One of the most pleasant surprises to come out of 2018 was the British Alt-Pop outfit Pale Waves.
Signed to Dirty Hit records, their 80s inspired, synth-based music drew endless comparisons to The 1975, and their lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie’s friendship with the enigmatic Matty Healy didn’t help matters any — but truly, the comparisons do a disservice to a young band with undeniable raw talent and nigh-untouchable pop sensibility.
Their latest single “Change” is certainly a departure from what we’re used to hearing from them. Instead of the 80s synth, this song sounds more influenced by early 2000s TRL-tinged Pop-Punk.
In fact, “Change” could easily be mistaken for an Avril Lavigne or early Ashlee Simpson song with its acoustic guitars and muffled drum beats. Even lyrically, “Change” is a heartbroken, yearning song that harkens back to a time when we all hung out at the mall and cell phones still flipped.
The music video also shares the early 2000s nostalgia, with its oversaturated colors, soft lighting, and Baron-Gracie’s pale blue eyeshadow and lacy white dress — a look that wouldn’t be out of place on a 2000s fashion runway.
It’s definitely interesting to see a band earnestly take from a musical era that most would describe as “cringey” — after all, this is the time that gave us Nu Metal, Post-Grunge, and much later, Crunkcore, but with most (if not all) of the band sitting comfortably under 30, it’s no surprise that they have nostalgia for that era, and would want to recapture that time.
What is surprising, however, is how well they seem to pull it off. For most bands, calling back to a time that’s barely old enough to be considered “nostalgic” would be risky, but Pale Waves is not most bands — and they wear this aesthetic as if it was made for them. And in truth, it probably was.
“Change” is an excellent evolution of the Pale Waves sound and should serve them well in carving out their own, unique name as a band. If this is what the new Pale Waves sounds like, then definitely, count us in — we’re ready for this change.
Featured Image: Dirty Hit Records