live in the same world I do, you can understand why I played it so much this year. Without a doubt, I am excited to see the documentary she plans on putting out soon. I am always grateful for the impact Janet has had on the pop music I love so much. I am thankful for Janet Jackson.
Above all, I am thankful to be able to experience the boundless world of pop music. From the clouds of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream to Carly Rae Jepson’s Tiny Little Bows and Chloe X Halle’s Ungodly Hour – I am thankful for these girls.