Pop can be heavy – heavier than rock, in the right instances – and if there’s one young artist who is determined to prove this in her new single, it’s Jojo Engelbert, whose latest release “Sweet N Sour” beside Yetibear is getting a lot of love from critics this season. Engelbert’s deft management of a rapid-fire groove is undeniably one of the hotter points of interest in “Sweet N Sour,” but it’s actually her cohesion within the master mix that feels like the most important element in the whole of the track. She’s comfortable in the spotlight, and that’s obvious when listening to this.
The lead vocal is by far the most integral dynamic holding everything together in this piece, and I would even argue that the aforementioned heaviness comes as a result of the way Engelbert is sewing her voice into the patterned groove of the bassline. She doesn’t want to steer away from the bottom end in this mix; she’s running into it head-on and applying as much of her melodic presence to the beat as to make everything feel that much more monolithic. It’s a smothering technique, but one she’s putting to her advantage quite impressively here.
This groove is admittedly a lot fatter than it needs to be, but when you’re throwing around the kind of beat this young lady is, who could possibly take issue with it? To me, what Engelbert is proving in this performance is that not only can she keep up with the likes of Yetibear, but she’s more comfortable chasing after ambitious concepts than she is doing something more under the radar and epically minimalistic, as has been the case with the majority of her peers making noise in the underground this summer. This is by far more daring, and something I could get into the first time I sat down with it.
I really like the clandestine grip of the bassline, and were it even a little bigger than it is I would say that Engelbert is trying to develop more of a rock aesthetic in this single than she even is pop. There’s nothing big enough to stop the static energy between her vocal and the thrust of this bass, and it’s so strong that I would have to assume “Sweet N Sour” would likely work as an industrial club remix just as well as it does the radio-ready look it’s got in this incarnation.
I didn’t know much about Jojo Engelbert before I got into her music just recently, but her deliberate execution in this performance tells me that she’s going to be sticking around in the headlines for some time to come still.
She’s got a lot of melodic depth she hasn’t developed just yet, and judging from what she’s able to do with it in “Sweet N Sour,” there’s even more she could be getting out of it with minimal effort on her part. I’m excited to hear what she’s got in the tank next, but for now, this track is what you need to be checking out this July.
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