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Dear Anonymous Fan of Pale Waves, Please Explain

We interviewed someone who wouldn't stop talking about the indie four-piece, to try and understand how they got so huge so fast.
Ryan Bassil
London, GB
Photo by author

The world can be a confusing place. For example: the existence of wind (why?), the places pigeons go to die (where?). When it comes to music, the questions keep rolling. Take Pale Waves. The four-piece British band were nominated for the BBC Sound of 2018 poll off the back of four songs, leading to whisperings of them being a carefully watered industry plant.

For the uninitiated, the music that Pale Waves make is vaguely palatable – a white-bread type of soft rock delivered from the lower supermarket shelves you really have to squat down to reach and seemingly tailored for a Made In Chelsea scene where a man huffs into his golden cocktail after a woman storms angrily out of a low-lit bar. They also sound almost exactly like The 1975. And perhaps – perhaps! – that is why they are so popular. Easily available ready meals are of course one of the most popular dishes on our little British island, consumed daily by Fiat 500 Twitter, to the tune of thousands of forks stabbed into plastic film covers just before 7.30PM.


But still: we wanted answers and so, like true investigative journalists, we found someone who likes Pale Waves. And not just someone who likes Pale Waves, someone who loves them (but was also too ashamed to put their face to their adoration, which maybe says something). Here we go:

Noisey: Alright mate. So… Pale Waves then, eh. What do you like about them?
Pale Waves fan: They know how to write a ten out of ten pop chorus; one that will not go out of your mind. When I heard “There’s a Honey” I loved it, then I listened to “Television Romance” – it’s almost the same song but I listened to it ten times a day which I haven’t done with a band in ages.

It was love at first sight – or first listen – then.
I don’t know what it is: the lyrics are fucking basic, the melodies are exceedingly predictable but they hit some golden note.

Is it because they sound familiar?
Yeah. And as a recovering emo and pop-punk head, it’s nice that they’re using similar melodies. Ultimately they’re doing emo but with the jangly guitar of The 1975. If you put some palm muted chords on top of their songs then they would be a pop punk band.

That’s a good analysis.
Yeah – I’ve thought about them quite a lot.

How often, on average, do you think about them?
I’ve listened to them without exception everyday for the past couple months.

Yeah… and one thing I’ve found exciting about them is they’ve been so weird about releasing songs. They’ve had articles and front covers but they only have four songs, so each time they release a new one it’s an event. It’s like a Supreme drop or something!


I literally tuned in to listen to Zane Lowe play their new song!

Are you an emotional person?

But their music also sounds like Made in Chelsea rock too, right?
Yeah. You know what, I’m surprised at how much attention they’re getting. I didn’t think anyone would like them but they were on the BBC Sound of 2018. I don’t actually know why people like them. I accept I like shit music but people really like them and say they’re the Sound of This Year but there’s nothing innovative about their sound.

So what you’re saying is that part of loving Pale Waves is embracing your shit taste in music?
Yeah. It’s palatable, danceable, radio-friendly emo.

Any last words?
You shouldn’t be embarrassed to listen to Pale Waves, they’re a great band. I’ve whipped them out on a sesh and people have danced to it. There’s something that speaks to everyone.

Right on.

You can find Ryan on Twitter.