Hannah Diamond Pushes Past the Limitations of Pop in ‘Reflections’

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The internet is a vast place. With the rise of a hyper-accessible, hyper-modern online world, everyone's putting their creations out there. Now, anyone can find what they're into somewhere on YouTube, Spotify, or Soundcloud. Music isn't codified into just rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, and electronic. In 2019, even sub-genres have their own sub-genres. If you stay logged on for long enough, just before the point of fatigue, you might just come upon a genre so interesting it'll have you up another hour researching to make sure you didn't miss something. 

PC Music is one of those genres, and one of its fearless contributors is Hannah Diamond. She's just released her debut album Reflections, which she uses to tell the story of her own rising phoenix. In Reflections, we listen to a woman growing up and exploring a world out of her tumultuous relationships, all through a guise of hyper-futuristic elements that evoke notions of early '00s pop. 

Diamond's album is a sharp avant-garde take on pop sensibilities. That's the point of PC music. It goes harder, moves faster, and isn't afraid to be extra. Diamond's album is unique for a number of reasons, particularly because of how many buttons it pushes, and how many buttons it can push. And while it may feel foreign upon first listen, we've actually been enjoying PC Music 'Lite' when listening to the likes of Kero Kero Bonito, Grimes, Slayyter, and Charli XCX. The last of which is a noted collaborator with the music label and collective.

Diamond told A.G Cook, the mastermind behind the PC Music, her music's ultimate aim is to create something entirely audiovisual. That feels about right. This music craves a visual component. Another reason PC music lives on the internet is because of the supersaturated, ultra-vivid, and overlaid images that accompany the music. There's a quality of "Tune in, turn on" to every facet. The music's electrifying. Diamond's video for her single, "Invisible" does its job of entrancing audiences and enveloping them into her post-ironic PC world. Even cooler, Diamond created all of the billboards and advertisements that appear in the Daniel Swan - directed visual. The song itself tells the story of a popstar battling communal fame and individual invisibility. Diamond spoke further on the video, sharing, 

"I am perpetually surrounded by screens and on display for everyone to see, but paradoxically feel completely invisible to the one person who I wish would notice me. The 'Invisible' world represents a hyper-real reflection of real life, mirroring aspects of my day to day; the sleepy tube journey across London Bridge, a walk through an alternate reality where London is filled with HD billboard images and advertising photographed by me. It explores the processes of constructing my own 'image', as I work to completely digitize my self to be remembered virtually forever."

Diamond's music comes without laws. It makes the record an interesting listen, as it's impossible to know what rule Diamond will break next. Listen to "Make Believe" and the amount of distortion is a new new wave. This is not your mother's distortion. In "Concrete Angel," Diamond tests her own vocals ranges, and where one would think they'd stop, she forcefully drives past. The more extreme Diamond can make it, the more expressive it becomes. And yet, Diamond stays true to pop conventions of heartbreak and fractured relationships but manages to leverage the vocal distortion and hyper-futuristic production to present a picture all the more aching and salient. 

Listening to Reflections at times feels like the equivalent of finding yourself thrust into an ultramodern museum. Is PC music high art fronting as low art under the guise of conceptuality? No, not everyone will understand it. That's perfectly okay. But for the ones who Diamond's PC music clicks with, a party and community of Converse clad - theorists and underground mavericks await you with open online arms. 

Listen to Reflections below:

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