Recommended Tracks: “Fall Apart”, “I Could Give It Up”, “Productive”
Artists You May Like: Robert DeLong, Big Data, San Holo
Lockdown. Online shopping. Masks. Robots. Space ships. News feeds. When it comes to his first full-length album, Pusher had a lot to go on. Though Stay-At-Home Popstar was originally written before 2020, so much happened last year that it would have been crazy for the indie electronic artist to exclude some aspects of it onto his album. It all complemented his initial focus of the LP anyway, which had to do with his career and the topsy-turvy way the music industry is run. The final product is a relatable look at how our society is more or less functioning these days, set to a fun, colorful beat.
In the past, Pusher avoided lending his vocals to his releases, letting guest collaborators and artists do all the talking. This time around, though, Pusher is front-and-center. From the brief intro “Pusher International” to the melancholy interlude “Next Time” and all the tracks in between, Pusher sings, narrates, and exclaims his feelings and daily observations in a lively way. He also switches up his vocals throughout the album, masking his voice behind the lo-fi buzz of indie hit “Advertising” or adding synth to his voice on the alt-pop track “Too Late.” By treating the vocals as another creative element of a track, instead of letting them sit over a beat or instrumental, Pusher truly makes each track his own.
It is definitely Pusher’s time to shine on Stay-At-Home Popstar, and he does not take the moment for granted. He touches on some of the flawed aspects of society, getting into the dangers of mindlessly scrolling on cell phones in “I Could Give It Up,” and buying way too much stuff online in “Fall Apart.” Pusher even jokes about the concept of robots taking over in the future on “Changes Coming,” where he sings, “I don’t want to have to change my life / When the machines get smarter and take my job.” While he brings a tongue-in-cheek attitude to these topics, we get a sense that Pusher is more serious than he lets on. Maybe we should be more concerned about what is going on, rather than just letting the inevitable happen.
Obviously, excellent points are being made on the album, but exquisite music is happening as well. The instrumentals are enough to be put on a companion album, allowing listeners to fully indulge in their wonderful flavors. Pusher blends genres and styles into a captivating array of melodies and harmonies that take each track to another level. We hear intricate string features give way to simple acoustic guitar on “Productive,” where Pusher mulls over his exhaustion from being “on all the time,” and ornate synth and sax solos on tracks like “Back in Time,” where Pusher fantasizes about the past. These unique combinations are incredible to take in, and make for a pleasing surprise.
Altogether, Pusher’s Stay-At-Home Popstar is a brilliant work of art. He was not afraid to put himself out there, both lyrically and creatively. By trusting his instincts, Pusher delivered an album that was not just for show, but one that could move you – in an emotional sense. Let’s just hope that we get Pusher’s sophomore album before the machines rule the world and all originality is squandered into oblivion.
You can listen to Stay-At-Home Popstar on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.
Watch the full visual album here.