We don’t cover pop a lot on the blog. To be honest, that more reflects a blind-spot among our staff members than any grand design; we don’t really cater to the whole “pop is shit, metal rules supreme” narrative, at least not willingly. Regardless, every once in a while something breaks through our genre deafness and speaks to use with a language we can understand, even from within the pop/singer-songwriter genre. Case in point: Montaigne, being the stage name for one Jessica Cerro, a singer/songwriter from Australia (of course). Following a period of mainstream attention and success, Montaigne disappeared for a while before returning triumphantly with her 2016 Glorious Heights.
Blending influences like Skunk Anansie, Anouk, brit-pop/rock and more, Montaigne creates evocative and powerful pop with plenty of electronic influences. Her music is perhaps best enjoyed in a live setting, as the video above shows. The album itself explores her register and composition abilities, moving from introspective songs to the more upbeat and colorful tracks which open the album with fanfare. Among the tools utilized are electronics that hum with energy but also more subdued synths, guitar touches, and, of course, Cerro’s own voice which holds a rich and deep timbre she utilizes.
All in all, it does a good job balancing the sometimes frivolous nature of pop music with more somber ideas. Especially near the end of the album, where tracks like “Lonely” and “I Am Behind You” (which also features a raw and deeply touching secret track at the end) present more mature outlooks on life, one is afforded a unique and powerful look into the writer’s left. This convincing balance should serve to pierce even the most pop illiterate of listeners (like me). Perhaps her deeper tones and heartfelt delivery appeal to the metal listener more, even when she is lightheaded and celebratory. Or perhaps it’s her aesthetics, rooted in fantasy and individualism, which “reach across the aisle” and grasp me by the heart. Regardless, give her chance and perhaps experience familiar emotions from new perspectives.