Pop music isn’t limited to stalwarts like Madonna and upstart sleaze/sugar addicts like Ke$ha. In fact, there’s a whole world of artists that seemingly contradict the genre, pop musicians with songs that are just as much bouncy, bubblegum, beat-filled fun as the average Top 40 single, but aren’t nearly popular enough. From the electro-pop heartland of Sweden to the cramped laptops of Brooklyn, there’s a lot of delicious pop that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. Our picks for musicians we wish would replace “Moves Like Jagger” already, after the jump.
The Montreal-based keyboard pop artist Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, makes creepy, infectious pop music, the kind that makes you want to go into your room, pull down the shade, and listen on repeat. Her fourth album in two years, Visions, comes out later this month, and we’d wager it’s going to be laced with her dizzying falsetto and more hooks than you can shake a stick at.
England’s Little Boots (real name: Victoria Hesketh) is an electro-pop wonder with a fairly large following in England and Ireland but little recognition over on our side of the sea. Her debut album Hands featured work from Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, and it’s full of huge, dance-y tracks that will grab you by the feet. Little Boots, too, is supposed to be dropping another album later this year.
Robyn certainly has more name recognition than most of the artists on this list, but as pop musicians go, she’s still criminally under-recognized on this side of the Atlantic, where she was best known last summer as Katy Perry’s opening act. If you haven’t, we encourage you to take a listen to Robyn’s quirky, multi-layered, and ever-so-catchy work.
You’ve probably heard Dev’s single “In the Dark,” but unless you’re tuned in to the dance charts, she’s still flying mostly under the radar. Check out her futuristic electroclash pop the next time you’re getting ready to hit the town. You won’t be sorry.
Margaret Berger gained attention in Norway as a beloved Norwegian Idol contestant, but she’s more interesting than most of the musicians Idol has produced worldwide. Her voice is charismatic, and her material skews quirkier than your average pop fare, subtly flirting with darkness. It’s bouncy, synthy, and pure fun.
Why, why isn’t Annie playing on the radio instead of Jason DeRulo? If the world were just, Pitchfork-pop sweetheart Annie, who got a lot of attention for her 2004 debut Anniemal, would have taken the charts by storm instead of languishing on our laptops. Sigh.
The adorable indie pop artist Britta Persson is best known over here for her work with Camera Obscura, but her solo material is everything that you want from solid, smart pop music. It’s literate and layered without losing any of that charming spirit, like Björk meets Regina Spektor.