Pop is a broad music category. All genres are, but pop perhaps has a broader sonic spectrum than most. But, again, as with all genres, certain traits and traditions run like a thread through all music made in the pop realm. Traits include instant access for the listener, infectious hooks and immediate melodies, easy grooves and cool moves. Pop is, after all, short for popular, so anything that kicks down the divisions between the pop-picker and the creator is a necessary part of the process.
The neat thing about this latest release from LA-based Alke is that it does everything I have described as essential to building the pop product. It blurs the lines between pop and R&B, between the past (a few echoes of 90’s pop golden age hang tantalisingly in the air) and the present, plays with both cutting-edge musicality and more traditional sounds, is fresh and yet familiar in its tones, is rich and highly polished in its textures.
In short, everything going on here are all the ingredients that go into mainstream, chart-orientated, stadium-ready pop. You could easily argue that this is more than merely a pop song, that such a label doesn’t begin to do justice to a song more mature, switched on and intelligent than its rivals—a song which sets benchmarks rather than aims for existing ones.
Pop music, if this is simply pop music, isn’t known for raising standards, certainly not in the modern age, but Touching Me Now does just that. Not only a fantastic release but also a reminder of what pop music can be if it just tries a little bit harder. A glimpse of what pop music used to be about. Perhaps also a glimpse of what it might be again. We can only hope.