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By the time 2015 came around, pop music had already been redefined and blurred countless times. The Weeknd had taken it to sexy, intimate noir ends, Fiona Apple had elevated it to sophisticated coffee shop chic, and most of the hits on the top 100 had rap verses. Justin Beiber, Skrillex, and Diplo would stretch the genre to the electronic realm in 2015 too, which is largely what recent music history remembers the year for. There was still much more ground to be broken, however, as more under the radar creatives would experiment wildly with pop and render fascinating results.
2015 was a banner year for indie pop, specifically subgenres of dream pop, synth pop, electronica, and hyper pop. It marked more classics under the belts of pop seasoned heavyweights such as Bjork, Beach House, and Panda Bear, who proved they still had more left in the tank. The year also saw the rise of newer pop hopefuls, like the powerhouse Glasgow band CHVRCHES and the late night wonder crooner Tobias Jesso Jr. Perhaps the most fascinating storylines came from the mavericks of the year who couldn’t be put into a box, like the boundary pushing fantasy queen Grimes and hip-hop house crossover star Shamir. In a genre that is traditionally glossy, shimmering, and crispy clean, these artists frequently abandoned conventions. Pop was now defined as not a chart number or metal certification, but a feeling and aesthetic. Despite the bold techniques that took the genre in dozens of different directions, what stayed true was the attitude, flair, and altruistic sheen.
“Any music is pop if the artist believes it to be.”
Beach House – Levitation
Grimes – Kill V. Maim
Carly Rae Jepson- Run Away With Me
Unknown Mortal Orchestra- Multi-Love
Shamir- On The Regular
CHVRCHES- High Enough to Carry You Over
FKA twigs- In Time
Panda Bear- Boys Latin
Tobias Jesso Jr.- How Could You Babe
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