If you like pop music, you’re probably already aware that there hasn’t been a generation of up-and-coming players like the emerging one in quite a long time if ever in history before now. Artists like the unmatched upstart indie player Lucas Jay are changing the game for pop music and removing creative control of the genre away from the greater hierarchy that has inarguably left its greatest scenes looking and sounding a little broken in 2023.
Jay’s new single “Sunshine” is an ode to the very warmth of its title; whether kicking back on the beach and watching the sky or sharing the dancefloor with some likeminded music lovers this season, it has the summery feel that up-tempo pop tracks always should. There’s no filler to be found in its instrumentation nor the lyricism that makes up its narrative, but rather a genuine realism on the part of our leading man that goes a long way to proving just how committed he is to real pop music at this point in his career. I respect his moxie, and once you’ve heard Jay’s latest single, I think you’re going to as well.
As much as the lead vocal is the compositional linchpin in the mix, the guitar parts that pepper the piano melody with an extra dose of heat have a star power that helps to illuminate the lyrical substance even more than it already would have been. Everything about this arrangement is meticulously crafted, but I don’t get the impression that Jay was overthinking or overstating any particular themes when he was trying to structure the hook.
He isn’t leaving any of the subtle details out of the spotlight here; on the contrary, I think there isn’t a single component within this track that isn’t doing something to advance the mood of the verses forward and unto the audience. A clubby remix version would go a long way towards dismissing the very idea of Lucas Jay lacking the complete depth of creative skillset to carry more complicated songcraft in the future, and overall, a single like this one probably deserves a couple of rearrangements simply to highlight its composer’s dexterity as a player. I wouldn’t mind, and I think I speak for others when I say as much.
I was a little familiar with what Lucas Jay does in the recording studio beforehand, but I will say that listening to “Sunshine” this August has made me more interested in keeping up with his career as it continues to come together. He’s still evolving and proving himself to the established order in the pop community, but for fans like me and you, I think he’s already found the aesthetical niche that will raise his profile from the darkness of the underground scene to the bright lights of the primetime stage in the next couple of years. He still has some ground left to cover and some elements of his style that I would personally like to hear him experiment with, but this track is a fair measurement of all the progress he’s made thus far.