Panama native and now Texas-based alt-pop icon in the making, Billy Vena's superlative take on modern pop is truly kaleidoscopic, perhaps compounded by the goggles donned in the above photo. With a lot of music releasing at the moment alluding to the impact of the events of the past year, Vena looks to his inspirations yet again, compellingly opting to add his astronautical spin on Taylor Swift's "this is me trying."
Since his debut, he's dropped one ear-grabbing release after another, pulling from musical inspirations across the world of pop and beyond, yet part of the reason why his talents supersede the music alone is his flair for the cinematic, and for lack of a better phrase, outer space aesthetics.
"I’ve admired Taylor Swift for a decade now and although I adore music that makes me wanna dance, her album ‘Folklore’ really was what gave me peace in 2020," Vena confesses in an email statement. "The pleasant tones, immersive songwriting and the softness of her vocals was calming in ways maybe I didn’t know I needed. This is me trying was an easy standout for me, and one I couldn’t stop singing, and probably never will."
Whilst not lifted from Swift's 1989, Vena turns the clock back to 1985 with a neon-tinted, synth-driven reimagining of that sense of solace, in a manner that wouldn't sound out of place in one of John Hughes' iconic prom scenes from the cinematic classics close to many of our hearts.
Opening with a pulsing synth staccato that also recalls College & Electric Youth's "A Real Hero," which further engages that cinematic aptitude, the rapidly applied beat adds a sense of melancholic, yet danceable energy in a manner that further reminisces Swift's more upbeat back catalogue.
Shimmering splashes of synth chords counterbalance the darker tones as you're left hanging off each silkily applied syllable and with each passing cadence, more throwback sounds pull you further into the beguiling mix, setting you adrift in both space and time. As the dynamics set a relatable, yet heartstring-pulling to and fro, your attention is wholly owned, taking you through myriad emotions before reaching a dazzling falsetto-laden plateau that ties up the sensational cover in mesmeric fashion.
"this is me trying" is available now via Let Me Hear It.