Gone are the days of ceiling tiles dropping because of intense moshing at New York University shows but after a consistent amount of trial and error, hyperpop duo 100 gecs recaptured the wizardry of their debut album “1000 gecs.”
On ‘10,000 gecs,’ 100 gecs Recaptures the Wizardry of Their First Album
Gone are the days of ceiling tiles dropping because of intense moshing at New York University shows but after a consistent amount of trial and error, hyperpop duo 100 gecs recaptured the wizardry of their debut album “1000 gecs.” The album is a whiplash-inducing combination of brash nu-metal, trumpeting ska and their traditional glitchy hyperpop sound — safe to say, the magic of 100 gecs has returned on “10,000 gecs.”
The second album from Dylan Brady and Laura Les took around four years to perfect, according to the duo’s interview with music magazine Kerrang. The duo started with 4,000 demos, then 10,000, before they finally arrived at the final track list for the album, which was released March 17.
The duo met in high school and has stayed friends ever since, according to an interview they did with Skrillex for Paper Magazine. 100 gecs comes from a long tradition of experimental electronic artists, but their distinct way of playing with lyrics and sound has given them a distinct niche in the genre.
“Dumbest Girl Alive” opens the album with a pitched-up version of audio company THX’s production logo, famous for its high-volume introductions before movies in the mid-2000s.
Straight after is “757,” a fast-paced showcase of the traditional hyperpop sound casual listeners of the genre will immediately recognize. The song is reminiscent of the duo’s remix for CMTEN’s viral TikTok hit “Never Met!” and is practically awash in the same blistering neon notes.
The album’s most recent single, “Hollywood Baby,” opens with the distinct pop-punk sound of the early 2000s. The instrumentation is driven by electronically distorted guitar riffs and scratchy vocals which have become 100 gecs’ calling card.
Lyrically, the song fits perfectly with the rest of their discography, walking the line between critical and nonsensical. It taps into the duo’s fears of failure and the superficiality of Los Angeles.
“Frog On The Floor” is reminiscent of what a fraternity remix of the children’s camp game “Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky” might sound like. The ska influences make it a sonic departure from the rest of the heavily electronic album, but the lyricism fits into 100 gecs’ deeply unserious style. The song is driven by the rhythmic sample of a frog croaking and the epic tale of a party animal frog who lives in Brady’s basement and can do keg stands.
100 gecs and their use of the Jamaican predecessor to reggae, ska, go back all the way to their first album. The duo often includes the ad-lib, “Pick it up!” in their more ska-influenced songs. The phrase is extremely common in ska songs and is something Brady says often, according to an interview with Rolling Stone.
“Will you buy my friend a beer / If you see him jumpin’ ’round? / “’Cause he’s got flies in his mouth / And he needs to wash ’em down,” Les croons at the end of the song.
“Doritos & Fritos” is a mosaic of the erratic samples and synthesizer melodies 100 gecs has come to be known by, alongside the pop-punk guitar riffs that appear throughout the album. The song is a love letter to the number of words the duo could rhyme with Dorito and Frito and Brady’s apparent love for chips, according to Kerrang.
It’s incredibly hard to tell when 100 gecs is joking and when they’re serious. “Doritos & Fritos” exemplifies this by contrasting off-the-wall goofing with societal commentary. The song splits itself between verses about cable television making their heads explode and lines about eating burritos with actor Danny Devito.
“Billy Knows Jamie” sounds as if it was designed specifically to blow out the speakers and headphones of listeners. The song is sonically and lyrically violent, marked by gnarled guitars and aggressive vocals. It taps into the nu-metal stylings of bands like Korn and Slipknot, complete with a downplayed bridge full of whispered warnings about what Billy, a character in the song, might do.
“One Million Dollars” is about just that — one million dollars. The song makes use of the TikTok female text-to-speech voice saying “One million dollars” over and over again, as well as an interpolation of “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi Presents The Biz. The bot repeats “One million dollars” for the entirety of the song, periodically switching with the voice from the Speak and Spell children’s toy also rhythmically chanting “One million dollars.”
The song is a return to the 100 gecs of yore, reminiscent of the song “gecgecgec” from their first album “1000 gecs.” Electronically eclectic and making use of strange samples is where 100 gecs does their best, most experimental work — and “One Million Dollars” is a perfect example.
“The Most Wanted Person In The United States” is a mellow entry into the 100 gecs discography, featuring a lot more of the duo’s unaltered vocals resting on a bed of discordant “boing” sound effects.
“Yeah, you better watch out, ’cause I’m a real killer / Never fall asleep without my finger on the trigger,” sings Brady in a monotone voice.
It’s a line built for the metaphorical “Wild West” of the Internet culture Brady and Les constantly play into, delivered like a cowboy Redditor.
“I Got My Tooth Removed” is a trumpeting near-conclusion to the album as 100 gecs dip their toes back into ska. The song has a Weird Al Yankovic tone and frequently borders on parody, ending up somewhere in between as the story of a breakup or a particularly painful DIY root canal.
“mememe,” the album’s lead single, is an emotional departure marked by the lack of voice-altering technology, which is a central part of the hyperpop sound. Les took vocal lessons during the COVID-19 lockdown to “expand the toolbox” of 100 gecs and put that talent on display throughout “mememe,” according to Kerrang.
100 gecs have become a kind of musical alchemist, having mastered the formula that turns Internet in-joke and brash instrumental lead into hyperpop gold. As goofy as the duo and their music can seem they are experimental pioneers in hyperpop and have defined that genre for generations to come.
“10,000 gecs,” along with the rest of 100 gecs’ discography, is available on all major streaming platforms.
Featured image courtesy of Dog Show Records/Atlantic Records