|Car Seat Headrest / Twin Fantasy|
|Add Date:||2018-04-08|| ||Pull Date:||2018-06-10|| |
|Week Ending:||15 Apr|
Will Toledo—the singer and songwriter behind Car Seat Headrest—could’ve done anything after his breakout album Teens of Denial, so he went back and re-recorded one of his Bandcamp releases, Twin Fantasy. This was not an obvious course of action to take, but listening to the results, it’s clear it was the right one. Toledo’s first stab at the album captured teenage heartbreak in vivid lyrical detail, even if he didn’t yet have the resources to polish the album in a studio. This new recording is the album that Toledo always wanted to make, and it’s a fantastic, heartfelt rock record by one of the best lyricists in indie rock. (Note: Lots of these songs have anticlimactic spoken word outros, so end the tracks before the outros start. Some songs have FCC violations in their outros, but you can play them outside safe harbor if you fade out early.)|
FCCs: 2, 5, 6, 7, 10
Favorites: 1, 4, 8
FCC-Safe Before the Outro: 5 (0:00-3:00), 6 (0:00-6:23)
1) “My Boy (Twin Fantasy)” (2:54)* – The song consists of a refrain that’s repeated three times as the song builds in intensity. First it’s croaked over a gentle, throbbing bass; then it adds a soft guitar riff and is sung in falsetto; the final go-around (starting at 1:36) is a loud rock singalong.
2) “Beach Life-in-Death” (13:19) – FCC “f**,” “f***,” “s***.” This song is split into three parts, the first and the third of which have FCCs. (A gay slur is used in Part I, and while it’s used as a reference to another song Toledo wrote and not as an insult, it might be best to avoid it.) Part I (0:00-4:46) is a fast and fuzzy rock song that sounds a lot like an early Strokes cut. Part II (4:47-9:33) is a little more reserved, dialing down the volume on the overdriven guitars, but adding some soaring choruses. Part III (9:34-13:19) returns to the style of Part I. If you’re skilled with the CD changer, play Part II outside safe harbor. Play any of the three parts (or the whole damn thing) during safe harbor, because this is one of the best songs on the album. It’s a monolith.
3) “Stop Smoking (We Love You)” (1:30) – A short and plaintive acoustic plea to stop smoking. (Can we play this as a PSA?)
4) “Sober to Death” (5:05)* – The guitar kicks up at the choruses, but for the most part, this is a mellower song with a repeating acoustic guitar riff and crashes of cymbals. After 3:20, the song transitions into an outro that switches back and forth between acoustic arpeggios and overdriven riffs while repeating a plea not to worry. Kind of an odd finish, but this is still a very strong song (without FCCs, no less).
5) “Nervous Young Inhumans” (5:26) – FCC “f***,” “s***.” The good news is, the FCCs don’t appear until the outro; if you fade out the track before the three-minute mark you’ll avoid them entirely. The main part of the track is a charged-up glam rock song where the guitars seem to blur into a wall of sound during the choruses. (The outro sounds like stoned philosophizing over some quiet instrumental noodling. In fact, just skip it.)
6) “Bodys” (6:48) – FCC “s***.” Like the previous song, the bad word doesn’t appear until the very end, so you can play it if you fade out before 6:23. (There’s a mumbled and completely unnecessary rap verse at the very end of the track.) Another song whose rapid guitars and pulsing drums evoke the Strokes. The song quiets down for an acoustic bridge from 4:20 to 5:00, then it’s back to plugged-in rock riffs.
7) “Cute Thing” (5:40) – FCC “f***.” Guitar-driven power pop with a skittering keyboard riff in the choruses. There’s a great guitar breakdown just after 2:30, in case you want to rock out during safe harbor. The lyrics are a hoot, too: Toledo wishes for “Frank Ocean’s voice and James Brown’s stage presence” and a humorous adaptation of the lyrics from They Might Be Giants’ “Ana Ng.” Play during safe harbor.
8) “High to Death” (7:40)* – A softer song where the guitars are used more for texture than for riffs. Between that and the reverbed vocals, this is an immersive and spaced-out listen that sounds less like a song and more like a memory of one. (Fade out after about 6:07. There’s a strange outro about an art exhibit that’s not worth listening to.)
9) “Famous Prophets (Stars)” (16:11) – Okay, this is a long one. After a quiet intro with just drums and bass, loud, overdriven guitars enter right before the minute-and-a-half mark. The song quiets down just after the five-minute mark, and stays in quiet territory until 7:00, when electric guitar reenters. After a lengthy singalong, there’s a piano interlude from the ten-minute mark to 13:21. Then it’s a loud guitar outro...and a spoken word passage on top of that. While not a bad song at all, this is a very overstuffed tune. Play this if your DoorDash driver gets lost and you need to give him directions, or something.
10) “Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)” (6:55) – FCC “f***,” “c***.” Kind of like “High to Death,” this is a more restrained song, although it sounds much less spaced-out. There’s yet another spoken-word interlude where Toledo waxes philosophical about the autobiographical elements of the album. He then proceeds to repeat the line “when I come back you’ll still be here” for the last two minutes of the song.