By Jacob Rozenberg, Second Year English
How do we talk about 100 gecs without first having a brief recognition of where they come from? In the early to mid-2010s, a micro-genre was born - one that became associated primarily with A.G. Cook’s PC Music label and was popularised by artists such as SOPHIE, Dorian Electra, and, perhaps most successfully, Charli XCX.
This micro-genre was one characterised by a maximalist pop sound. Often upon listening to a new hyperpop song one finds it jarring; only on repeat listens does the true catchiness of the track come through amidst the drowning distortion, compression, and extreme Auto-Tuned vocals.
It’s naturally polarising; many hate the gecs and find them unlistenable. Yet they also enjoy great cult success particularly from online music fans, many of whom are LGBTQ+ - a reflection of many hyperpop artists identifying as transgender, non-binary or gay themselves.
For 100 gecs it’s been almost 4 years since they released their debut record 1000 gecs, an album that innovated the hyperpop sound through ridiculous levels of genre fusion on tracks such as ‘Money Machine’ and ‘Stupid Horse’. However, not only is there a brand-new record - 10,000 gecs - but Dylan Brady and Laura Les have hardly been quiet in the meantime.
From their debut’s 2020 remix album (1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues), Dylan Brady’s work with Cake Pop, producing for Charli XCX and Laura Les’s superb track ‘Haunted’ (which appeared last year in HBO’s Euphoria), the duo has been keeping busy.
If the first two singles ‘mememe’ and ‘Doritos and Fritos’ were anything to go by, there was clearly unfinished business for the band. If there’s one thing that can be said to define 10,000 gecs, it must be the duo’s seemingly relentless ability to take random everyday objects and occurrences and spin them into highly idiosyncratic pop earworms.
‘I Got My Tooth Removed’ and ‘Frog on the Floor’ make one wonder if the gecs could simply theme a song around anything. As genre distinction gets thrown into the Nutribullet, the listener becomes left to their own devices and forced to accept this mindless abrasive pop as uncategorisable and completely tied to this cultural moment.
Something like ‘Frog’ feels inspired by a viewing of a 240p YouTube video that went viral in 2007, and the harsher ‘Billy Knows Jamie’ sounds like a Rage Against the Machine did a glitchcore track.
The best song on here is probably ‘Hollywood Baby’, a certified banger on an album that feels at times more interesting in sounding more like a cohesive whole than the more banger-led 1000 gecs. It's this year’s 'money machine' - capturing the build of the gecs’ best songs with a clean pop punk sound.
There’s something genuinely freeing about 10,000 gecs. Whether it’s the joy of hearing artists at the peak of their careers dip in and out of (but not become encumbered by) late-capitalist nostalgia for the early days of the internet, or maybe just because it’s genuinely refreshing to see incredibly talented musicians pack so craft much into whatever idea they feel like exploring.
Either way, my hyperpop-averse friends would probably do best to not allow me speaker access this summer. Or ever.
Featured Image: 10,000 gecs Album Cover | Atlantic Records
Have you listened to 10,000 gecs?