Teen pop stars seem to just keep getting cooler. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching Britney Spears fall apart, but every time I heard of another pre-teen embarking on a career as a musician, it used to scare me. I didn’t want the industry to warp them into a waif-like version of themselves, or take the bones of good songs and fatten them into radio hits. But the rising crop of young artists seems to feel the same way as I do, and simply refused to conform to the stereotypes of the past. Take Lorde and her black lipstick, un-straightened hair, and ’80s pantsuits. Or consider SOAK, 18-year-old Bridie Monds-Watson, who rocks a short pixie cut, skateboards, and chirps along to poignant lyrics in her very Irish accent. When I watch her wander through the video for “Sea Creatures,” she seems so genuinely herself, and comfortable in her own skin.
It’s the kind of music video I wish I could’ve grown up watching, and it makes me more excited for her future than ever. Over an old-school soul bass line, the clip pulls in three different narratives and ties them together in a tragic ending, flipping the song’s naiveté in such a sophisticated way that suddenly, her youth seems impossible. But when she sings “I don’t understand/ What her problem is/ I think she’s just a fish,” her adolescent silliness is so wonderful and apparent. There’s a great Jack Finney short story called The Night People where these four adults begin meeting up in the middle of the night and pulling all sorts of pranks together, essentially, playing. Their adventures create this intense bond between the four of them, and culminate in a situation that of course, filters back into their daylight lives. When she’s skateboarding through the deserted streets in the video, that’s the kind of otherworld SOAK has created for herself. Her debut album announcement accompanied the release of the video, and it’s called Before We Forgot How To Dream. If this is the kind of musician the next generation is going to grow up idolizing, maybe when they grow up they won’t have to forget. Watch it below.
Before We Forgot How To Dream will be out on June 1 via Rough Trade.