Last month, a YouTube sensation was born out of one Brett Domino, a musician from Leeds who earned the respect and appraisal of both impressionable internet-goers and self-righteous music elitists by ‘exposing’ the formula to making a ‘hit’ song with his track ‘Sexy When You Do That’, a parody song that uses Jason Derulo‘s infamous ‘Talk Dirty’ as its source material. Whilst Domino’s viral composition was indeed a valiant attempt at impersonating the likes of Max Martin, it possessed an inherent flaw – the song itself was an awkward assembly of pop tropes rather than the kind of bonafide smash you’d expect to hear Katy Perry belt out at a jam-packed O2 Arena.
With the internet being the relentlessly fast-paced and trend-hopping domain that it is, however, it seems Domino’s efforts have already been trumped by Canadian pop rockers Marianas Trench, a band that are perhaps best described as Queen meets modern day pop music. Not only has their ever charismatic frontman Josh Ramsay proved his musical chops throughout his band’s back catalogue – he managed to score a top 10 hit in Canada with the 2011 single ‘Haven’t Had Enough’, a song that shamelessly emulated Dr. Luke‘s ‘California Gurls/Tik Tok’ synth progression – he’s also the guy that took a sweet little folk song from a former Canadian Idol contestant Carly Rae Jepsen and developed it into the gargantuan global phenomenon that it is today. In a teaser for his band’s new single ‘Pop 101’, the Grammy-nominated songwriter comically expressed his disdain at being asked how to write awesome songs all the time from the comfort of an outdoor jacuzzi and professed that he would pen a track revealing his songwriting secrets. Now, his aforementioned instructional masterpiece has landed – and it’s quite simply amazing.
With ‘Pop 101’, Ramsay takes things to a whole new plateau of music tuition. There’s talk of 1-4-6-4 chord patterns and other similarly technical songwriting matter within the first verse to satisfy the muso boffins. There’s the killer chorus that reels off well worn phrases like “DJ never let me go” and pokes fun at overused rhyming couplets with the humorous line “somethings just go together/like higher, desire and fire”. There’s even the obligatory impromptu dance part a la PSY (and, well, a million other pop stars) that comes crashing out of nowhere to assure this banger’s being bumped in every nightclub across the world, as well as the ingenious ‘barely feat.’ of Anami Vice, who briefly turns up to mock the idea of lousy rappers being brought in to ‘fill the gaps’. Most importantly, however, the track manages to retain its sensibility as a radio staple despite its constant shifting between the cliches that have pretty much been present within every Top 40 of the past year. Undeniably witty and stacked with hook after hook after hook, ‘Pop 101’ is the most charming caricature of modern pop music to date.
‘Pop 101’ is available to purchase in the iTunes Store now. You can listen to the track (and try to spot all its references) above.