Identity holds more power than we like to admit, especially the word. When it is not welcomed though, the word takes on an aggression when it should be celebrated. Yet, in the midst of the social and political climate there’s WASI. The power-pop collective — originally comprised by Jessie Meehan and Merilou Salazar — who continue to use their platform selflessly and craft a new sound and space.
Whereas riot grrrl took feminism to the throes of punk, WASI takes their philosophy, concerns, and activism to the sweeter side of pop, noting Meehan’s charge besides the ACLU in the creation of a gender-inclusive policy with Walgreens, to Salazar’s curation of the Women Fuck Ship Up Fest LA. Welcome to Riot Pop.
On their newest single, WASI addresses their long term tagline of “riot pop” and puts it all on display, rhetorically asking in the title, “What is Riot Pop?” According to Salazar, “riot pop” is simply being true to yourself. “It’s being on the edge of an airplane cabin ready to jump, being scared as all hell but you jump anyway because in the end life is short and you need to live it to the fullest, then just when you think it’s all over, your parachute opens and you land safely-just like all the risks in life we’ve taken. You trust that parachute just like you trust in yourself and your gut decisions.”
In the same degree, the track proves that the fury of punk can easily be contained in the easy going nature of pop. Emerging quietly for the first minute, the trance echoes of a moment alone with your thoughts. Cue Salazar’s vocals and blunt lines of the voices sitting between her ears that delicately ride each chord. Dropping to an electronic fuzz and quite contained chorus, the repetitive nature and lyrical content doesn’t need to be loud; what seems to be the beauty of riot pop.
Scrolling through their discography for the past few years it was always clear that WASI represented so much more than pop-punk. With that said, it is without a doubt that this is their most honest and happiest version of themselves. If this is a taste of their forthcoming album, Riot Pop, which is due for release June 7th, I await its arrival with a welcoming heart.
Be sure to catch WASI on their Love Is Gay Tour alongside Polartropica and Lucy & La Mer.