Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Sometimes in these stressful and tense times, we all need some glistening pop song moments to ease us along. John Cao’s slice of retro popwave “do you ever think of me” is a great musical antidote to these gloomy times.
This is a song with shimmering synth lines, a classic drum rhythm and deep bass throb. The vocal melody is energetic and poppy, full of sparkle. This is some really fun popwave that has great vibes of frustrated love and wishful thinking and is unapologetic about delivering them with style.
The production values on this single are solid. I was especially happy to hear how clear and sharp John’s vocals were on the track. The lyrics matter here and so having them easily intelligible adds to the song.
John clearly had some fun with the lyrics on this song. They’ve really got the whole retro vibe nailed and the images they generate are definitely neon-drenched. You can’t beat lines like, “Hair slicked back, racing down the coast fast/all dressed up no place to go/northern California needs some heat/next to me’s an empty seat. They just conjure up an all white sports car from the ‘80s being piloted down a twisty road.
Unrequited love has been the fodder for pop songs since we’ve had pop songs and John Cao does a good job with giving the lyrics just the right feel in his delivery. There’s a mixture of thwarted hope and yearning that comes across well when he sings, “As the world keeps spinning around/Do you ever think of me?/When your ears catch the waves of my sound/ Do you wonder how things could be?”
As a little nod to us synthaholics, I am also pretty entertained by the line, “Wipe the tears off my Moog/As my heart turns into stone/Heard he treats you really great.”
Any proper pop song needs a good chorus and John Cao is right on point there. I especially like the parenthetical phrases at the end of each line that calls back to the end of each verse. For example, “Guess I’ll show you that we’re cool (we're cool)/Guess I’ll tell myself I'm fine (I'm fine).”
Basically, if you are looking for a little escape from the grinding weight of the world, cue up “do you ever think of me” and kick back. John Cao has done a bang-up job with this single and it has me eagerly awaiting his full album release.