Pop music doesn’t generally have much to say in its lyrics, not beyond love lorn platitudes or euphoric sentiment. But that isn’t pop music’s job. Its main concern is engagement with the audience, lifting spirits (or perhaps sending the mood the other way) offering something immediate and of the moment. But what if pop could do both? What if it could offer both a slice of up-tempo pleasure and give the listener something to think about?

Ruben Gausel Torkelsen‘s latest release, Take You Down, proves that those opposites do attract, that when both elements are mixed in a song, you end up with the best of both worlds. The perfect dance-pop crossover and poignant comment on modern life.

At the heart of the lyrics is a very important question. Is there anything to be gained by hurting or embarrassing another person when you can learn to live with their flaws? Is it better to take them down or walk away? After all, we are none of us perfect. It’s about being the bigger man, or woman, about doing the right thing, about trying to keep things harmonious, thinking first rather than just reacting.

And if the lyrics raise an important question, then the music which that question comes wrapped in delivers the more fun element. Liquid beats and pulsating rhythms rise into a wonderfully staccato groove, one which lifts into glorious crescendos one moment or drops back down into lush lulls to showcase the vocals. It rises and falls, ebbs and flows to create some great dynamics, keep the listener interested and creates a gorgeously varied dance vibe along the way.

As great as the music is, it is always the vocals that are going to be the focal point in music of this genre, and this is no exception. RØDY provides the perfect voice for this poised-pop zinger; at times understated and intimate, then heightened yet controlled and even drifting off into “voice as instrument” territory to add wonderful vocal motifs around the periphery of her main vocal.

All in all, it is hard to think of anything that Ruben Gausel Torkelsen has forgotten to put into Take You Down. A song that is immediate but which leaves you with plenty to think about. Which is both fun on the surface but with thought-provoking depths. Which is musically astute and vocally engaging.

It doesn’t get better than that. At least not until his next release!

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