When you think of pop music, your mind probably goes straight to 2000s club songs with extreme bass catchy vocals and earworm lyrics. With that, the phrase “orchestral pop” can seem oxymoronic. Orchestral music has an overwhelming effect and tells moving stories with just instruments, and has minimal — or no — vocals.
But famous musicians aren’t letting that stop them. To be specific, Cody Fry has a passion for heavy orchestral music warped with pop tunes and catchy lyrics. He is best known for his 2017 release “I Hear A Symphony,” which trended on TikTok back in 2021. However, “I Hear A Symphony” wasn’t even Fry’s first interaction with fame; he auditioned and made it to the Top 24 of “American Idol.” during the 14th season.
Fry lives in a musical family; his father — Gary Fry — is a composer. Fry has mentioned in the past that he and his father have a shared love for French horns. In fact, Fry’s bio on X, formerly known as Twitter, is “Have you thought about French horns lately?”
You can hear this love for orchestral pop throughout all of his albums, especially in his more recently released compilation, “Symphonic.” There are 15 songs all with orchestral tracks, adding a soft touch to each song. My favorite song in this album, though hard to choose, has to be “Photograph,” because the image he crafts is perfectly clear and beautiful.
He released his seventh studio album, “The End,” on Sept. 15 of this year. There are nine tracks on the album, and on each song, you can hear his love for orchestral tracks, and mixing it with pop. For example, halfway through the title track, you can hear a shift from strings to bass and guitar. His vocals are clear and catchy.
One of his singles — “What If” — sounds like it could easily be a part of his “Symphonic” compilation. Starting us off with crescendoing strings, a rhythmic drumming beat followed softly by a xylophone. When he gets to the chorus you can hear the trickling of flutes right above the heavy drums.
The following track, another one of his singles — “Waltz for Sweatpants” — follows perfectly along. Scaling instruments, his voice follows the same rhythm and notes. For those that love “I Hear A Symphony” for its longing lyrics, like “Perfection is so quick to bore / You are more beautiful by far.”
“A Waltz For Sweatpants” has similarly sweet lyrics: “You’re the antidote to pride / Like a rollercoaster ride / Even stoics can’t help but smile…”
But “The End” doesn’t lack in its pop song production and heartbroken tracks. “Traveling Alone” is a song that emulates the softness that orchestral tracks can add without actually having one. It is a song similar to “London”, about missing someone and everything always reminding them of that person.
The rest of the songs in the album follow in the other’s steps, mixing pop and orchestra, with love themed lyrics. “The End” is an amazing album that wonderfully showcases Cody Fry’s talents and his love for french horns.