Pop 101 does what Lilly Allen’s latest universally acclaimed album “Sheezus” does: parody its own genre. Pop 101 has some sharp lyrics and great rhythms. The song describes the process of writing a successful pop song with lines such as “Harmonies in thirds not fourths” and “Take ’em to the chorus.” Humorous references like “Bringing sexy back again” and “Mumford and his Sons” add wit to Pop 101, which is something I, as a listener, am a sucker for. The track has a sound different from any of Marianas Trench’s previous songs, but will have no problem getting itself stuck in people’s heads and making people dance. Also, fans will appreciate the Shake Tramp-esque “ooh, ooh, ooh’s” that accompany the song’s opening.
My only qualm with the song is that the direct references don’t parody the pop genre, but popular music. I know “pop music” in the genre stands for “popular music,” but in more recent times that genre attributes a certain sound, more so than the fact that the music itself is commercial. The song references Justin Timberlake, The Black-Eyed Peas, and Mumford and Sons, while the video adds references Robin Thicke and BANGERZ-era Miley Cyrus (in my opinion BANGERZ is not a pop album). So we have several R&B artists and a folk rock, bluegrass indie band. I would have normally come to expect the more obvious pop artists like Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears. The highlight of the song is the EDM breakdown that so jubilantly defines the track’s closing. Whether or not the EDM part of the single is there in a serious or humorous manner, the simplest way to describe it is by saying it’s near-perfect.While Pop 101 may not be a particularly strong first single compared to their previous ones, the band experimented and went outside of the box with it and fans will sincerely appreciate their effort on writing this one. It’s unique and a nice change in their songwriting. It’s the promising start of a new era and there’s nothing wrong with a fun, catchy track to sink your teeth into. I’m keen to see where else they go with their eagerly awaited senior LP.
Note: Pop 101 is currently not available for purchase.