The Front Bottoms Back on Top Bottom


frombottoms

I was wondering why all the hipsters in my life went crazy. I was wondering why every high school girl I dated started foaming at the mouth; why every guy with a beard and man-bun ripped off their flannel, tossing aside their kombucha, started jumping through the windows of record stores.

And I found the answer: when I listened to The Front Bottom’s new record, Back on Top.

There are a couple of reasons why I think the group’s 5th record struck a chord with so many folks around my age – born in the mid-90s.

We’re all about the age when we feel like we need to do something crazy and rebellious. I recently moved to Midtown with my ballerina girlfriend, grew a mustache, play jazz and make coffee for a living and like doing stupid stuff with my equally as stupid friends.

This is a theme that Back on Top addresses quite frequently. Going to parties, hanging out, figuring out life, dancing, rocking out, and being emotionally strung out on relationships and our new found feeling of independence – and all with the looming reality that we have to grow up at some point.

Stuff to which kids in their early 20s can relate.

Not you? Is it just me?

But the lyrics and the way these ideas are expressed aren’t trite – they wax poetic. They’re genuine and heartfelt. You can feel this guy’s struggle.

Especially the rap verse at the end of “Historic Cemetery.”

But I can’t help but note that at times the rebellious attitude feels a little bit contrived like they’re trying to market themselves to young folks.

The second reason is that they just sound like bands we liked when we were even younger than we are now with heavy influences of early indie rock.

Not the foo-foo Sufjan Stevens fluff, but Pavement, early Death Cab, Dinosaur Jr., Weezer, The Smiths, REM, Nirvana, Modest Mouse, Joy Division, and New Order.

The 90s – and definitely their sound – is popular right now. I know because that’s what I know. I was born to young artists living in Oakland in the 90s who did nothing but have the time of their lives despite their poorness.

This record makes you want to let down your hair, be rough around the edges, and shotgun a PBR.

Speaking on being rough around the edges: this albums apparent lack. The production is so clean; the players are so together, this record lack the grungy sound I feel it tries to invoke with the exception of a few voice cracks from Brian Sella. Usually, I applaud god production, musicianship, and well-executed vocals, however, it has to fit the genre. These guys have come a long way from playing garages and house parties like they used to.

That being said, there is no telling whether they made the decision to sound clean or not. Now that they’re signed, the label often makes production choices to better represent the label.

All things considered, I really enjoyed this record. It made me feel nostalgic for times I haven’t experienced, which is a tough thing to do.

Devan is a dj for KSSU

Shining, International Blackjazz society


blackjazzsociety

I am not the best person to talk to when it comes to music. That may be an odd thing to say for someone who volunteers at a radio station, but I do a talk show so I do not have to know much. Sitting in the lobby of KSSU I hear numerous conversations about current music and I have no idea about what anyone is talking about. But the radio station does provide me an excellent opportunity to listen to all different types of music and the chance for me to give everyone my impressions and opinion.

Shining’s newest album International Blackjazz Society promised a unique blend of rock and jazz with the inclusion of a saxophone. I was hesitant at first but decided to give the album a listen. The first song “Admittance” shocked me. The song starts with the saxophone screaming out in plea known to all woodwind playing elementary school band members. But the song soon shifts into a familiar sound that I have heard from other jazz songs, except for the mixed in rock guitar and drums. I was relieved by the familiarity and was intrigued by this new mix that demonstrated the potential for the potent mix of saxophone with rock music. But the music quickly returns to the ear piercing moments of the start. I am sure that this is what Shining intends, but to go from coherent to incoherent and back again is not my type of music. The music gets less crazy with “The Last Stand”. Absent in the beginning, the sax makes itself known in the middle of the song, changing the tone of the song into an ominous warning that adds a fantastic and interesting mix to the music. Unfortunately, this song too devolves into prepubescent screaming. On a positive note Shining has done an excellent job of transitioning one song to another making International Blackjazz Society feel like one long, diverse song. The transitions highlight the fantastic variety of the album, something many other artists fail to provide in their music.

