The music of SOPHIE has been uncompromising from the start. From her earliest singles like ‘Lemonade’ and ‘Bipp’ it always sounded like a combination between happy-go-lucky Kid’s Bop and the soundtrack to a hard-core BDSM party. Some more easy going songs like ‘Vyzee’ have, in all fairness, provided us with more typical dance music, whilst still remaining very exciting, but generally she has been very idiosyncratic with her choice of electronic music. This new album is no different, however it does offer a look at her more tender side.
Lead single and album opener ‘It’s Ok To Cry’ is a beautiful and dreamy track, with some genuinely heart-breaking lyrics paired up with her sweet-as-sugar vocals. Lines like; “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way/But I think your inside is your best side” manage to tug at the heartstrings, not only for how beautifully written they are, but also because of the Bjork-like, whispered vocal delivery.
She does still manage to throw some of the wildest pop songs of the year at us though. You only need to look at singles like ‘Ponyboy’ and ‘Faceshopping’ to see that her vast array of industrial noises are still being thrown into these leather-clad electronic mixes. Look no further than the music video for ‘Faceshopping’ to see how perplexing she can be, as her face distorts and writhes to the beat.
Her knack for writing beautiful pop music has been incredibly overlooked up until this point. The best of the bunch on this album are her more heartfelt takes on love and gender, such as ‘Is It Cold In The Water?’ and ‘Infatuation’. The ethereal sound of these tracks is strikingly coupled with the hectic and eclectic messiness of the rest of the album, and really paints a stunning, Jackson Pollock-esque painting of SOPHIE’s various emotions.
All of this is summed up best with the closing, 9 minute epic ‘Whole New World/Pretend World’, in which all the elements of the album culminate into a track that sort of sounds like Grimes, sort of sounds like Die Antwoord, sort of sounds like Aphex Twin, but basically sounds like nothing else this year. It’s a truly interesting pop behemoth that will leave you with the lingering feeling to start the album again from the beginning.
SOPHIE may not be on her way to becoming a household name anytime soon – not if she continues to write music this interesting and eclectic anyway – but it’s doubtful she’d want that. This is pop music for outcasts at heart. It’s aimed at people who need to be a bit freaky sometimes. It’s for people confused about their identity and their place in the world. If you’re feeling adventurous enough, then grab SOPHIE’s hand as she drags you through her bizarre world – it’s messy, but it’s sweet enough that you won’t mind.