Home News Stronger together: Europa, LSD, Silk City and the rise of mergepop

Stronger together: Europa, LSD, Silk City and the rise of mergepop

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The Briefing

The only bad thing about March 29 not, after all, being the day the UK throws itself down the toilet is that Brexit doesn’t now coincide with the launch of Europa, a col­laboramic superduo com­pris­ing Jax ‘Jaxit Means Jaxit’ Jones, who is from London, and noted Frenchperson Martin Solveig.

It could all have been so perfect. It’s still pretty good, though — Europa’s opening shot is this Madison Beer-vocaled rave beast.

It’s inter­est­ing to see streaming-driven feat fetishism evolve into the rise of semi-permanent pop bands. Side-projects like Labrinth, Sia and Diplo’s LSD, Diplo and Mark Ronson’s Silk City, and now Europa, don’t really feel like side-projects at all. At some point a switch flicks in your head and you forget they’re super­groups. They feel like actual things. How exciting, too, that so much of the output is so good.

It’s ideal really. The Way Things Are Now (we’re less confused by people having numerous songs out at the same time, we don’t require clear blue water between releases, the entire world of pop is total chaos and nobody seems to mind) means that everyone involved in these projects is able to release their own stuff in parallel, as we’ve seen with the com­plic­a­tion-free overlap between Mark Ronson’s album launch and Silk City’s success. These projects sometimes feel so separate that it’s as if a popstar could just chuck on an uncon­vin­cing false moustache, start releasing new music under a new name, and nobody would bat an eyelid. We know it’s them, but we’re prepared to suspend disbelief.

Most excit­ingly, what this also means is that each artist is able to express parts of their cre­ativ­ity that might otherwise have been boxed-off or consigned to hard drive oblivion, never heard by anyone outside the studio. Anyone who works in or around this world knows that often it’s the most ‘pop’ stuff that never gets released or even finished — it’s hard to imagine Electricity ever finding a natural home on a formal Mark Ronson album, or a formal Diplo album, for example. Just as it’s hard to imagine All Day And Night making sense as Jax Jones feat Martin Solveig, or as Martin Solveig feat Jax Jones, or as a straight­for­ward Madison Beer release.

Intentionally or not, all artists even­tu­ally develop brands that mean certain things aren’t ‘allowed’ and become ‘off-limits’, but mergepop outfits 1 present the oppor­tun­ity for clean slates and broader horizons, with no damage to any artist’s core pro­pos­i­tion. It’s the rare pop artist who doesn’t feel con­strained by their own career, but these groups provide a glimpse of complete freedom. At the very least, creating a new pop entity means you can com­mis­sion a new logo, and any popstar who passes up an oppor­tun­ity to get a new logo designed isn’t in this for the right reasons.

Give you give you more give you more give you give you more

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