Shining provides a purely instrumental song in this album, “House of Warship”. The music starts out nice enough and serves as a brilliant example of how a well-integrated saxophone can not only alter the music, but take charge of an entire song and lead the rest of the instruments. Unfortunately, the second half of the song devolves into a mish-mash with no apparent direction. I can hear the silence of an imaginary crowd, dumbfounded at the wild flailing of fingers on the sax and incoherent banging on the drums with each of the performers eyes shut tighter than a clam shell. Remember the scene from Back to the Future where Marty McFly performs at his parents dance and breaks out some rock ’n roll on stage? Everyone stares at him, unsure of what is going on. That is what I imagine

As odd as it may sound I did not hate this album. The music was interesting and the use of a saxophone in rock music actually worked at parts. I would be interested to hear more of Shining, if they could stop straining the sax. Giving its frequency in the music that it unlikely. What I can do is search out similar music or music that promises like twists. International Blackjazz Society was not my kind of music, but I am happy at the perspective that it gave me and was genuinely surprised by the music

DJ T3X Mex is a dj for kssu

Review of Caracal and Art in General


7gyolqc8

Before I write a review of a new album, I sit down and read a few other reviews to check to see if there was anything I missed.

I did that in preparation to write my thought on Disclosure’s most recent release, Caracal. What I found was several reviews expressing that Caracal is more of the same from the electro-pop bothers, but I spun this record again this week and realized that music critics don’t cut artists any slack.

For the record, I wouldn’t classify myself as a critic, just a musician sharing his humble thoughts.

This record was incredibly well crafted. Disclosure is consistent and leaves no stone unturned in their production. It’s ultra-clean and brutally crisp. The way they produced this record is what they know. It’s what they do best. So why criticize them for not pioneering a completely new sound? Their subdued beats and subtle bass allows for the intensity to build to an intense degree without getting exceedingly loud or obnoxious like dubstep. Another thing I admire is the limited amount of sounds they employ. At any one time I can only identify up to five or six different sounds. And yet, they are able to paint an incredibly intricate soundscape. Who cares if their record sounds similar to the last one? Does that even count as a bad thing? Settle changed pop music forever – and for the better. Bob Dylan released five records before he went electric.

Similar to settle, Disclosure recruits a cast of A-list artists as features on their tunes; among them Sam Smith, Lorde, and Gregory Porter. Sam Smith comes back with the track, Omen, a seemingly somber and equally as groovy sequel to Latch. Lorde’s track Magnets straight swings, man. How Disclosure achieved such a laid-back groove with computers is beyond my knowledge. Gregory Porter’s appearance on this record makes me intensely happy. Porter is a contemporary jazz singer fairly popular on the jazz circuit. For a musician in the jazz world, this is an incredibly huge break for him. The optimist in me would like to think that people would hear the track, research the singer, listen to some of his music, and become an everlasting jazz nerd. A boy can dream. Overall, is seems as though this record was made to be a catalyst of dancing. Nothing is too fast and the average song length is just under five minutes. But nothing ever gets boring, the brothers seem very careful about adding and subtracting textures when needed to catch the ear and keep the crowd interested.

Speaking of catchy, every track has a great thematic melody that has its own hook. Sometimes it sounds like they borrow ideas but, hey, what is art but the synthesis of preexisting ideas? Everybody has their own musical vocabulary.

As for me, it is clear that Disclosure knows what they are doing and do it well. Sounding like yourself is not a crime. The real offense is when you do not.

Devan is a dj with KSSU

What Enriches Your Sacramento State Experiences?


That is the question.

In the past, I’ve been involved with high school extracurricular such as ASB (student government). I know how much work that has been, but that has motivated me to continue on with being active in high school. I just didn’t want to sit in class to class and go home with no enjoyment afterword. Now in college, I haven’t found anything like ASB to be involved in. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be an active student. I have always been skilled at being organized and understand commitment, but thanks to Sac State’s EOP / Full Circle Project and the Theatre Department, I was able to develop and expand more on these concepts that will help me in my future experiences here in campus and at future use.

From the start, Education Opportunity Program (EOP) is what I’ve selected during my college application. It’s a program for low income students and this help gives guidance to be successful all through their college years. In this program, they required every student to get a head in academic, so there was a program called Summer Bridge at the same time they required students to select a learning community. This was when I was introduced to Full Circle Project (FCP), a program that’s for Asian Pacific Islanders where students get to take the same courses and attend to the same events to learn more about the API community. Students have the chance to get to know other APIs and get connections and resources. Being in FCP, I didn’t like it at first because it was too many requirements that confused me during this semester. It was easier in the summer because the schedule was specific that when we will have to attend to class. In this semester, FCP has required their students to enrolled in three classes and they also have mandatory meetings (and events). I honestly didn’t like it at first because it was all too much. There were confusions with time classes and meetings all among the students. How I was able to handle this hassle? Well, I became organized in scheduling my duties. I began to construct a calendar (hand drawn) of each month, so I can see what events do I have to attend. Even if I only began this system last month, this has helped me to remind myself so much more. I was able to notice events that I never would have gone if I never wrote it down on a calendar. I just don’t use this technique for FCP, but also for any appointments or important dates such as exam dates. Now, I have two calendars; one for assignments and due dates and the other for notifications of event or any appointments.

