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Should We Go Dance? debuts Blusher with strong fundamentals and knee-high nostalgia

"Should We Go Dance?"

Release date: 14 July 2023
Blusher Should We Go Dance EP Artwork
14 July 2023, 12:15 Written by Noah Barker

The requirement to have all music be particularly deep must be a source of frustration for some jaded souls looking onto the current hedonistic dance coup d’etat with visceral anxiety.

The defining feature of the post-COVID music landscape is its pitstop into euphoria while on the return trip from the abject nihilism of 2020. Having their formative years be defined by restriction and political platitudes, the entirety of Gen-Z is dangerously close to being Kevin Bacon in Footloose, fashion sense and all. Intimacy and crowd worship are currently being catered to at all sectors of dance, and Blusher have arrived armed with expensive synth work and corporate nostalgia.

Debut EP Should We Go Dance? is more difficult to gauge on an emotional level than the ‘yes’ replied to the title; does it feel prepared for a moment of zeitgeist, or is it a case of executives waking up from their quarterly slumbers and sleepily pawing at a snooze button entitled ‘finance trends’? Opener and lead single “Softly Spoken” is a squint-inducing response to that question. Its synthesised sonic palette has every note in its right place and the tempo shifts throughout the track break its meandering pace nicely, however, its toxic broken-heart narrative feels unnecessarily vague until the poignant “Didn’t interrupt him / When he called me softly spoken.” All that is learned here is that Blusher has MUNA on rotation.

“Dead End” takes that last passing comparison to MUNA and enshrines it in cardinal law, envisioning “What I Want” as bittersweet and nostalgic for lost time rather than determined to fight for the next high. However, with its earworm hook and strong sense of structure, it is Blusher’s proof of vitality sneaking onto a debut EP as one of my favorite Pop tracks of 2023. Treating a fake ID being caught as an affront to friendship and youth itself, with the refrain of “I’ll never give it up” cycling until its sentiment has seeped skin deep. It’s an odd memory to cling to, but most are; we don’t get to choose what we hold dear, but we hold on nonetheless.

“Backbone” continues Blusher’s stride of newly signature songs with a simmering instrumental and a galaxy-sized hook zeroed in on ride-or-die friendships. “You said you’d punch him in the chest / If you ever met,” the chorus ignites like the righteous assault it envisions. Arpeggiated synth lines background the type of off-kilter harmony akin to a hyperpop cut, yet Blusher are still ready for the radio, if not also a little underdeveloped.

Closer “Hurricane Chaser” fades out of view while steeped in its familiar synth pastiche, which remains a nagging question for Blusher as a whole. A righteous vibe they can capture, but what exactly can they pair with it that others can’t, or haven’t already? Even on standout tracks, their soundplay feels birthed by the 80s revival, without much study into what makes the revival or the original era tick. The movie trailer ‘bwah’ for the hook, the airy prom notes, etc. Even at its best, it simply sounds like what Gen-Z's idea of the 80's sounds like, rather than the actuality of it.

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