As the world gears up for the Grammys, it seems like pop fever has swept the nation (or maybe just LA, where I live). I’m finding myself turning to some snackable, light fare in the form of ’00s and ’90s Top 40 pop more than ever, delighting in the not-too-complicated hooks and easy-going melodies.

But also, I’m loving some of the new pop emerging onto the scene, largely made by independent artists. I’ve got such a soft spot for these warriors who put everything they have behind their craft — hence why, in other realms, I write essential resources for indie and DIY musicians.

Today, I’ve got three awesome finds for you readers. These videos were all made by artists invested in their crafts on every level and doing an astounding job. The accompanying videos to these stunningly catchy tracks each transport listeners to a new, exciting place. Join me in going there, won’t you?

“Meant to Be,” Alexa Friedman

While it’s easy to get swept away by the lush visuals of a gorgeous private beach, it’s important to listen to the words of Alexa Friedman‘s “Meant to Be.” While so many pop tracks focus on superficial grandiosity, she sings about a sense of self that’s betrays her young years. It’s a crucial message for her peers who are growing up in arguably the toughest time in history — political drama, the threat of domestic and international terrorism, and, oh yeah, social media. Her sweet vocals complement the lite-EDM backbeat, also, which makes this track a treat for the ears, too.

“Right on Time,” The APX

From the beach we travel back in time to the ’80s. Holy hell, the first time I heard this song, I swear I de-aged. It’s got the great funk groove of a throwback classic, but with a modern feel that makes it feel hip and somewhat secret, like only the coolest people would know and appreciate “Right on Time.” The APX (short for the After-Party Experience) is a husband-and-wife duo who were clearly born to make this insanely on-point sound that completely transcends time and space. If you think I’m over-exaggerating, have a listen and tell me you wouldn’t have bought this on cassette at one point in your life.

“Crazy,” Myles Marcus

Our next destination isn’t so much a time or a place but a feeling. One that we’ve probably all faced at one point in our lives (or most certainly will). Myles Marcus captures the desperation and frustration of being unable to stop your mind from thinking about someone, even when that person is destructive to themselves, and, ultimately, to you. “Crazy” is a soaring ballad that’s beautiful simple but also extremely earwormy. Marcus, who attended Berklee (so you know he’s a pro at crafting an emotional melody), has such gorgeous vocals that they might make you crazy. This track and video certainly will — in a good way.

About the Author

Allison Johnelle Boron

Allison lives in Los Angeles where she is a freelance music journalist, jug band enthusiast, and industry observer. She is also the editor of REBEAT magazine. Find her on Twitter.

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