Toronto native Martin Bernie has been making a splash in the dance music scene as Pusher. He mixes influences of trap, pop, 90’s R&B, and jazz with a “neon” take on music that brings indelicate drum beats and evocative vocals together by way of sunny synths and boisterous basslines to build albums around new worlds. For a musician/producer/DJ with tastes all over the map, Pusher is gifted with the ability to condense his inspirations into deceptively minimalist packages without skipping a beat, layered with dynamism that unpack themselves further with every listen.
After launching Pusher in early 2014, he saw a rapid rise in popularity with a string of originals and collaborations with the likes of KRANE and Rusko and bootlegs/remixes of Ryn Weaver, Jack Ü, and more. After receiving tremendous support and high praises on his EPs, New Laces (2016) and Paperman (2018), he is returning with his debut full-length album Stay-at-Home Popstar later this year. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, optimistic, nihilistic, dissatisfied, apocalyptic, electronic album that listeners can enjoy while civilization continues its collapse.
“I Could Give It Up” is the lead single off of this upcoming album. On the track, Pusher says,
This is a song about being addicted to my phone. It’s also about how we’re all addicted to our phones. Just like caffeine or social media, we allow it because it’s “normal”. It’s scary the way tech companies manipulate our subconscious tendencies to sell their products and ads, but in this song I’ve employed a lot of songwriting and production tricks that aim to do the exact same thing. Tricks like saying the name of the song multiple times in the chorus, using the tried-and-true formulaic pop song structure, or employing the ultra-popular “millennial whoop” melody – indeed it’s the first thing you hear. So maybe it’s actually a song about how capitalism drives us all to manipulate each other for profit instead of focusing on creating things that add value to society? Maybe consciously and ironically using these tricks and telling you about it makes us all more aware of the world we live in?
The song uses a sparkly synthwave production to create a fun and vibrant soundscape that is catchy and inviting. Driving drums set the pace for the bright and cheery vocals which cleverly reflect the obsession we have with our phones. I mean, we all at least know one person who has trouble putting down their phone, or maybe it’s ourselves. I know I consciously choose not to review my screen time activity and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The chorus demonstrates the tricks Pusher has incorporated into the song. Honestly, this incredibly bubbly tune is an ingenious showing of Pusher’s commentary. From employing these tricks to the adept lyricism, he has definitely creates a song that is memorable and relatable.
To complete the song, he enlisted the animation help of Grovertoons. The music video, below, has a lot of clever little additions and popular references as well.
Anyways, nothing beats being reminded by a song to get off of my phone more often. So I appreciate the fun reminder!