By EILEEN CECONI
It’s easy to become disillusioned with pop music. Barring some exceptions (Mariah Carey’s “#Beautiful” <333), I’ve been discouraged by the lack of both talent and ingenuity. Artists that produce in the Top 40 seem bound by a template for what makes a “hit,” as if this top echelon of earners (again besides some genuine exceptions) is more concerned with creating a safe song that will make money rather than taking a risk. Here’s where people like Saint Pepsi come in. As Saint Pepsi, Boston College student Ryan DeRobertis operates on the fringe of pop. Best known for his remix of Carly Rae Jepsen’s sorority-party anthem “Call Me Maybe,” DeRobertis takes this prototypical “pop” piece and lengthens it and drops the frequency of the vocals. Though immensely popular among indie music bloggers, I would guess that this remix could quench any estrogen-infused rager in a few seconds.
Since releasing that remix—which was tagged with the genre “vaporwave” on Soundcloud—Saint Pepsi has been quite busy. In addition to some smaller remixes, he made his debut with the album Hit Vibes last May, and followed up with Gin City earlier this week. Gin City is one of my favorite releases so far this year, filled with bubblegum melodies and beats from the video games of our childhoods. Seamlessly sampling both Aretha Franklin and Justin Bieber (on the tracks “Mr. Wonderful” and “Bieber” respectively), Gin City is neatly tied together with these video game tunes to create a diverse yet cohesive end product. Glitchy but still sweet sounding, Gin City manages to sum up the feats and follies of our generation in a mere six songs.
A bit before this stellar EP, Saint Pepsi also posted a remix of Tei Shi’s track “Nevermind the End.” In a dreamy collaboration of two of the most buzz-worthy artists right now, Saint Pepsi’s remix focuses on Tei Shi’s vocals, toning down the R&B elements in the original. Futuristic and addictive, Saint Pepsi’s velvety synths create what will surely be the anthem of my Spring Break. He’s absolutely mastered this sugarcoated sound, creating an inventive spin on pop music.