With the sun setting on a certain strain of commercial, latter-day pop-punk, many of that scene's latecomers and also-rans are understandably growing up, growing out their swoopy bangs, and jumping ship. Exhibit A out of Florida in current pop culture would be Juliet Simms, formerly the singer of Automatic Loveletter, a Tampa-birthed band that scored fame across the social network world but never quite fully stood out from the rest of the pack.
Simms put her band on hiatus, retooled, and reappeared on this season's debut episode of The Voice as a pseudo-Janis Joplin-type singer with a little more life experience and a deliciously gritty voice to match. (Cee-Lo Green loved it, and snapped her up for his team.)
For Exhibit B, see former local girl Cassadee Pope, a West Palm Beach native who, until this last December, fronted the band Hey Monday. Almost everyone familiar with the band would agree that the group, a quartet, never really seemed like an organic band. Pope's past as a pop artist in development is documented -- most recently in this Florida lawsuit filed last year -- and her backing band seemed relatively anonymous and even interchangeable.
So it surprised absolutely no one that last December, Pope announced Hey Monday was going on hiatus, and that she'd be launching a solo project. Now, just shortly after that, we have the first fruits of this endeavor. It seems Pope's sporting a new, more pop-rock, genre-undefinable look, and a more grown-up hairdo befitting an adult in her 20s. This is all good and expected.
More interesting is her first official solo release -- a cover, and one of "Torn," the song made famous by Natalie Imbruglia. (Random fact, it was written and released first by the virtually unknown American alt-rock band Ednaswap).
Pope's version is drawn out, a little more stripped-down, a little more mournful, and a little more needlessly melodramatic. Still, her voice carries the song surprisingly well, showing a potential talent that could work beyond the rigid major-key melodies and rise-and-fall dynamics of millennial commercial power-pop-rock.
So how will it work without studio trickery? And what original material does Pope have up her sleeve? Area fans can check it all out this Thursday, when she performs at Culture Room as an almost-hometown show -- despite the fact that Pope now calls L.A. home.
Besides new material, Pope has also promised to play all old Hey Monday fan favorites, but in the meantime, you can listen to her version of "Torn" by streaming it via Idolator below.
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Stream: Cassadee Pope - "Torn" (cover)
Cassadee Pope. With Stephen Jerzak, Justin Young, and Darling Parade. 7 p.m. Friday, February 24 at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15. Click here.