Los Angeles-based queer pop singer-songwriter Bonded Jacky, aka Maddie Ballard, unveils her EP, Cool People Don’t Exist. The EP release show takes place at The Hotel Café on February 15, beginning at 7 p.m.
Bonded Jacky explains, “I was recently told that cool people don’t exist, and it stuck with me. We all have social masks that we put up, where we define ourselves by the way others see us. This record is a behind-the-scenes look at our maskless selves and our constant struggle to come across as cooler than we are, whatever cool means.”
The name, Bonded Jacky, comes from the nautical term meaning sweet cake or tobacco.
Believing that the mainstream media portrays a 2D rendering of the queer world, which is much more nuanced and gorgeously complex, Bonded Jacky promised to never again put herself in a box. Instead, she lives in the gray area, fueled by contradiction and freed by uncertainty.
Embracing four tracks, Cool People Don’t Exist starts off with “Cancerous Heart,” rolling out on dark flavors of alt-pop, followed by Bonded Jacky’s deliciously shaded voice, at once delicate and alluring. On the chorus, her vocals elevate, imbuing the lyrics with rich timbres.
“Stacy’s Mom,” a cover of Fountains of Wayne’s hit song, rides a tight, crisp rhythm topped by Bonded Jacky’s velvety voice, complemented by radiant vocal harmonies. Hints of dream-pop warmth give the tune a soft, shimmering sensation.
Opening on swirling, gleaming tones, “Airplane Mode” evokes scrumptious sighing alt-pop leitmotifs. Silky smooth, yet enticingly inflected, Bonded Jacky’s voice imbues the lyrics with sensitive flavors.
The last track, “Didgeridoo,” possibly the best track on the EP, conveys the nostalgia of innocence and memories through shifting harmonics, providing the impression of juxtaposing recollections. As the flow of the tune changes, the song takes on the sensation of oil and water yet remains interconnected.
Stylish and polychromatic, drenched in redolent pop savors, Cool People Don’t Exist is not only charming but irresistibly poignant.
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