By Joelle Hyman
A few weeks ago I sat in my apartment in a Cranberries t-shirt. The Cranberries, one of the 90s best gifts to earth, hold a special place in my Clueless-obsessed heart. (Had Elton run to the quad to get his copy of Ginuwine…The Bachelor, this would be a completely different story.) Behind me, hung a One Direction poster. The not-boys-not-yet-men have adorable accents, wear really tight pants, and have hair ironically pointing and swooping in anything but one direction. An apartment guest inquired about my apparent conflict of interest, and I was able to defend my equal respect for each band by finding their common ground.
Pop music is nothing more than a formula, from the tale-as-old-as-time narrative to the cavity-inducing hooks. Whether it be post-grunge and pre-Y2K or post-American Idol, pop is the same even though it may not appear so on the surface. And where most see an un-patchable hole between The Cranberries and One Direction, I see Sky Ferreira.
With a gap in the market for a girl who looks like Courtney Love and sells like Britney Spears, Ferreira emerged like a phoenix rising from the bubblegum-goth stardust. From the time she started pursuing a career at 15 and now, Sky tested the waters with labels that put her creative ambitions on the back burner. Writers and producers fed her tracks, like 2010''s "Obsession" that lacked in "Courtney" and over-exposed her "Britney" appeal. At 20, Ferreira is now signed with Capitol Records where she released 2011's, As If!; a nod to the aforementioned cult-classic Clueless. The compilation still had a heavier electro tone but stayed true to her pop appeal with nonchalant sugar-coated lyrics like, "Oh, you wanna post about me / So, why not be open about it? / Don't, do it anonymously / Speak your mind publicly or forever hold your peace / Whatever, whatever, whatever" from "Haters Anonymous."
This month, her second EP Ghost boasts huge online buzz from culture curators like Complex, Pitchfork, and NME. With writing credits on every track, Ferreira shows her vocal and lyrical variety on soft ballads like "Sad Dream" to the beautifully ironic synth-based "Everything is Embarrassing." The latter, produced and co-written by Ariel Rechtshaid and Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, epitomizes Sky's place as a lost 90s soul in an electronic Top 40 world.
For every time Ferreira sports a flannel shirt that drapes effortlessly off of her shoulders, she delivers a song equally nostalgic. Ghost's lead single "Red Lips" was penned by Garbage front woman Shirley Manson, one of Sky's idols. While the content is generally more mature, you'll still find yourself humming the bass intro and repeating the hook. "Such a big girl / such big news / such big talk / your number is up if you like it or not / what a shock", is clearly a power chorus with heavy guitars and remnants of many Garbage tracks. Sky intends on staying in limbo between popularity in the charts and indie obscurity as long as it means she makes the music that best represents her; Ghost is just that.
Sky is not set to release her debut album this year, as planned, so you'll have to take my word and dig into her MySpace tracks, including a dreamy cover of Neon Trees's "Animal," once Ghost hits the triple digits in play count.
While I sit and bathe in the befuddled looks of favoring Brit boy bands and borderline one hit wonders of decades past, I will gladly count Sky as my happy medium. I promise it won't be the last you hear of her. And if it is, you will have no one to blame but yourself.
Check out "Everything is Embarrassing" below and get Ghost on Spotify, along with tracks from other artists mentioned in this article. (I'm looking at you, girl about to google Garbage and The Cranberries.)