I used to denounce anything pop. For a long time, I skirted noisily around the term, diving deep into the antithesis of the genre – covering my ears with indie rock, psychedelia, stoner metal, and a particular flavor of neo-soul that my friends would chuckle to themselves that “of course you listen to this kind of music”.
It wasn’t until my Spotify recapped my Most Listened Genres of 2020 that I realized that my 2nd most listened to genre was indeed, dream-pop. Was I horrified? Had I become someone that now aptly listened to a genre destroyed by the mainstream media? In my mind, pop had become the very definition of talentless. But that all changed when I first started listening to the psychedelic dream-pop band, LA-based The Marias. And through The Marias, I was introduced to Canadian multi-instrumentalist and producer Hannah Bussiere, whose stage-name is Luna Li. This is where the rest of this story begins.
Luna Li is a force of nature. Playing a huge variety of instruments – including harp and violin – she also absolutely shreds on guitar. Her confident, grounded bass lines and multi-tonal melodies provide such a foundation that her harp chords, accompanying violin harmonies and ethereal vocals are allowed to soar high into the sky. Add an uplifting drum beat and you’ve got the best music to walk around to. And the fact that Li loops and mixes all of her instruments herself is such an inspiration to any musician and reminds me that pop still needs rarity to survive. And while the likes of Billie Eilish and the emergence of hyper-pop have pushed the boundaries of what “mainstream” audiences will listen and respond to, it is artists like Luna Li that remind us that pop can be as multi-faceted and intriguing as any genre.
Luna Li’s latest single “Cherry Pit” is soon to be the very sound of summer: the accompanying music video shows the artist energetically running while clad in bright, cheerful clothing, exploring new places and with a child-like wonder. Luna Li is reminding us that in these exhausting and tumultuous times, that it is still okay to let go and feel joy. “Cherry Pit” is most likely set to be Li’s breakthrough track, however, songs like “Afterglow” and “Opal Angel” deserve attention and showcase this talented artists’ range of emotion and instrumental depth.