If you closely follow the UK official pop charts, you will have no doubt noticed both the current biggest K-pop sensations on the planet, BTS and Blackpink (first featured on EQ in 2016) are making their presence felt with UK music consumers. But why is this happening right now? Well, it is namely because western grown pop artists are bringing these acts to us! Girl group Blackpink features on the track “Kiss and Make Up” from the complete edition of Dua Lipa’s self-titled album. The current album from boy band BTS riding high in the UK album charts, “Map of the Soul: Persona” is littered with western pop contributions. Aside from Halsey’s feature, the long player has had a hand in from four British songwriters/producers, including Marcus McCoan (recently featured on EQ.) The point I am making is, a number of K-POP acts turn to western pop artists to broaden their listening audience. Finally, this leads me to where I get to talk about the emerging LA pop YVR. Starting out, the married couple turned to songwriting as a way to pay the bills but soon found themselves in the far east shaping the global K-POP sound for supergroups like Exo and Girls Generation.
Courtney Jenae and Stephen Stahl of YVR have had over four million records sold and a combined ten number one singles (two of which have reached #1 on the Billboard World Album Charts.) While they were enjoying these songwriting successes, the couple realised they were ready to begin their own artist journey. Ever since their 2017 debut “Unique,” YVR have inched ahead with a handful of thoughtful, radio-ready pop releases. I have been introduced to the duo as they go in for the big drop with their “Night Days” debut EP.
The release is headed up by brand new focus track “Heartless.” This track, in particular, has such a catchy vibe and nods back to the 80s by way of the songs synth styling. From the honeyed vocals to the pulsing electronics, the track is nothing more than an unadulterated, feel-good guilty pleasure. And the song-crafting is so brilliantly clever, especially with the double-edged use of the word “heartless.” Furthermore, from start to finish the “Night Days” EP is good honest music which comes from the heart. I am absolutely gripped by it all. YVR is undoubtedly a duo with real clout. Reinforcing this, the debut EP serves a great introduction to catapult them further into your consciousness.