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"People That I Love Leave" by Cassadee Pope

Courtesy of Austin McMains (@austintmcmains)

It is the summer of 2014 and I have just moved into the second house that my Mom has bought on her own for just the two of us to live in. It’s not the first, but at least it’s only ten minutes away from the first – the house that eleven-year-old Caitlin filed away under, “childhood home” – and fifteen minutes away from my Dad’s house. I’m on the couch scrolling through YouTube’s homepage, then click on a video whose thumbnail and title I feel are speaking to me. That video is, “Cassadee Pope's Blind Audition ‘Torn’ - The Voice.”

Three-and-a-half years have passed and my dark brown hair has gone through many dye-jobs, I listen to the bands that feature on the Punk Goes Pop series and I am on a different couch in that same house – which fifteen-year-old Caitlin has filed under, “coming-of-age home” – scrolling through the sidebar on All Time Low’s 2012 single, “Backseat Serenade.” I think the young woman in the thumbnail for Hey Monday’s 2009 single, “Homecoming,” has cool style, so I click. It would take me many months of listening to Hey Monday’s debut studio-single before I put the two Cassadee Popes together under the name and biography of, “Cassadee Pope.”

I promise what I am next going to write relates to my take on Cassadee Pope’s new single, “People That I Love Leave.” My axiom for selecting the publications that I contribute to is rooted in that publication’s receptiveness to immutability. Phrased another way, their rejection of the music industry’s traditional fetish of categorizing artists into genre categories and fixed personas. Cassadee Pope is entering into Spring 2023 with the aforementioned single, written by herself, Ali Tamposi, Roman Campolo, Nick Long, and Andrew Luce, and co-produced by herself, Dan Swank, Mason Sacks, Hosu Yoon, and Luce. Describing the incoming phase of her career Pope announces, “This next project has an authenticity that I’ve never been able to tap into before now. Pop and rock music is such a staple in my creativity so to fully return back to that genre feels special and like coming back home.”

Pope’s single fits comfortably within the shape of contemporary pop/pop-punk fusion-music. Her singing is predominantly bubble-gum sweet, but her voice switches up into a rougher-edged snarl-like modality on certain notes – as apparent across the song’s hook, “‘Cause people that I love leave,” and in the opening chorus’ last few lines, “As soon as I hold on / That’s when it all goes wrong / “‘Cause people that I love leave.” If I was a staff writer at Rolling Stone in the 1960s I would list the female vocalists that Pope’s current style is mingling with. But I am not, so I will simply list the eponymous “motherfu***** princess,” Avril Lavigne.

The single’s classic pop-punk drumming and cleaner-sounding electric guitar instrumentation is a strong tie to not just Nick Long’s work with Machine Gun Kelly, but also the debut album of one of Ali Tamposi’s writing partners – Miley Cyrus’ Breakout (2008). The single’s chorus, “I don’t wanna say I love you / ‘Cause people that I love leave / That’s all that I’ve ever seen / As soon as I hold on, that’s when it all goes wrong / ‘Cause people that I love leave / They move on and forget about me / That’s how it’ll always be,” puts into words a probably common – but hidden or suppressed – feeling that many human beings can relate to.


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