Album Review: Krewella’s Get Wet (2013)
Get Wet is the début album by Chicago based electronic dance music group Krewella. The record sounds like an uncut version of their Play Hard EP, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the label wouldn’t let them release a full LP, so they just held on to the songs only to release them a year later. Usually, even if the band wants to keep the exact same sound their new work always sounds slightly different and updated. In the case of Get Wet there is no noticeable difference. Nothing’s new in terms of sound or lyrics, which only seems to confirm my theory. Much like their previous work Get Wet is about partying and enjoying life while it lasts. By that they mean: drink and fuck, while you’re young. While this may sound beyond superficial, it’s an interesting and equally valid lifestyle or worldview.
However accidental these existentialist tones may actually be, the musical influences from dub-step legend Sonny Moore aka Skrillex are more than obvious. Notably Krewella’s vocals on an already great track by Skrillex (Summit), made the song Breathe fantastic, almost an orgasm for the ears (eargasm?). That’s also how I found out about Krewella. Being a huge Skrillex fanatic, I have found that many try to imitate his unique style, but not many succeed. Even if Krewella’s sound isn’t exactly original and their lyrics are hardly profound, they still posses something indescribable, a spark that makes them somewhat unique. To me it’s probably the vocals and the upbeat melodies.
The album kicks off with Live for the Night which is a great party track, that sets the tone for the other thirteen tracks that follow. The song is immediately followed by what’s possibly my favorite track on the record We Go Down. Little touches like remixing and auto-tuning single words or sounds (by-by-by-bye), typical Skrillex bass drops and extreme distortions.
After a standard Krewella track, Come & Get it, comes one of the quieter, almost introspective songs with Enjoy the Ride. The song is also featured as an acoustic version at the end of the album. Once again, this song is about hedonism and enjoying life while it lasts. Personally, I think the lyrics perfectly capture the way this generation thinks, but actually, how people think in general.
We Are One is another filler, while Dancing with the Devil features vocals by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump and sick drums by Travis Barker (Blink-182, Transplants).
Alive from the Play Hard EP was included sans changes, which is a good thing, most of the time artists feel they need to “update” or touch-up their songs a little bit to make them more current. Usually that just leads to them ruining their own songs, which were already fine, so I’m glad they left it it untouched.
Pass the Love Around is a very picturesque, slightly melancholic song about the life after the party or more precisely the moment you realize the party is going to end. Since I mostly think in terms of movies, I thought of Federico Fellini’s I Vitelloni, which seems to capture the same feeling.
Ring of Fire used to be one of my least favorite, but then after listening to the album multiple times I sort of warmed up to it. Same goes for Human, which I dismissed as shallow and badly written, but is now actually one of my most listened to. I like it because while most Krewella songs are about wild partying and sex, this one is vulnerable even though the line “I could use a hand sometimes” could be hiding a double meaning or maybe I just have a dirty mind.
Killin’ it is another song from the Play Hard EP, I like it, but it’s a bit repetitive after a while.
This is Not the End has a very positive, if simple, message: Live the moment, live now (“for today”). Even if bad things happen to you “this is not the end”. Take one step at the time, look back sometimes (“wait…”) and see the bigger picture.
The album’s last song, before the acoustic version of Enjoy the Ride is Lights & Thunder. I like this song right up until that useless rap bit, which kind of spoils it for me. This song should be the culmination of the album. Like the song says, we’ve been waiting for this moment: “Every second wanting more it’s a calm before the storm”. The song is called “lights & thunder”, could it be more obvious? When there’s lightnings and thunders it means there’s a storm, it means it rains, it means you get wet. It’s also a not-so-subtle metaphor for getting an orgasm, but sadly it doesn’t feel like a climatic track.
To sum up my thoughts on Get Wet I mostly enjoy this album. Yes, there are a couple fillers and tracks we’ve heard before. Yes, it sounds a lot like Skrillex and even the band’s logo design is reminiscent of the maestro’s iconic brand. At the end of the day though this is a very enjoyable, melodic and easy to listen to album that will get you pumped up, energized and positive. If music is also about feeling well, and music-therapy certainly seems to be working in that direction, Krewella do a fine job of making you feel somewhat carefree and careless for fifty-two minutes.
Rating after repeat listenings
(mostly on my iPod)
7 out of 10
Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers (2012)
Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are four young friends looking for something fun to do on spring break. Everyone seems to be out of town, while they’re still hanging around campus bored to death and with no money. While Faith is busy with her religious group’s meetings, her girlfriends decide to rob the local chicken shack to pony up some cash. After their successful coup they hurry on the next bus to Florida. After days of heavy drinking, casual drug use mixed with spiritual soul-searching, the police shows up and the party is over. With no cash to pay bail, it looks like the ladies are left to rot in prison (for two days), but luckily local gangster and rapper Alien (James Franco) gets an interest in their case. After freeing them from jail, they join him in his convertible, but Faith doesn’t feel very comfortable around thugs and former inmates. Alien is a gentlemen and lets her return home. Candy, Brit and Cotty stay with Alien, but things are about to get crazy as some old gang rivalries resurface. Continue reading
Five Favorite Logos
Brands and logos are part of our everyday life. Every second of our life we’re surrounded by them. From birth to death. You’d have to be naked in the desert and maybe you’d manage to escape them. Since that’s unlikely and silly, why not just embrace them and have fun with them? Some logos are actually works of art themselves, beautiful and tasteful instead of manipulative and exclusively sales oriented.
