Music Features

Remembering SOPHIE: The Futuristic Producer's 5 Career-Defining Songs

SOPHIE, who pioneered the subgenre now known as "hyperpop," died January 30.

Lea Colombo

Sophie Xeon — the avant-pop producer known mononymously as SOPHIE — died January 30 in Athens, Greece, where the artist was living.

"Tragically our beautiful Sophie passed away this morning after a terrible accident," SOPHIE's record label, Transgressive, announced in a statement. "True to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and accidentally slipped and fell. She will always be here with us." SOPHIE was 34.

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Devon

Press Photo

A rising star from Philadelphia, Devon releases her stripped-down acoustic version of Charli XCX's "Boys."

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Music Features

How the Digitized Weirdness of PC Music Became Pop's New Normal

With Charli XCX's quarantine album How I'm Feeling Now coming out this week, we look back on how her frequent collaborator, PC Music founder A. G. Cook, helped shape today's pop music.

A. G. Cook in the studio with Charli XCX and Caroline Polachek.

Courtesy of A. G. Cook

Last year saw the release of one of the most exciting and distinct pop albums in recent history: 1000 gecs by 100 gecs.

100 gecs' divisive, maximalist sound is just as fresh as it is peculiarly reminiscent of niche trends of the 2000s. Those who grew up among the Myspace-centric "scene kid" subculture likened the experimental duo to groups like Blood on the Dance Floor, the Millionaires, and Brokencyde. Others compared their blown-out production to that of dubstep DJs like Skrillex and Bassnectar. Some people couldn't stand 100 gecs, but everyone else couldn't get enough.

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New Releases

Charli XCX Shares Her First Social Distancing Song, "Forever"

The pop auter's upcoming DIY album is due in May.

Charli XCX really, really likes to keep herself busy.

In the months since her last album, Charli, the experimental pop auteur has had her hand at a few one-off tracks—like a remix of a 100 gecs earworm and a promotional single for Nintendo—but with so much free time on her hands lately, she just can't stop creating. This week, she announced she's working on a new album with the working title how i'm feeling now, created DIY-style from the comfort of her home. Now, Charli has shared its first song, "Forever."

A love song that evokes the sugary melodies of Charli's earlier work, "Forever" echoes the open-road freedom that we're all craving right now as we practice social distancing. Its lyrics grapple with the fleeting nature of relationships in all forms: "Drove the car off the road / I gotta give you time to grow / You're not a ghost, you're in my head / I didn't wanna leave you low," Charli sings in glossy AutoTune, illustrating how matters of the heart are never quite black-and-white. But despite taking time apart and facing difficulties like the "roof caving in," the romantic connection is irrefutable. "I'll love you forever," she repeats ecstatically over the chorus, before a crunchy, metallic breakdown takes over.

Charli co-wrote "Forever" with producers B.J. Burton and A. G. Cook, the latter of whom has worked closely with the singer since her 2017 album Number 1 Angel. how i'm feeling now is due May 15. Listen to "Forever" below.

Charli XCX - Forever (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

MUSIC

Charli XCX's "Quarantine Diaries" Will Make You Feel Less Alone

Are you having a hard time social distancing? So is she!

If you're reading this right now, you're probably cooped up at home, avoiding the outside world in a futile attempt to lessen the severity of the you-know-what virus.

It's a weird time to be alive right now, and if you're practicing social distancing to mitigate the virus' spread (which you absolutely should be), it's likely that you're feeling pretty alone. The good news is that you're not the only one in this quarantine boat; even Charli XCX, Britain's reigning princess of clubbing and having a generally fun time, is doing the right thing by keeping herself isolated.

The pop star, who just followed up last year's Charli with a remix of 100 gecs' "Ringtone," took to Twitter to share her "quarantine diary." If you're feeling unproductive or purposeless in this rough time, join the club! "Being a workaholic in quarantine is quite stressful," Charli wrote. "If I don't have a million things going on, if my brain isn't buzzing, this pit of doom starts opening up. I start thinking 'why?' 'What's the point?' 'I am so purposeless.' Quarantine is also making me think about the possibilities of a shift within my industry...What will happen to live shows?" She continued: "I don't have answers and some of this isn't even important but I'm just writing this as a stream of consciousness because I've currently got nothing else to do."

While this pandemic can feel frightening and confining, it's important to remember that we're all in this mess together. For many, not being able to work as productively or see friends can induce a wave of guilt; mixed with anxiety about the current state of everything, that "pit of doom" is a pretty relatable scenario.

It's OK if you're not being productive right now and can only muster up the energy to survive. Stay inside and find things that make you as happy as possible in the meantime. This will blow over eventually—then, you can go back to your usual existential fears of the 2020 election and the climate crisis.

Music Lists

15 Songs to Sing While You Wash Away Coronavirus

We've all been taught to sing "Happy Birthday" twice, but times are tough, and we need a change.

Since the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak reached the U.S., a number of states—including Washington, New York, and California—have called a state of emergency and canceled large gatherings.

Originally scheduled to take place this week, Austin's South by Southwest was canceled for the first time in its 32-year history. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both just called off rallies in Ohio due to fears surrounding the virus, while Coachella is in talks to be rescheduled for October. As the number of confirmed cases climbs, more and more employees are working from home. Harvard University is evacuating its dorms for the remainder of the semester. Times are tough.

Still, experts assure us that as long as we're generally healthy, we don't need to worry so much about coronavirus. But with so much media coverage and the reality of quarantine feeling more imminent, what better way to help us through the crisis than with song?

Health officials maintain that the best way to ease the spread of coronavirus is to avoid touching your face and, of course, wash your hands thoroughly–for at least 20 seconds. Singing "Happy Birthday" twice is a tried-and-true method, but times are changing. It's 2020. We need better songs to wash our hands to.

So, here are just a few options to sing to yourself while you get your hands squeaky clean. Go ahead and sing them out loud. We won't judge.

"Sugar, We're Goin' Down" by Fall Out Boy

Am I more than you bargained for yet?
I've been dying to tell you anything you want to hear
'Cause that's just who I am this week
Lie in the grass next to the mausoleum
I'm just a notch in your bedpost
But you're just a line in a song

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