Written Before Listen
First off, I would like to say Rest In Peace SOPHIE. She was a true pioneer in not only the EDM community but the LGBTQ+ community as well as she was a trans icon who was a forefront innovator for the genre of hyper pop that is getting more and more famous. On the other hand, this was an album that I was planning to review last year when she passed away but I don’t know why I never did. So with that being said, I decided to review it now because it’s been a year since she passed as well as the fact that it’s a pretty quiet release week. I will also say that I am developed more as a reviewer so that will also be taken into consideration. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
SOPHIE was a producer at heart. A lot of her recognition was due to her bombastic and colorful production. From the gummy and glitchy “Ponyboy” to the anthemic “Immaterial”, SOPHIE is also more than a one-trick pony. She does stick to her style but at the same time, she comes with different styles while sticking to her elastic sound.
With that being said, there are only 9 tracks on this album but every track doesn’t beat around the bush whatsoever. Songs like “Immaterial” are similar to a hyper pop-tinged EDM track while tracks like “Ponyboy” and “Faceshopping” are relentless bangers. Alongside that, there is also the track “Pretending” which is a surreal and hypnotic ambient track. With these 9 tracks, you can tell that SOPHIE knows how to be eclectic while managing to stick to her sound. There are not many musicians who can do that.
Another thing that made SOPHIE a great artist was her ability to combine multiple influences from different places. She was well established in musical knowledge as she took from different places of the musical spectrum. The song “Immaterial” is basically a nod to the hit Madonna song “Material Girl” but alongside that, a lot of SOPHIEs attitude and demeanor could go back to Madonna as well, but she equally takes from the biggest admirers of music circles such as Death Grips, Bjork and Arca. With those styles fused together, Sophie creates a unique blend of art pop, synthpop, and deconstructed club that separates her from every other musician.
The instrumentation is probably my favorite part of the album. A lot of the drum choices are mixed perfectly as the perfect amount of modulation, space, and breadth in them. The bass sounds are elastic and gummy like stretching out a big piece of bubble gum that has been chewed for a good 5 minutes and the synths are ear piercing. Alongside this, Sophie knows how to experiment with ambient soundscapes and distortion with tracks like “Pretending” and “Whole New World/Pretend World”. SOPHIE was surely a producer at heart and her instrumental palette solidifies that.
A lot of the times when I talk about an artist’s death, I usually like to sugarcoat the review, but this time around, I think this album already had the impact and legacy it deserved before SOPHIE tragically passed away. She, unfortunately, wasn’t able to follow this release up with a sophomore album but what we are left with is one hell of a record and I hope her legacy won’t be forgotten.
I’m so glad I finally listened to the full album. I knew the song “Ponyboy” already but I didn’t realize that she had so much more in the cannon. I kind of expected the whole album to be abrasive and ear piercing due to songs like “Ponyboy” as well as “Yeah Right” by Vince Staples, but what I got instead was something that was still hyper and aggressive but more eclectic and wide-ranged. Rest In Peace to someone who I consider really talented.