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“This is It” by Neon Dreams

Pop’s greatest bands have never been limited by the sonic parameters that define the loudest of stadium-shakers; in fact, there’s a strong case to be made that this genre’s all-time greats could produce a ballad as easily as they could a serious thrasher. In their new single “This is It,” Neon Dreams establish themselves as a multifaceted pop duo that can get as emotional as they want without ever departing the familiar ground that won them an audience in their slew of 2022 singles.

Structurally, “This is It” is as indebted to old-school pop as it is to the conventions of beat-oriented music, but cosmetically, this is a power ballad in the vein of a heavy-handed 80’s classic. Neon Dreams aren’t forcing anything in this track, but instead letting tonality, texture, rhythm, and moderate rhyme express everything that they want the audience to know – which, despite being as basic as it is, is a blueprint that a lot of their peers can’t seem to follow lately. Consistency isn’t a problem for these guys, and if that wasn’t obvious before, it most certainly will be now.  

“This is It” might be the most melodic tune that I’ve heard in this band’s current discography, and if you’ve been listening to any of their previously released music, you know that this isn’t any sort of small statement for me to make. There’s so much weight to the delivery of the words and even the bassline/percussion attack there to cushion them that it’s never a question of whether or not these players have some deeper ties to the narrative here.

Their passion for the melodies is what makes it obvious that they’re being authentic with the listener, and while there isn’t a lot of polish on anything here – especially, and surprisingly, the vocal – everything seems to sparkle just the same. I really like the muted dueling between the bottom and the guitar as we reach the climax of the song, but though the instrumentation is sharp as a tack, “This is It” simply wouldn’t feel the same if there was a different singer behind the mic. This is a well-rounded effort, but more importantly, probably the fullest Neon Dreams have ever sounded.  

Relatively simple in some ways but rich with a heartfelt intimacy that I haven’t been able to locate in a lot of pop music as of late, Neon Dreams’ “This is It” is just the kind of power track that was missing from my spring soundtrack this April, and I’m really happy to have found it. Whether we’re breaking down the bones or the heavy presence of playful pomp in the band’s execution, this song is as solid an offering as any classic pop tune of similar persuasion, and judging from its calculated construction, I think it’s clear that Neon Dreams are ready to deliver a full-length studio album. They’ve been on the cusp for a year now, but with this release, they put themselves over the top with critics and audiences around the globe just the same. 

Mindy McCall



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