The Underground Giveth
We've been writing about underground music here at Slow Motion Panic Masters for a year and a half now. In that time, if one thing has proved clear, it is that small musicians are increasingly producing music indistinguishable from big budget artists. This month, the debut single from Italian-born, Spanish-raised Londoner Bea proves once again that the underground is capable of unmissable releases, and rivalling even the most established pop sensations for pristine production and sonic appeal.
'Love Looks Great On You' is the epitome of a 'radio-ready' underground song. Sliding this into a Radio 1 rotation would be seamless, perfectly in-line with the shiny pop perfection of musicians with far, far greater resources. How good it sounds is an achievement in its own right , but what is even more impressive is that this is just a genuinely solid pop single, even ignoring the fact that this is the debut release from a small artist.
Arriving with waves of ethereal voices, piano chords and a Tom-Misch-esque neo-soul guitar background, Bea wastes no time in quickly getting the song to its infectiously summery chorus. Arrestingly laid back, this a song that July deserves. Between the subtle matching of lyrics like "sweet lemonade / slow-dancing waves" with a quiet lapping of coastal sounds and tropical rhythms, this is a tune that commands you to dance, or to disassociate relaxingly on a backyard hammock. Either way, it is a total home run in successfully distilling exactly what a summer song should be.
This is all before iván fergón arrives with one of the best guest verses I've heard recently. Playing enviously with bilingual lyricism, its almost hypnotic to follow fergón float so effortlessly between their gorgeous cadences and soft deliveries. The two are a phenomenal fit together, and despite the breakdown at [2:02] feeling a little cliché, when the song begins adding its elements back in it lands so, so well.
And just like that the song disappears. It's something I often obsess about, but I absolutely love a song that knows exactly when it needs to end, and 'Love Looks Great On You' fits perfectly into that category. It doesn't just stop before I get bored, it ends before I've had enough - forcing me to start it again from the very beginning. This is exactly how underground musicians should make pop music, and I am so excited to see what direction this artist goes now, but I hope that they have the confidence not to simply emulate what the rest of the pop landscape is doing. Experimentation is what makes the underground unique in a world of mainstream over-saturation, so now that Bea has shown that they can perfectly replicate the sounds of pop music, we will have to wait and see how they are able to demonstrate themselves as an independent voice in a world overloaded with identical pop sounds and song structures. It's clear that they are already capable of producing impressive music, and we can't wait to hear what comes next, and if the follow-up is anywhere near as good as 'Love Looks Great On You' Bea will assuredly begin rising on a particularly rapid ascent.
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Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture website created and co-edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student based at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fleet Foxes shill.
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