In the ever growing genre of alternative pop, it is possible to create sounds that are replicative of others, even without realising due to the density of music. However, in her single ‘Ocean’, Genevieve Miles manages to balance homages to the past sounds of alt-pop with her own unique style and twist on it.
‘Ocean’ uses a mix of psychedelic pop components along with elements of dance music to create a beautiful, memorable sound reminiscent of Talking Heads and Parcels. The Birmingham based musician starts off the song with her guitar and vocals, playing a soft picking pattern, bringing in a more acoustic feeling to the song before the entry of some electronic drums that reveal the tracks dance influences. The chorus enters, playing softly below the guitar. The drums play in the verse, however they are a lot more simple, only playing a kick for every beat. There is also a riff that plays after a couple of bars each time, which continues through to the verse. For the second verse a piano comes in, playing chords on each bar, as well as a more melodic section played on piano. After the verse there are more synth elements added, which liken it even more to electronic dance music, which makes the song itself interesting as it is still a slow and relaxing song to listen to even when all of these elements are added to it, including the drums picking up and another guitar section being introduced.
One of the most beautiful parts of the song are the vocals. Miles sings every line with silky elegance, introducing a more breathy tone for the higher notes that works perfectly. There are many instances of harmonies, especially in the last section where two different vocal melodies are sung on top of each other, which work so beautifully and lead into a fascinating build up.
When asked about the song and what the ocean means to her Miles said: “When you’re angry or grieving or feeling abandoned, you can’t imagine how you could ever be loved in that state. But the ocean has transcended above this over the millennia she has existed. She has learned that she can express herself, whether anyone is willing to stay and watch or not, and I find that so inspiring. Believing that we are worthy even when there’s no one there, believing we are loveable in what feels like our ugliest emotions. I thought, because I love like the sea, that I was too much for anyone to stick around for, but through writing this song I learned the opposite: because I am like the sea, I am free”. This is such a beautiful background behind a song, it perfectly matches the feeling of the track, it has a free flowing, relaxing feeling to the instrumental, which when paired with the soft timbre of the vocals creates an image of freedom and peace. The idea of feeling like you have transcended above the worry of if you could be loved when you are at your worst is such a wonderful and freeing thought that is truly replicated in the music.
Genevieve Miles will continue to be a staple for alt-pop music, especially in the Birmingham scene, with catchy, unique and meaningful songs, I am incredibly excited for what she is going to do next.