Pom Pom Squad has never been shy about their love for Nada Surf. What started as the band tweeting “I’m gonna recreate the video for popular by Nada Surf but I’m gonna play every character” turned into a North American tour which just wrapped up in November. Now, their dreams come true. Today (Dec. 15), Pom Pom Squad shares their cover of “Popular,” which arrives with a recreation of the iconic video and features Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws.
“Working with Nada Surf was such a dream,” said Mia Berrin of Pom Pom Squad. “They’re such an incredible group of individuals and were so kind to everyone in PPS during our time out on tour together. It’s hard not to be inspired by their career, so to intersect with their legacy even a little bit is really special.”
The video was shot at Bayonne High School, the same as the original. The video is riddled with little Easter eggs, including photos of Caws and Pom Pom Squad’s Mia Berrin. It is not a shot-for-shot remake, and Berrin, as the video’s main character, takes on a life of her own while entangled in the day-to-day of high school.
Of the video, Caws said:
I think the video is amazing! I love how it feels like a shot-for-shot recreation at the start but quickly takes on its own totally new character. The original was shot in 1996, looking back at previous decades, while this one feels set in the present day, looking inwards and towards the future… another really cool aspect of the video is that the cheerleader character feels more and more sincere and human as the story develops. By the end, she’s much more than a player in a high school creation, she’s a person in the world and the singer of the song. To me there’s a “closed film” sense about Pom Pom Squad. Meaning that even if you could trace influences in their music, it feels as if they’ve invented it all themselves. They are their own world. That’s a trait I’ve felt in all my favorite bands: they’ve created their own reality.
Below, watch and compare Pom Pom Squad’s “Popular” cover with the 1996 original, and find Nada Surf’s Paste Studio session further down. Check out Death of a Cheerleader and more on our Best Albums of 2021 list.