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“Gum” by Alicia G

For some of us who keep up with the pop beat on both sides of the dial, the insularity of the mainstream and its most popular artists’ output has become more than a little hard to deal with in 2022 – honestly, it’s a rather shocking and deafening response to what listeners have truly been craving this year. The real elite class in the pop genre has been forming out of independent scenes like that of Alicia G’s, where the highly buzz-worthy singer and songwriter has been cultivating a sound her and her alone in the past few years. Alicia G’s new single “Gum” is a product of her experience, but more importantly, it’s the result of her abilities as a performer finally coming into their own in a way her audiences will be very happy to experience. 

First off, let’s start by breaking down the video for “Gum.” Visually speaking, it features more of an open feel than I’ve seen in a lot of music videos for similar songs this fall, with none of the fake surrealism components I’ve gotten used to in pop music included after the fact. With trending postmodernity sinking into everything from hip-hop to pop, rock, and even club music, it would be easy to see where Alicia G might have felt the desire to go with something more conceptual and follow the same road as her peers, but instead, he’s boldly striking out on her own here and doing something fun and sexy rather than intellectually sophisticated. 

Alicia G’s vocal is the main source of confidence in this piece, but I don’t think I would call it the lone element that embodies a swaggering feeling at all. There’s something a bit more breakable to our singer’s relationship with the initial beat here that I would love to hear her revisit in another composition down the line. The almost bruising tonality meshes with her sensuous serenade gorgeously, and it makes me want to hear her perform live more than I did beforehand – preferably in a raucous setting. 

The straightforward master mix for “Gum” works perfectly for the kind of melodic narrative Alicia G is straddling with her delivery, and I think anything other than a streamlined approach would probably have made everything feel a little less direct. If the goal was to get us sweating, it’s met and then some on this occasion thanks to the tension on the backend. 

Alicia G undisputedly has a big future ahead of herself in the music industry, and if any critics were debating that ahead of her new single “Gum” getting into steady rotation on the urban radio dial this season, I think they’ll be rightly silenced a lot sooner than later. This is aural proof of her eminence as a singer and performer, and it adds to her credibility tremendously for listeners who might not have been as readily inclined to go after something as wholly pop-driven as a song like “Gum” undisputedly is. 

Mindy McCall



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