The ache for the perfect Pop song cuts deep and over and over, as new band :KINEMA: know all too well. Hailing from Brighton, this trio make irresistibly glossy, warm and infectious songs that skirt Dance and Indie crossover territory a la HOT CHIP (read our review of their latest album) and PHOENIX (who we interviewed last year) respectively but are at their heart Pop through and through. As frontman Dom sings on their slick synth tribute, White Socks For Dancin’ (exclusive download on the right), “this 80s child was raised on Quincy beats”. On how he and bandmates Ross (keytars/synth) and Andy (electric guitar) got together following a trip to France, Dom explains over email: “I think it’s a universally accepted truth that if 3 people spend 11 straight hours together in a cramped Fiesta then they will form a pop band.” That’s certainly enough time to work out their idea of a perfect pop song. “I am very drawn to songs that are very musically compact and cohesive,” says Dom. “We spend a lot of time thinking whether each part is essential to the track.” It’s that kind of studied dedication that is starting to pay off for them – they’ve already recorded an album’s worth of songs and are steadily getting a reputation for electrifying live shows. With their debut EP, ‘Circles’, coming out on Hot Pockets in April, we asked them to tell us their five favourite pop songs. You can also listen to :KINEMA:‘s favourite pop songs on Spotify.
Michael Jackson P.Y.T
It’s impossible to pick just one MJ tune really. This whole list could quite easily just be Michael Jackson songs but we’ll go with this one because it’s impossible to stay seated when the groove kicks in. All the elements of the song work perfectly together. The mechanics of writing and performing pop music for dancing to are actually quite complicated but he just made it seem so effortless.
Michael McDonald I Keep Forgettin’
Both the original and the Warren G & Nate Dogg re-working are absolute timeless classics but we’ll go with the original because Mr. McDonald has such an amazing and unique voice – its amazing how he projects his falsetto just as well as his vocals in the lower registers. The warm sound, powered by the electric piano that you find in a lot of McDonald tracks is something we often try to emulate.
The Whitest Boy Alive Golden Cage
These guys are probably our favourite live band – all four of them are just incredible musicians. Again we could have picked any number of their songs but we’ve gone for Golden Cage as it is a great example of what I like the most about the band – which is the space in the music. Their sound is so beautifully clean, each element seems like it has acres of land all to itself. I love the fact that they cover loads of 90s dance classics as well.
Holy Ghost! Hold On
I guess technically this is a disco tune, but I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s not a great pop record as well. I think the break is from a Bell and James tune called Livin’ It Up – I may be wrong. It’s great anyway. One of those songs that just makes you grin from ear to ear on first listen. I think I’ve played it in nearly every DJ set I’ve done since it came out, which was probably over 2 years ago now.
Amerie 1 Thing
Again, it could be said that this isn’t pop in the classic sense of the word, but it’s hardly a typical R&B tune either. The clattering Meter’s break is so unusual for a genre usually associated with large, tight electronic drum beats, but it works perfectly on this track for some reason, and the vocal line is just instantly addictive. Making a bonafide hit is not easy and definitely not just a matter of following a simple formula as many people would have you believe. Still when it’s done well, as it is here, it all appears to be brutally simple – that’s often the sign of a great tune.
If you like big pop songs, check out our interview with Two Door Cinema Club too.