It’s an interesting phenomenon to hear a song for the first time and feel unsure about whether you appreciate it fully. It could be that the soul of the music is so distinct, we need a chance to find the places where our emotions align.
In the case of Bell Atlas’s new single, ”Video Star,” there’s something immediately inviting in the music and Nigerian-American vocalist Sandra Lawson-Ndu’s whisper. This comfort is soon replaced with a sense of unease, and a longing for the previous familiarity of pop; the purpose of this unsettling becomes clear when you connect the lyrics.
Lawson-Ndu sings, “Everybody loves when you say progress/You afraid of heights/So you won’t fly this/But you’ll sweat enough/To remain flawless.” In my mind, this song questions the authenticity of a star, particularly a politician, yet finds we continue to buy the image in the end because we see “something special.”
After a few days, I decided I loved the idiosyncrasy of this track and the group that created it. It’s future punk without the punk; it represents the world we live in across multiple spectrums, from the mass shift in our politicalness to the free cross-pollination of creativity.
According to their Facebook, Bells Atlas draws inspiration from “highlife, hip-hop, samba, R&B, and aspects of indie pop.” Needless to say, I’m having trouble thinking of artists they sound like for my post. That’s probably many a musician’s goal — to defy being typecast — so congratulations to Bells Atlas! I’m looking forward to struggling with the same problem when their full album debuts this coming summer.