These are my personal favorites. Most of these are very simple: Simplicity equals beauty. Some of these brands I see everyday, some I wish I did. There are a lot of good designs around, but these are also some brands I can personally identify with.
5. Fair Trade
Whenever I read bio or fair trade on a product I feel a certain confidence the product is somehow worth more. “I am a better person for choosing it”. In return I just have to pay a little surplus, but can you put a price tag on a good conscience? I also like the color choices and stylized image.
In case you hadn’t noticed this is the same font used for the logo of my blog. Skrillex is one of my favorite artists and the three red lines (“ILL”) epitomize perfectly everything he stands for. The raptor. The scream. The wolverine scratch. It feels ‘electronic’, poignant and totally fits Sonny Moore’s persona.
3. The Louis Vuitton Monogram
As far as status symbols go owning a Louis Vuitton bag is on the top of my list. Seen in vintage films, bought by Hollywood royalty and just incredibly stylish this is my favorite designer brand. Again a very simple design, but a timeless icon appreciated by fashion lovers all over the world.
2. Venice Film Festival
Being a film fan, to me the Golden Lion is the highest honor you can get. Won by my favorite directors: Michelangelo Antonioni, Sofia Coppola and Kim Ki-duk, and very Italian, this simple design is very effective and surely the best logo for any film festival, followed closely by Sundance. Every time I see it on a DVD/Blu-Ray I feel like I need to buy it.
The Criterion Collection emblem is probably my favorite logo. A triumph of simplicity, married to design and aesthetic. Every time it appears on screen I know I’ll get at least a very interesting classic film. The Criterion logo is more than a logo, it’s a quality seal. A stamp of approval. If you’ve made it into the Criterion Collection, you’ve made a good film.
Sonny Moore performing ‘Moss’ Live at Pops
I recently discovered the live version of Sonny Moore’s song called Moss. Much to my surprise I couldn’t find it on YouTube.
What’s special about this song is that it features a piano track that isn’t on the original. Sonny’s voice sounds as beautiful and crystal clear as it does in the studio, so this is well worth checking out!
Funeral For A Fad
Remember when emocore was all the rage? Where is it now? Has it disappeared forever or has it just taken on a new form?
Yesterday I was browsing YouTube for live videos of Sonny Moore and as it often happens with YouTube when you click the links on the right hand side, you can end up on completely unrelated topics. Long story short: After a couple of minutes of listening to his crushingly beautiful high-pitched voice I found myself looking at covers of The Used, a band that used to be great. Listening to some of their best songs like Blue and Yellow, Buried Myself Alive and Taste of Ink I was taken aback almost ten years to the days emocore was at its height.
Aside from nostalgia and blurred memories, I started thinking about what happened to the scene. Like every fad it faded away. The music industry, much like the fashion business, is made of trends that change ever so often. Audiences are more and more fickle, looking for the next hip thing to buy.
Emocore existed way long before its mainstream popularity in the mid 2000s. Major labels took something that was niche, glossed it up and marketed it as new. It seems that big business is always lagging behind the underground scene, waiting for a trend to consolidate and then exploit it. The only advantage the music industry has over indie labels is their huge and well-oiled marketing machine. Still where have all the high-tops, black nail polish and skinny jeans gone?
They’re still there; they’ve just traded them for bright, new shiny neon ones. The kids have grown up and moved on from their emo days, some still listen to a track of Taking Back Sunday’s Tell All Your Friends (2002) every now and then but they’re not telling their friends. Much like Sonny Moore, they’ve gone From First To Last to Skrillex.
Electronic music has broken into the mainstream, after being popular in Europe and made fun of from Americans it has finally crossed the ocean. You can tell a genre has gone mainstream, when every artist is trying to incorporate elements of it in their songs. While emocore was never as big a trend compared to something like Hip-Hop or R&B, it certainly was the next Punk-Rock (which turned into Pop-Punk and eventually returned to Pop/Rock). Emocore could be considered a sub-genre of Rock as a bigger, more generic construct.
Why has it ultimately vanished from the mainstream? When a label takes a genre to general audiences it has the tendency to water it down, to try fitting the tastes of a mass audience. Corrupting something fans consider holy splits the scene: Certain people will continue listening to their unknown bands undisturbed, while others will also include some of the new commercial ones in their playlist. Other people (the more “hipster” oriented crowd) will turn their back on the genre completely looking for a new trend, and again others will adapt to what the market dictates without second guessing it. What’s important is that the existing bands that got big contracts, thanks to the genre’s new found popularity, are forced by the label to adapt their style i.e. cater to the general public.
Turning the genre into a something softer that doesn’t have much to do with the original idea, will anger many people who consider themselves hardcore fans. The mainstream, charts listening crowd will barely notice changes are even happening, but the scene queen certainly can’t feel so special anymore if everyone’s “doing it”. So the scene is now divided into people who support the new evolution and turn the genre has taken and people who have gone on to better and ‘bigger’ things. The label loses its core target group, the loyal fans, while new audience, the mainstream one, can be easily manipulated into liking everything as long as it appears hip and flashy. In this state of insecurity the label’s rational thing to do is look for a new trend to recommence the cycle.
Here’s the awesome clip that inspired me to write this piece.
Skrillex in Mexico
Remember when the world was going to end? 21st December 2012 ring a bell?
Well, Skrillex clearly didn’t care: He was partying it up in Mexico with his Lost Boys.
In this new video he posted on his official YouTube channel we see his live shows in Mexico. He meets a shaman while walking through the streets of Mexico and he hits his head against the mothership, but he does all this for his fans, because he fuckin’ loves us!
Skrillex Inspiration of the Day