Some people hear the word “pop” and have visions of Katy Perry dancing with Left Shark at the Super Bowl or Justin Timberlake trying to bring sexy back. Pop isn’t always sunshiny melodies and catchy choruses, however, as many artists have turned the genre on its head to offer a different perspective. Head below for edgy pop artists who will totally feed your inner angst.
1. Tessa Violet
Tessa Violet is “just trying to play it cool,” and we can totally relate as she dances through the aisles of a grocery store in her “Crush” video. The singer first established herself as a YouTuber creating a variety of content including a fan-made music video for Relient K, so we know she gets our emo feels. Violet’s forthcoming full-length is on the horizon, and she’ll be hitting the road with fellow singer-songwriter/YouTuber dodie this fall.
Dev09 has “1K boo” permanently inked into her skin. The tattoo was inspired by an exchange with A$AP Mob founder A$AP Yams on Twitter when she asked how many tweets it would take for him to take her to prom. While Yams unfortunately died shortly after the exchange, the experience led to her connecting with A$AP Ferg’s producer Stelios Phili who worked with her on her first single “You Made Me.” Dev is back with the follow-up “Bored,” which discusses a girl using a guy for drugs and affection. The singer discusses her journey with mental health following a bipolar diagnosis and rehab stay, all of which are touched on in her forthcoming EP.
3. Yoke Lore
Yoke Lore, the solo moniker of Adrian Galvin, is quintessential indie pop. Formerly a member of Walk The Moon and Yellerkin, Galvin blends the catchiness of a pop track with intriguing synth riffs. His latest single “Ride” appears on his Absolutes EP that was released July 27, and he’ll hit the road for a headlining tour in the fall.
4. Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish delivers an ethereal sound backed by her moody vocals, and we know she’s as dark as us based on the fact she announced her most recent tour with the help of some eight-legged friends. Her middle name is also Pirate (yes, seriously), so along with her catchy, no-holds-barred music, she’s pretty much goals. Eilish has released several singles this year including “Lovely” with Khalid for the 13 Reasons Why: Season 2 soundtrack. The singer’s debut album is yet to be announced, but her Don’t Smile At Me EP was released last summer.
5. Kailee Morgue
With a stage name that sounds like it was lifted from our Myspace profiles circa 2005, Kailee Morgue (aka Kailee Moore) and her haunting pop are bound to be your next addiction. Moore lists Gwen Stefani and Hayley Williams as inspirations and has one EP, Medusa, under her belt, which was released earlier this year via Republic. Morgue hits the road with Poppy beginning this October.
WOLVES are catchy as hell. Taking influence from everyone from Michael Jackson to Coldplay, this trio meld pop, R&B and rock to deliver their own unique sound. The L.A.-based act are relatively new to the scene having just released their debut single “Animal” last year.
7. Bea Miller
A former The X Factor contestant, Bea Miller has opened for pop powerhouses Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony and Selena Gomez, but her sultry tone sets her apart from those she shares the stage with. She’s influenced by all kinds of genres as she tells Teen Vogue, “I’m inspired by new things every single day so trying to fit myself into one box where I have to stay the same all the time? I didn’t want to do that.” Miller’s sophomore LP aurora was released earlier this year.
8. King Princess
King Princess (aka Mikaela Straus) has been backed by Harry Styles and Charli XCX and with good reason. The indie-pop artist writes, produces, plays instrumentals and sings her own tunes that detail life from a genderqueer perspective. King Princess’ debut EP, Make My Bed, is out now via the Mark Ronson-helmed Zelig Recordings.
9. Olivia O’Brien
“Life just sucks and then we all die” is just one of many relatable statements Olivia O’Brien makes in her music. The singer first rose to recognition on the gnash collab track “i hate u, i love u” and has also worked with blackbear (“Root Beer Float”) and G-Eazy (“RIP”). Her most recent release, 2017’s It’s Not That Deep EP, is available now.
10. Bishop Briggs
Bishop Briggs certainly has her own brand of alt-pop, but the singer is just as emo as us. From writing her favorite lyrics on her pink Chucks to being a fan of Panic! At The Disco and Twenty One Pilots, she totally gets us. Briggs released her debut full-length Church Of Scars this past spring.
11. Jessie Reyez
Starting your video with smashing a guitar? Jessie Reyez totally understands our angst. The singer stands out with a soulful voice that’s so full of emotion you can’t help but root for her even when she’s singing about a straightjacket. Her debut full-length is due out later this year, but her Kiddo EP can certainly hold you over until then.
BROCKHAMPTON are your next favorite boy band. Despite the fact the group lean more toward the hip-hop side of the wide array of genres, member Kevin Abstract assures us that it’s not what they want to be known for. “Just cause we’re not white and some of us rap and like dick and dye our hair and make good music doesn’t mean we’re not a boyband,” he tweeted. The group released three LPs last year—Saturation, Saturation II and Saturation III—and have a fourth, The Best Years Of Our Lives, slated for this year.