UNIVERSAL MUSIC, Rs 395
There’s never been an entire CD dedicated to teen idols and Fresh is certainly a breath of fresh air. The 16-track compilation has almost everyone who made it big in the last three years. If you’re wondering what teen pop is, well it’s essentially dance-pop, pop, and mushy ballads marketed for teens. It’s been around for decades, but came into prominence in the early 80s and 90s.
On this playlist we not only have bubblegum pop, but also heavy shades of rock. We open the parade with Carly Rae Jepsen’s mushy I Really Like You, and move to the boyband antics of 5SOS on their pop-rock edged Don’t Stop. Selena Gomez takes a feather from her past album For You with The Heart Wants What It Wants, a song with very bare minimum instrumentation; a catchy, adult contemporary ballad. Her lyrics are sweet and heart-touching. “…The future that we hold is so unclear / But I’m not alive until you call / and I’ll bet the odds against it all… / There’s a million reasons why I should give you up / But the heart wants what it wants.”
Nick Jonas breaks away from the Jonas Brothers and walks on a fairly successful solo career with Chains. Shawn Mendes puts you in a spell with his heart-warming Stitches. The Vamps set the template for the genre with Oh Cecilia. British electronica trio Years and Years come up with their single Desire from their debut album released this year. Another highlight is Ariana Grande’s pulsating One Last Time. Her vocal prowess is best seen on this simple verse-chorus track. R5 might not be well-known this side of the Atlantic but the all-sibling American band cannot be given a miss for they give you a pretty good shot at pop-rock with Smile. Tune into newcomer Ella Eyre with her heavy rock accent on Comeback, while Nina Nesbitt goes soft on everyone’s favourite pastime that’s now a song — Selfies, with its catchy chorus. Ryn Weaver’s Octahate is passable though slightly loud, while will.i.am’s protégé Cody Wise is the man on the popular dance track It’s My Birthday, followed by Austin Mahone’s guitar strumming on Shadows. The guitar plucking on the album closer Home To Mama (featuring Cody Simpson) from heartthrob Justin Bieber is something to listen to.
Hopefully these songs will bring back some good memories, and if you’ve never heard them before, you can now create a new playlist to rewind to.
Verus Ferreira is a freelance music journalist for over three decades, contributing articles to various newspapers and magazines. He is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book. Besides being a music aficionado, he is also a photo-journalist. He contributes to Musicunplugged.in.