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Joe Goddard

Pop for the People

Jul 06, 2017 Hot Chip
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As a founding member of both Hot Chip and The 2 Bears, Joe Goddard has pitched buoyant electronica that made our hearts roar and our feet rap. On his second solo record, the jubilant Electric Lines, not much has changedGoddard proves himself yet again a sage of electro-pop.

“I really believe in pop music to a certain extent and I really like those kind of big sentiments, and [when you] get people singing these quite simple ideas and messages,” the charismatic and warm Goddard muses amidst wintry storms in London.

“You can get really transcendent moments where people are coming together in a good way,” Goddard continues. “I hope there are moments like that in the album.”

And pop’s big sentiments are the pillars of the emotion-rich Electric Lines. From the festive, disco-drenched groove of “Home,” jolted by a clean sample of ‘70s Detroit funk outfit Brainstorm’s track “We’re On Our Way Home,” to the fiery electro-soul of “Lose Your Love,” fitted with harmonized vocal swoops, Goddard rivets us with a pop-forward manifesto. And if there was any question on his impetus, Electric Lines closes with the anthemic “Music Is the Answer.”

“I don’t want to overplay this, because obviously not every problem can be solved by music, that’s a pretty crazy simplistic thing to say. People have real economic issues that can’t be solved by music, you know?” says Goddard, before pausing. “The way that I see it, and the way that I see it being important, is I grew up and I lived all my life in London, which is a highly multicultural place, and generally is a very successful multicultural city, where people from all around the world have communities…and people generally get along very well in those places. And I think coming together musically is an enormous part of that.”

“I know it was for me growing up,” he continues. “Sometimes people are just afraid of people from other communities and other walks of life because they haven’t really relaxed and spent time together and partied together, ate together, got sweaty together at a gig.”

Music may not be the answer, but it can be the way to it. And Goddard’s heartfelt approach serves as a vessel to get us there.

“Often dance music lyrics are abstract or obtuse or dark or guardedyou tend to not get people expressing these simple, openhearted emotions as much.” Goddard’s sincerity, coupled with a dedication to both experimentation and restraint, affirms him as a vital voice for the craft of pop.

“I really tried to resist the urge to perfect everything,” Goddard says, referring to both the album and the glowing title track, a song co-written with Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. “I think the reason, in my experience anyways, a lot of people are listening to older music at the moment is because tracks from the ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s have that kind of frailty and humanity and a certain kind of wrongness, and had mistakes occasionally and had timing errors, and had vocals that were slightly out of tune. I think all of those things add to music. I think that’s what [‘Electric Lines’] is referring toyou don’t need to replace things with the latest technology, the original idea is often strongest, in it’s truest, rawest form.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s Spring 2017 Issue (April/May/June 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]

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