Produced by Neon Hitch and Happy Perez, "Happy Neon" marks a stopgap between breakout singles such as "Fuck U Betta" and her Gym Class Heroes collaboration "Ass Back Home" and her Warner Bros. Records debut album. After a mutual friend connected the singer with Perez (who previously produced Frank Ocean's standout mixtape cut "We All Try"), the duo hunkered down on new material together and ended up creating a standalone release. "We locked ourselves in the studio for a week and just made music constantly," Hitch recalls. "It turned out to be this whole EP, and there's no way we couldn't call it 'Happy Neon.'"
"Happy Neon" combines sleek, arena-ready pop production with intimate lyrics that capture the 26-year-old at a pivotal moment in her young career. "Pink Fields," for instance, concludes a wrenching vocal performance with an infectious refrain, while "Jailhouse" finds Hitch pleading to "Please set me free!" as stuttering percussion creates the walls of her conceptual prison.
Hitch, who notched her first No. 1 as a solo artist last year when "Fuck U Betta" hit the top of the Dance Club Songs chart, says that "Happy Neon" allowed her to express her wide-ranging emotions as she waits for her finished debut album to receive a release date.
"It's tough -- a lot of things are out of your control," says the singer-songwriter. "I wish I could just put my album out today for free. It's not about the money or timing for me, but it's about the fans and the music… I'm really happy with the album, but I feel like everything happens for a reason. If the album release wasn't delayed, I would have never made this EP, and I would have never rediscovered the true self I found while making this EP."
With the "Happy Neon" EP, Neon Hitch is kicking off what she hopes to be a big 2013 in an ambitious way. What do you think of the singer-songwriter's new release? Voice your opinion in the comments below.