Clarice Assad


(2023) RETRO POP

RETRO POP, commissioned by PRESENT MUSIC,  is a collection of my earliest emotional musical memories, inspired by artists and genres that were once rather popular and, in many ways, not only made their mark in the time they lived, they also influenced a myriad of artists who later came onto the scene.

This three-movement work opens with À Primeira Vista, a mixture of a re-imagined 6/8 pop ballad inspired by John Lennon’s Norwegian Wood with the signature progressive rock band meter-changing techniques. The second song is a nostalgic, melancholy homage to the French composer Michel Legrand, who passed away in early 2019. Legrand was famous for many popular movie scores, including hits like Summer of ’42 and Windmills of your Mind, with Marilyn and Alan Bergman lyrics. The original, in French, was called (“Les Moulins de mon cœur” and was written by Eddy Marnay.

Legrand was a master at taking a tiny melodic theme and transposing it ad infinitum into sequences and cadences while making the most apparent II-V-I progressions sound rewarding.

The set finishes with Samba-Funk, an energetic blend of pop, funk, samba, and some Latin riffs inspired by Herbie Hancock’s textures from his album Mr. Hands, along with the fabulous sounds of Brazilian singer-pianist Tania Maria.



At first sight, the unknown feels unnatural
until the mind accepts
a sudden jolt of yearning,
memories and secrets whispered by the wind
While the world spins

For a fleeting moment, time stands still
There is no yesterday or today-
What may tomorrow bring?

The voyage of life feels lonesome,
It begs for trust, strength, and courage
Some get lost on the journey
Others wander until giving up

Every day feels the same in a different way
A roller coaster of emotions,
brought on by uncertainty and a constant
Search for this thing called joy


The house is empty
since you carried away
our memories
on a bright spring day
But you must know,
that the little that remained
still floats in the air
Sounds, sights, the days and nights,
foolish plans for a future that never arrived
They insist on existing
even now

All of a sudden
No words, no reason –
When until so recently
All life was you
But I should have known
that love may lead nowhere
Sooner or later, it ends
And leaves an aftertaste
of longing and remains

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