"It's Okay to Cry," the just-released track from Scottish producer SOPHIE, is really weird. And it's weird because it's not what you expect: she's known for making bangers with Charli XCX, PC Music, and others, and these bangers pretty much always fulfil certain criteria. You get a verse, into a chorus, into a head-spinning drop that makes your entire body vibrate even if you're listening to it on your morning commute, and the drops keep coming until you're mush. That's what you expect. It is, largely, what we want when we listen to artists like this.
But the genius of "It's Okay to Cry" is that it stretches out the anticipation that is specifically inherent in the early stages of songs like the ones I describe – the feeling when you know something bigger is coming to move you. Its late 90's Euro-influenced synths are low, drawn out, and spiritual; the chorus itself is nothing more than a quiet, reassuring whisper, an affirmation of the emotion that electronic music sometimes puts aside for more physical aims. And, until the very last few seconds, it stays this way. It doesn't give into our expectations of ebb and flow; instead it continues to twinkle away, before reaching a short, erratic climax – mirrored by the thunderstorm in the video, which features the Scottish producer lip-syncing for her life – lead by ballad-esque pianos rather than the heavy, artificial sounds we'd usually get at this point in a track.
I'm not saying that "It's Okay to Cry" is better than music put out this year by, say, Danny L. Harle, also a PC Music affiliate. But what I do mean is that it's interesting sometimes for music to ask what you expect of it, and show you that there's beauty in the alternative to getting what you anticipate.
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