Escape Ring

Let’s talk for a moment about the pop song formula. What makes a pop song great? Most would point to melody, and I would agree that “catchiness” is a key component that stands out, but I also believe that there is much more that goes into making a great pop song. Jingles are catchy, by design for commercial purposes, but it’s not like McDonalds is walking off with Grammy nominations for “ba-da dup dup da” or whatever it is. Melodies you are often exposed to (of the “jingle” nature) that are on ads for radio, ads before YouTube videos, commercials on T.V. etc. are catchy enough to get stuck in your head and creep into your psyche similarly to that of a pop song. You could even say that sometimes with certain pop songs, like jingles, the melody is infectious to the point that it drives you crazy. That would account for the “not so good” pop songs. And the industry knows this as well, as you see bigger budget projects (films, television, large companies, video games) pivot to license authentic music from real artists rather than just churn out another jingle. So back to the original question, what then, makes a pop song great? Well, I would argue that the difference lies with who the artist is behind the melody presented. Are they hitting a nerve? Are they making a connection intrinsically with their listeners? Beyond melodic audibility, does it move you in some way? That is what I think the difference is. A project called Escape Ring from Melbourne, Australia have this formula down pat, with only two singles officially released since October of 2021, and already yielding 9,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Their latest single, “Winning the War,” just came out last December on the 10th, and is everything one would look for in a great pop song.

The band produced a YouTube video that does a good job of encompassing the feel good vibe of the song, at 68 pushing 69 thousand views, it has been very well received since release. I, however, chose to embed the lyric video here because to coincide with my rantings and ravings about the craft of creating a great pop song, the lyrics behind “Winning the War,” are what I like best, and perhaps what I connected with the most above all else. The song has an insatiable ability to uplift your spirits. To quote the band:

“The song chronicles the struggle we all have from time to time conquering the voices in our own heads holding us back from whatever it is we secretly know we should be doing. The song is the band’s attempt at doing their best Rivers Cuomo. The song sounds like Beach Boys harmonies over a Weezer track”

Photo credit: Escape Ring

I would wholeheartedly agree with that assessment. Sound-wise, the track downright feels anthemic just like some of Weezer’s more popular songs in their repertoire, featuring stop and go distorted guitar riffs fit for a crowd to sing along to. The harmonies are incredibly well produced and arranged, it sounds like you are in a room surrounded by a choir right from the get go. I racked my brain to try and think of something to add to that analysis, but I find it to be really spot on, reinforcing that I think these guys are really in touch with “the formula” and what they are creating. If I had to take it one step further, I would add that I also hear McCartney-esque melodic arrangements in the verses.

“Winning The War” is described as being the project’s debut single, penned by the primary songwriter Darren Moss, and foreshadowing the release of their upcoming album called “Anybody Can Do Anything.” Seeing as how prior to this release, the project has already gained momentum finding sync placements with NBC, it’s no wonder that the upcoming release would garner some attention from industry professionals with some pretty impressive resumes as well. The tracks “You’re Number One” and “Rainbow” from the upcoming album will feature mixes by TJ Routon (Taylor Swift, One Republic, Nicki Ninaj) and Ariel Chobaz (Nicki Minaj, Drake).

Photo Credit: Escape Ring

I’m really looking forward to the upcoming release and seeing where this project goes in the future. You can keep up with Escape Ring here:

Spotify

Website

Instagram

Twitter

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