I don’t know much about pop music. Let me rephrase – I don’t know much about pop music in the more recent years of the 21st century. I think I lost hope in the traditional pop genre when people started thinking acts like Ariana Grande are talented. Is she even pop? I don’t know, but it was around then that I locked myself up and ignored that section of the music industry. I will, however, admit that I own Ed Sheeran’s discography, know all the words to Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’, and find Carly Rae Jepson’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ adorable! So, when I was presented with Calum Foad’s latest single, ‘Rollercoaster’, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Synth-pop is not something I am acquainted with, but I was willing to give it a try; I’m so glad I did!
Calum Foad is a 23-year-old charmer from Reading who began his music career with an astounding entrepreneurial ambition. What I mean by this is that Calum already has almost a dozen years of experience as a singer, has worked with world-renowned record producers, has been featured on several media platforms, and all before releasing his debut album! However, what do you expect from a person who looks a little like Superman’s alter ego? Clark Kent was Superman after all.
Calum Foad’s latest single, ‘Rollercoaster’, is the result of collaboration between him and US producer Marc McCluskey (Weezer and Bad Religion). After the roaring success of their initial single, ‘You & I‘, this highly anticipated track has a lot of expectation to meet. So, has Calum continued his brooding sound with lyrical vulnerability in ‘Rollercoaster’? My answer is yes.
‘Rollercoaster’ is a song with a profound meaning cast in a seemingly simple pop mould, and this translates in both the lyrics and music. No guitars, no drums, no tambourines or trumpets; ‘Rollercoaster’ uses synths to carry you throughout the slightly more than three-minute track. I’m no expert on synths, but I found the persistent beat reminding me of a heartbeat to match Calum’s tale of his ‘rollercoaster life’. It’s true, there might be some arrhythmia in some places, and he’s definitely flying off the radar when higher notes fade into the distance. Then again, these are only emphasising his repetition of the term ‘rollercoaster’ and describing the feeling of being on the ride.
I could choose a favourite lyric in ‘Rollercoaster’, but whichever lyric I choose would be a lie. To fully appreciate the song, you need to view it as a whole with all lines working in relation to the other. There is no distinct lyric, but a distinct message from Calum to show that life is filled with rollercoasters, and you need to make the best of them. Calum’s sombre voice fits perfectly with the ‘plip plop’ beats, and the swelling of synths makes you feel as if you are on this rollercoaster with him.
Ronan Keating was the first to say that life is a rollercoaster and you need to ride it; however, it is Calum Foad that defined the vulnerability a human feels when on that ride. Will I download the track? Probably. I’m not one for this genre, but the significant value of Calum’s music can make me a believer.