Remi Wolf joins pop music’s rebrand with ‘Woo!’

(Photo courtesy of Remi Wolf)

Remi Wolf’s new single is a successful addition to a movement seeking to reinvent pop music; “Woo!” makes a bold musical statement without sacrificing any of the artist’s authenticity.

The song kicks off with an understated keyboard sequence and a steady percussion base, complementing one another perfectly on the track. 

The engineering feels simple, but as the melody builds, it becomes clear that there is a vision behind “Woo!” –– one more chaotic and vibrant than originally anticipated, one that screams “Neo-Pop.”

The 24-year-old Bay Area native’s new single premiered Wednesday morning on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show and is her first of 2020. The release of the track follows her 2019 debut EP,  “You’re A Dog!” and sold-out tours with Cautious Clay and Still Woozy. 

Wolf, a Thornton School of Music alumna, had a brief stint on American Idol in 2014 before gaining recognition in the Los Angeles music scene, where she has garnered praise from notable publications including NPR, Billboard, Lyrical Lemonade and Paper Magazine

Her musical style evokes the grooviness of the Jackson 5 and the whimsicality of the Tom Tom Club, but even then, Remi’s brand of modern pop remains unique and innovative. 

The words that come to mind upon a first listen of “Woo!,” a playful, flighty track about love, were “chill,” “techno-inspired,” “funky” and “bright.” It seems that Wolf is painting a picture of what it is like to be young and in love —  in love with both a significant other and with all the life there is left to live. Her disjointed yet emotionally charged lyrics are emblematic of the passion and chaos that characterize being in your twenties: “And I don’t know what I really wanted / And fuck, I think I lost my wallet.”

That is not to say that the single is void of overarching themes or a cohesive narrative. “Woo!” tells a story about the fickleness and brazen fun of young love in all its forms: “Love: It’s not the answer, it’s the mindset / The question is not about who, it’s how you find it.” Lines like these are bound to resonate with young adults trying to figure out how to navigate the world and relationships, trying to understand what to feel and when to feel it. Without ever explicitly saying it, “Woo!” is about growing up and learning about yourself and others as you go.

A balance between premeditated, profound lyricism and the curation of a specific vibe is delicately struck. What really brings the track home are the sudden yet somehow smooth transitions between the relaxed, percussion-backed verses and the Lana Del Rey-esque chorus that gives Wolf a chance to show off her range.

The music video of “Woo!” takes place in a kaleidoscopic, psychedelic candyland and features a handful of Remi Wolf clones. The colors and visuals feel oddly reminiscent of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” music video but messier and more relatable, as if the director said, “think early 2000s pop, but more girl-next-door-who-drops-acid-on-the-weekends.” In fact, it seems that Wolf’s specific brand delves into influences and inspirations from all things pop culture but as viewed through the lens of a generation brought up on internet subcultures.

“Woo!” lends itself to a number of interpretations, but above all, it is Remi Wolf’s claim to changing the pop game. The pop landscape is redefining itself as we speak, and the emerging pop artists of 2020 have a stake in that rebrand. Lady Gaga did it in her day and artists such as Dua Lipa are having a go at it now. With “Woo!,” Remi Wolf is marking her territory as a pop music innovator, and she has set the bar high for future tracks.