If you don’t know who Glaive is, you’ll find out soon enough. Whether you know it or not, 16-year-old Ash Gutierrez is riding the crest of the new hyperpop wave.
For those unfamiliar with it, hyperpop is a genre of pop niche launched in the 2010s by artists such as AG Cook, Charli XCX, Dorian Gray, the late Sophie and 100 Gecs. It is loosely classified by its non-traditional chaotic sound. If you take bubbly, upbeat mainstream pop songs and toss them into a mix of wildly high-pitched vocals and cutting-edge electronic production, you essentially get hyperpop. The best way to describe hyperpop is: it’s weird, but you won’t be able to stop repeating.
With just under a million monthly listeners (962,446 at time of writing) and over 30 million streams on Spotify alone, Glaive has exploded onto the scene during the Covid-19 pandemic; his first single “life is pain” was released in 2020. The lanky 6’4 teenager is from Hendersonville, a small town in western North Carolina just outside Asheville. This is definitely not the first place you’d expect to find the next big pop star. But that’s exactly what Glaive, named after a weapon of Dark Souls III, certainly will be.
However, he did not make himself known alone, but in collaboration with other young promising hyperpop artists such as Brakence, Midwxst, Ericdoa, Aldn and Renforshort. During the isolated and lonely forties, all of these artists turned to music as an indispensable creative outlet. Inspired by an eclectic mix of rap, pop, rock, emo and electronic genres, these teens are on the frontier of a genre tucked into the cultural heart of Generation Z.
“All Dogs Go To Heaven,” Glaive’s second EP, reveals he’s not going anywhere but up. Comprised of a refined eight-song tracklist, Glaive demonstrates that he has the potential to be something huge – a fact that he’s still clearly coming to terms with.
The EP centers around Gutierrez’s struggle to adjust to his newfound fame. He appears to be emotionally torn between two worlds, homework in Hendersonville and studio sessions in LA. Glaive longs to reach his full artistic potential, but the intense pressure that comes with being a young artist in the making weighs heavily on his mind. A common theme to each song is the upheaval its success has caused to its social life.
On “Detest Me,” Ash expresses his frustration at an anguished chorus before soberly pondering a verse, “My friends, yes they might change because I’m going up / Guess it’s hard to digest / Dissect people in my head.”
On the chaotic track “Bastard”, he laments, “Every person in my life has turned into an actor / Fairy tales have lied, there is no happiness forever / All the flowers die when I run into the pasture. ”
He goes further in his verse, describing how fame doesn’t necessarily bring happiness: “Let me tell a story about a boy I know / He was around 15, was around 6ft 4 / He made some ties and he opened doors / And now he
realized he was much better before / And I’m still alone and that’s a blessing and a curse / Because I could do better, but I could do worse.
Songs like the intro “1984”, the pop-punk banger “Poison” and the elegantly titled and surprisingly upbeat track “I want to slam my head against the wall” show Gutierrez’s natural talent for songwriting, in particular its ability to create choruses that get stuck. in the head.
The main track, “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” shows Glaive’s more sensitive side, swapping his typical anguished, energetic teenage anthems for a slower, emotionally raw guitar ballad that borders on beauty. Glaive pours her heart into the chorus singing “All dogs go to heaven / But people don’t because we’re selfish / All dogs go to heaven / I know we can’t help it.”
Amid the excitement, anxiety and social turmoil of his rise to fame, Ash Gutierrez looks set to take the music world by storm. His genre-defying musical style is a breath of fresh air in the supersaturated pop arena, capturing the attention of industry elites like Cole Bennett, Nick Mira and The Kid LAROI. At just 16 years old, Glaive is set to become the prince of hyperpop, ushering in a new musical dynasty in pop music.