You won’t find a more creative, unique-sounding pop song than “Gospel Hour (2 AM)” by Sugar Nova. The producer takes a minimalist approach to sound design, never verging on a melodramatic or busy mix. Each sound is like a pop of color in an abstract painting. The mallet keyboard sound serves as the backsplash while each pitched vocal sample represents a fleck of brightness. The lead vocal spells out a catchy melody over all of this, grounding the experimental nature of this brilliant, masterful track.
“A moonlit street / I can see my breath / And no one hears my lonely steps,” the singer utters with a gentle, almost spoken tone. The imagery here smoothly transports the listener to another place. It’s lonely. It’s cold. It’s a little frightening. Oddly enough, it’s juxtaposed with a rather jovial melody. This creates an intriguing dichotomy that lasts for pretty much the whole song. As the chorus approaches, the singer plunges into a wealth of religious references. Among these are mentions of the Sistine Chapel and a church choir (complete with a flourish of choir-like harmonies). The lyrics, without a doubt, carry a cleverness that stands up to any amount of analysis.
Musically, there’s a lot to unpack. The chords remain pretty much the same throughout, which is common in a lot of pop music. The melodies are always infectious. The aforementioned production is pure genius. Notably, there’s a little synth solo near the end that adds a little bit of sonic interest. The synth sound itself is both fuzzy and laden with attack, which adds a nice touch.
If you like Regina Spektor, this song could be your next favorite. Be sure to check out Sugar Nova, and as always, give them a listen and a follow!
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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