CoS - Filmed in the exact same location — Bayonne High School — the original and featuring the school’s actual cheer squad and football team, the 2021 update of “Popular” sees Pom Pom Squad mastermind Mia Berrin taking on all the roles as she plays a cheerleader, a football player, and a teacher. Reciting the song’s infamous popularity guide, the band pitch up the track’s chiming guitar line to fit Berrin’s voice, but it remains as spooky as ever. Listen closely, and you’ll hear Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws himself lending backing vocals.
Said Caws of the collaboration,
“I think the video is amazing! I love how it feels like a shot-for-shot recreation at the start but quickly takes on its own totally new character. The original was shot in 1996, looking back at previous decades, while this one feels set in the present day, looking inwards and towards the future… Another really cool aspect of the video is that the cheerleader character feels more and more sincere and human as the story develops. By the end, she’s much more than a player in a high school creation, she’s a person in the world and the singer of the song.”
Few things here -
1- The 90s were fucking awesome.
- a) we had Alternative Rock Bands. Lots of them. Like these guys, "Nada Surf". They'd put out bangers then never be heard from again but that didn't matter because like whack-a-mole there were 20 other alt bands right behind them to do the same.
- b) we had music videos. And they were sick. And bands and labels used to dump MILLIONS into making them. Full on productions, with lots of original ideas, imagery and artistry, or just straight entertainment like hot chicks and explosions.
2- This song was so unique when it came out. I remember seeing it the first time and thinking the guy talking only did that for the music video and that it was cool as hell. Then when I heard the same version on the radio my head almost exploded.
3- A song like this never even gets made today sadly.
-a) because music labels would never sign these guys
-b) because even if they did they'd never allow them to produce or release a song with actual originality
-c) because this song and video would hurt too many people's feelings and we don't do that in 2021
4- what happened to Nada Surf?
5- can we please bring back calling cool things "mint"?
Here is Pom Pom Squad's version which honestly came out pretty pretty good.
And props to them for having the foresight to attempt this and pull it off.
No, the hook doesn't hit as hard as the Nada Surf version, but you never want to completely copy something anyway.
It turns out the idea came from actually touring with Nada Surf. Just last month, they wrapped up a tour with them.
Pom Pom Squad released their debut full-length, Death of a Cheerleader, in June, and they’ve been on the up-and-up since then.
Last month, the Brooklyn band shared the new song “Until It Stops,” produced by future tourmates illuminati hotties.