Pride Profiles: Jack Rua

To celebrate Pride, we’ll be highlighting a different Irish artist from the LGBTQIA+ community each day in June as part of our Pride Profiles series.

By Clare Martin

Listen If You Like

Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen, Perfume Genius

Who He Is

Jack Rua is a beam of light for the Irish pop scene, meshing the various facets of the genre into a brilliant, unmissable gem. His 2020 album Narcissus is lean time-wise, clocking in at just under a half hour, but nourishing for the soul with its throbbing beats, infectious choruses, and slick production. Stabs of piano, slaps of synth, and clanging drum machine all feel made for a boogie in Street 66. His lyrics are honest and evocative, late-night talk clouded by cigarette smoke and one too many cocktails, but the precision of his music should not be underestimated.

More recently, Rua put out the EP I Don’t Party Enough Anymore with American producer Saint Taint. The project is a hyperpop dream, exploring the darker sides of lockdown while also feeding our collective need for a good dance after a year of separation. Most excitingly, Rua is playing a socially distanced gig in the Button Factory on 13 July. You can get your tickets for the gig here and listen to his new EP below. 

Jack Rua and Saint Taint Produce Effervescent Pop on ‘I Don’t Party Enough Anymore’

By Clare Martin

Even with the end of restrictions imminent here in Ireland, the daily drudgery of staying at home and combing streaming sites for something new to watch can take it out of you. Despite these depressing circumstances, wallowing tends to be the exact opposite of what I need, especially when it comes to a seemingly inescapable global disaster. I might be crying, but I want to dance it out and get lost in music that makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself.

Irish glam pop artist Jack Rua and American hyperpop producer Saint Taint innately understand this desire. Over the course of their collaborative EP I Don’t Party Enough Anymore, the duo find a sense of much-needed catharsis. 

Sure, Jack Rua may be singing, “Yeah I just want some kind of contact,” on the opening track “Contact,” but the drop on the chorus keeps you from becoming completely mired in sadness. It’s the same effect as Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own,” except instead of crying in the club you’re crying at home, throwing shapes as you’re lit up by the glitter ball you bought during lockdown. 

The lyrics, which swing from touching to tongue-in-cheek, are complemented by Saint Taint’s hyperpop sensibilities. After a year of social deprivation, the overwhelming surge of beats and synths provide a much-needed rush of euphoria. “I Don’t Party Enough Anymore” pulsates with zippy, neon synth and thwacks of drum machine before Jack Rua channels some Carly Rae Jepsen-esque pop goodness on the chorus. “Now my world is getting smaller and it’s suffocating to be stuck inside my bedroom every night of the week,” he laments later on. Distortion preempts a triumphant drop, a crashing wave of sound that would wash you out to a sweaty dance floor if it could. 

“Lovemelikeiloveyou” still gets your hips moving, but it’s comparatively sunny. High, distorted voices and a clanging beat are joined by other elements until the song becomes an oversaturated, bright groove moving within you. Listening to the track is like the aural version of eating an extremely sugary, sour sweet that leaves your mouth tingling for hours afterwards. 

Even the most down-tempo song of the EP, “Bike Ride,” has a sense of humour about it. Jack Rua laments his TERF-y roommate and how he “can’t even sit here and enjoy doing nothing,” before inviting listeners to join his Animal Crossing island (“We have apples,” he promises). 

On I Don’t Party Enough Anymore, Jack Rua and Saint Taint hit the sweet spot of escapism and emotional release. These four songs are bursting with so much feeling and fun that they’ll be great company even well after you’ve had your second jab.