Marshfield Music Reviews

October 17-October 23

Sam Hardie, Contributor

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I Don’t Like You – Grace Vanderwaal

With young singers becoming the new popular item, it seems to be less shocking when finding out that an artist is younger than 18. Such is the case with Grace Vanderwaal who released a new song titled “I Don’t Like You” this last Thursday. While it seems that the famous young artist role is taken up by Billie Eilish, Vanderwaal definitely deserves her spot next to her. The song itself is a light strummed pop song with a heavy bass twist in the chorus, complemented by heavy kick drums and Vanderwaal’s smooth and at times sharp vocals. However, while decently catchy it is slightly bland.

 While it’s impressive enough that the singer has built such a following at a young age, and while the production of the track is high quality, it sounds done before. Reminding me very much of regular pop music on the radio and especially reminding me of the artist Two Feet, who burst into popularity with his track “I Feel Like I’m Drowning”. A track that Vanderwaal’s song definitley emulates. The mix of heavy bass and trap productions sprinkled in with blue’s guitar strums is an interesting idea and one that was very much pioneered in modern music by Two Feet. With the lyrics of this song sounding so bland as well though, it isn’t something I would go out of my way to listen to. That being said, if it came on a playlist or radio, I definitely wouldn’t skip. Overall Rating: 6.8/10 

Harley’s In Hawaii – Katy Perry 

For the second song of the week we have a new Katy Perry track titled “Harley’s In Hawaii.” Perry used to be one of the major icons of pop music in the early 2010’s with hit after hit and endless radio play. She was an instant classic and a household name. That is until she released her last album, one so forgettable I had to google it to remember the name, “Witness”. With only a few decent tolerable tracks such as “Swish Swish” with Nicki Minaj – which was accompanied with a video that’s probably the worst music video to date. At this point Perry seemed to have taken on whatever persona Miley Cyrus had up to this point. Everything she was doing made people want to rip their eyes out. So maybe she’s redeeming herself with her latest tracks? Somewhat. 

“Harley’s in Hawaii” is very similar to Grace Vanderwaal’s song I just reviewed. Acoustic guitar riff with a trap beat and heavy bass. However it does bring a more island tropical vibe – as it should with a title that has Hawaii in it. I honestly like it though, for a Katy Perry song. Personally I was a huge fan when I was younger, and this is reminding me of how she used to be. While it still is a slightly bland pop song, it still has it’s redeeming factors. The chorus is very catchy and smooth, the production is very summery even though she’s slightly late to that party. Overall it’s what I would’ve expected from her in her 2013 “Prism” era, which isn’t the worst thing. While it’s lyrics are shallow and the song itself has little to no depth, it’s very catchy, fun, and lighthearted. Something that I’d accept and want from her. 

Overall Rating: 7.4/10

Pop Song – Perfume Genius 

This song is… interesting to say the least. Which is why I have so much to say. While I have heard the name Perfume Genius tossed around quite a bit, this is the first song I can say I’ve actively listened to knowing that it is by Perfume Genius. The man who sings this song looks nothing like what you’d expect, and this song is nothing like what I expected. I was thinking of an upbeat tongue in cheek radio hit sounding track with judgemental lyrics about the state of todays people, music, and social media. What I got was so… so much more confusing. What I can say for sure is if you like experimental music this track is for you. 

It starts off with biting synth sounds which eventually lead to an almost flute sounding vocal from Mike Hadreas (the lead singer), where he sings the only lyrics of the song. It’s a weird on the spot sounding poem about his body being stretched and cutting someones flesh. After his first recital of the poem he starts vocalizing while the production transforms into a middle eastern inspired beat. This goes on for a little while before the music goes back to sounding more like the intro as he recites the same poem again, but this time with a deep voice underlaying his in the background, speaking with him. The voice almost sounds like a contestant from RuPaul’s drag race. After these lyrics are repeated it goes back into the drum beat with soft vocalizing from Hadreas as well as some background singers. This goes on until the track finishes out with glittering chimes and weird glitchy sounds that pulled nostalgic memories from deep in my childhood.

 The overall message of this song from what I can interperet is a very “poetic” form of saying what I expected it to say. Somewhat. It seems like he is commenting on what artists go through to survive. Mentioning that they have too much work to do so they’re stretched out. Many things in their jobs hurt them, thus ‘severing the skin’. He then mentions something along the lines of harvesting the pit and spitting out the rest which in this context might mean how music producers and higher ups take the very essence and soul of their music and throw the rest away. They don’t care about the person they just want what they can get out of it. In the second recital of the poem the only lyric that changes is ‘deliver our name’ which might mean the artist is okay with all that is being taken from them, as long as their name is attached to their work and is delivered to people. That’s all that matters to them. If this is what these lyrics mean it does make you think about the state of music production and all that artists go through. Even though this has the least lyrics it definitley is the deepest out of all I’ve reviewed so far. While it might not be something I would reguarly listen to, I do appreciate the art of it. Might possibly put it on a playlist of calm music, who knows? 

Overall Rating: 7.9/10

Pluto Projector – Rex Orange County 

This song is beautiful. No way around it. Out of all that I’ve reviewed today this has to be my favorite. It has the deepness that Perfume Genius had yet the catchiness and production value that Katy Perry had. If you’re familiar with Rex Orange County then you’d be familiar with this song as it is in the same style, yet with a more mellow undertone. The track – as almost all of them have had – has an acoustic guitar riff going through the entire track. Yet this time it’s more expected as that’s mostly what Alex O’Connor does. Throughout this soft track it slowly builds up. Adding soft kick drums, piano, violin, backing vocals, and more to the guitar. His voice – still mellow and raspy – sings through the song about the love he has for his long-time girlfriend, Thea. It almost feels as if he made this song for only her to hear. He sings about how he feels like they’re always on honeymoon, and he hopes it feels like this forever. 

The song finishes out similarly to “Pop Song” where his voice is altered to be deeper for some unkown reason. While this is just a love song, it’s lyrics are much deeper, and much more thought out than the previous tracks I reviewed. My few critiques of this song are the fact that it seems longer than it needs to be. It feels slightly drawn out in it’s four minutes and twenty-seven second runtime. Had it been shortened by a minute or even thirty seconds I feel like it would fit together better and not be as dragged out and repetitive. On top of that at some points where the instrumentals start building up they don’t also build up his vocal track. In some parts of the song you can’t really understand what he’s saying because the instrumentals have gotten too loud and drowned him out. Other than that I truly love this song, and will definitley be getting his latest album “Pony” featuring this song, coming out October 25th. Overall a great track, and I’m hoping I can say the same about the album. 

Overall Rating: 8.8/10