Pop music and pleasure seem to intersect more often than not. The pop tracks that get stuck in our heads tend to stay there because they give us pleasure, because they’re easy listens and they make us want to dance. In his debut EP Hostage, Portland, Oregon turned Los Angeles based musician Griffin Oskar gives us four intricately produced pop tracks that fit the pleasure pop bill to a T.
In the EP’s quick fifteen minutes, we get to scale huge build ups and hooks while listening to Oskar‘s rich, r&b influenced vocals. The buzzworthy title track follows a classic pop structure: peaking at each bridge and falling at each verse. The track is layered with multiple bulked up synth lines and arena-esque drum beats. In “Head Above Water,” Oskar bridges the line between pop and alt rock with grooving basslines and real piano. The song brings to mind bands like Bastille and Walk The Moon, two acts that make music intent for huge audiences, but with a major head nod to early ‘2000s and late ’90s indie rock.
Lyrically, Hostage doesn’t really move past the surface. Oskar sings about opening up his heart for love and how good he is at misbehaving. These messages are easy to get behind: being vulnerable is hard, have fun but stay true. Ultimately, the lyrics in Hostage are a backdrop for the real show: the album’s audible pleasure. Hostage is an EP you’d hear as the credits roll out for a feel good comedy, it’s impossible to not want to tap your foot along and dance.
Keep up with Griffin Oskar here.