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SOPHIE (UK Producer): Product

Track List

>Just Like We Never Said Goodbye

Album Reviews:

Spin - "In SOPHIE's creations you can hear the desire to turn music into something beyond music..."

NME (Magazine) - "This is club music that's more art-school than street, and sometimes you find yourself marveling at its audacity. `Lemonade' is a crush song made from bubbly melodies and 100mph synths..."

Album Notes

"We can go crazy and go pop," a helium-laden voice chirps on Product, the cheekily named singles collection from SOPHIE (aka producer Samuel Long), which was also sold as platform shoes, sunglasses, and a puffy jacket. It's an apt manifesto for SOPHIE's music, which nods to the subversive fun of PC Music; Long and the collective's mastermind, A.G. Cook, collaborated on "Hey QT," one of PC Music's most prominent artifacts. SOPHIE also shares the collective's flair for combining far-flung styles -- K-pop, J-pop, and Euro-dance along with garage and other harder-edged strains of electronic music -- into an uncanny valley version of pop music full of rapid-fire edits and tweaked singing worthy of a vocaloid pop star. Though Product showcases the similarities between SOPHIE and the rest of the PC Music gang, it also shows how Long stands apart from them. His productions are even wilder, with sound design and effects that fall somewhere between Spike Jones and Aphex Twin: "Hard," which features vocals courtesy of PC Music's GFOTY (Girlfriend of the Year), wobbles, clanks, and sparkles in ways that suggest traditional Asian music, saccharine MIDI pop, and a malfunctioning android. "L.O.V.E.," one of four previously unreleased tracks, is the most dramatic juxtaposition of sweetness and chaos; pitting dense, piercing synths against snippets of a gleaming melody, it's half horror movie soundtrack, half toy commercial. Long's formidable production skills take center stage on the largely instrumental "Elle" and "MSMSMSMSM," both of which balance avant-garde menace and whimsy in admirable, seemingly improbable ways, but Product is at its best and weirdest when pop vocals and hooks are the main attraction. Fittingly, sweets are never far from SOPHIE's mind or music. "Bipp"'s textures and tempos bend like taffy as the vocals sing the praises of a love that's soft and smooth like whipped cream; "Lemonade"'s tartly chanted verses and fizzy choruses live up to their namesake; and the audacious "Vyzee" commands listeners to "give that spoon a lick." However, Long saves Product's most euphoric confection for last. With a melody that sounds like something left on Paisley Park's cutting-room floor, "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye" gives SOPHIE's exuberance a sophistication that sounds radio-friendly but far from ordinary. Though these songs were released over the course of 18 months, Product holds together remarkably well as it captures SOPHIE's instantly addictive, ever-evolving reimagining of pop music. ~ Heather Phares


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