About over a year ago, I posed a very simple question: Is Alice Chater going to save pop?
I was half-kidding, because the concept of “saving pop” is largely subjective, and there’s plenty of good music coming out all the time. But I was also half-not kidding, because there’s a very real void in the music industry – the Western music industry, anyway. We’ve largely moved away from the singing-dancing spectacle of yesteryear and into a kind of…Xanax-pop zone. Pop stars do not have to dance to be entertaining, obviously – nor do they even really need to sing live, without naming any names – but there’s a certain larger-than-life factor missing from so many of today’s crop of Spotify playlist bop-providing pop stars.
This isn’t meant to be a stan war, or even shade really, because I fully understand that each generation will have their own style, but growing up on Britney, on Christina, on Rihanna, on J.Lo, on Beyonce, on Gaga – whoever your legends are, really – I feel like I’ve come to expect something…a little different. And yes, I’m fully aware I’m already a grandfather shaking my cane at Twitter: “back in my day, we watched Darrin’s Dance Grooves just to keep up with our faves, and we liked it.”
But Alice – Ms. Chater, if you’re nasty – reminds me of an exciting, not-so-distant era.
On Friday (August 2), Alice released her latest song: “Tonight,” produced by Mark Ralph (Years & Years, Clean Bandit) and co-written by Alice and Martin Terefe on “the day after a major event in London.”
“We were reflecting on life, and thinking about what we’d want to do if this was our last day on earth. I was like, ‘I’d want to be with the person I love, and live my life to the absolute fullest until the very last second.’ And that’s really where the song came from,” says Alice.
Appropriately, the accompanying music video is apocalyptic – a theme accompanying many pop visuals, from B’s “Till The World Ends” to Ariana Grande‘s found-footage horror-style “One Last Time,” which I loved as a concept (admittedly as a found-footage horror movie lover), although I think everyone else hated it. Anyway.
“This video is my version of a coven. We hired this big mansion to film in, and the video shows me and my witches doing ouija boards and spells and full-on choreography in different rooms. We’re all wearing very high-fashion, Vogue-style outfits, so it’s probably not like any coven you’ve seen before!” she explains.
It’s as simple as that, really: a witchy girl gang casting spells in an “If U Seek Amy”/”Slumber Party” mansion until that civilization-decimating meteor decides to circle back. Or the one that’s coming next week!
But it’s not simple at all: Alice is serving in this music video, firing on all cylinders as a pop star on the rise – the vocals (she’s a Legend X stan, so you already know she’s a belter), the moves, the lewks – and the effort is quite palpable …and appreciated.
The slight hint of comedy with the Chater News Network at the start is a solid touch as well (“we are well and truly…fucked“), but she’s strictly business when it comes to serving up a stylish spectacle, bolstered by an explosive chorus (finally, some ummmph in a song), ferocious choreography and clever visuals (the dancers wrapping their legs all around her like a dress – yes.)
And to think, all this without the massive budget that comes with being the biggest pop star in the world. Yet.
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Photo credit: Virgin EMI Records