On the other hand, being a Theatre major means that I have to do at least two shows as a crew member (props or tech crew) and have to at least audition once. Over the summer, I did the dance audition for the first fall play, Flight, but I didn’t passed. I really wanted to be stage manager, but I realized that I couldn’t do that also. Even though I had a calendar to organize events, I knew that I would not be able to handle myself with that type of stress. Being stage manager, you have to be committed to all of your work because everyone is counting on you, even the director for the play is. I almost crew for Flight instead, but I chose not to do so because I still wasn’t sure if I will be able to stick with this from the start to the end. Recently, I had decided to be a part of the upcoming show (that open on the 12th) Compleat Female Stage Beauty. Everyone in this production has to be there from the 12th (opening night) to the 22nd (closing night) and be there for every show. All rehearsals without audience has all finished already. I took part of being the tech crew, specifically to sound. Coming to rehearsals the past days did eat a lot of my homework and free time, but I knew that I chose a sacrifice to balance everything out. Yet, I did not back out. Yes, I knew this would be a challenge for me because it’s time to be organized and be committed.

At first thought of Sac State, the campus sounds unimpressive because I am a Sacramento born and been here for most of my life. Yes, Sac State sounds boring because it’s a local campus, but when you think hard about it, Sac State has what other schools doesn’t have. There are programs, like the Theatre and Dance Department, the Engineering Program, Teaching Credential Program, etc. that are provided and the diversity of the school. It’s easy to judge Sac State in any ways. What I have taken with me was being more organized and being committed thanks to the opportunities that I’ve taken while I start my first year here.

Alexandria is a DJ with KSSU11-15 Blog

Vote Our Own Adventure


Adventure

This is a Vote Our Own Adventure story. Read the story, then go to DJTraySquat on Facebook or e-mail me at djtraysquat@hotmail.com and let me know what our character should do next.

Terror struck. In a tiny room, a tiny walk-in closet sized room, Ben stood stunned. He is boxed into a bright white shoebox. Not knowing how he got here, Ben reached out his hand to touch the wall. Hoping to knock, find a weak spot in the wall, he 6 instead stirred up a cloud of swirling colors. It was like watching paint swirl, but creepier. This wispy smoke swirled around the spot he had put his hand. On instinct he reached up, tried to keep it contained. But, as he put up his hands, the colorful dust settled. And, there, was a window in front of him. Outside the window was just bright white. Ben turned to the side, and put out his hands. The side of the room expanded to a hallway. “Weird,” he marveled as he wondered what was done to him, that he is seeing this strangeness. A pure white hallway lay before him. He slowly braved the hall, step by step. Putting his hands out, to the side and in front of him to see what would happen. Yellows, blues, purples all followed him, wisping around him like food coloring diving into a glass of water. He paused to look back. Behind him was completed hall. It was dimly lit, and fully furnished now. Earth tones now decorated the space. Comfortable chairs, that begged to be rested on. A full suit of armor stood in the corner. Baffled, Ben slowly turned toward the direction he was walking. He stopped dead in his tracks. “What the-“ he exclaimed, because standing directly in front of him on the wall of the hallway in between where he’d been and where he was going, was half a fire place. And, it was burning. To one side of the hallway, bright white nothing, to the other, a room as lived in as anyone’s. Ben marveled at the dancing flames, that came to an abrupt, straight-edged, stop. It was as if something bright white was directly in front of the flames. Ben couldn’t stop staring. He ruined the effect, accidentally, as he raised his hand while amazed at what lay before his eyes. Suddenly the swirling colored mist filled in the other half. He turned toward the rest of the hallway, spinning and twirling, dancing along with the mist as the empty room had life breathed into it. BOOM. He hit the wall, or door rather. Because suddenly there was a door in front of him. Suddenly terror struck again, should he open it? Should Ben turn around, to the left, or right? Should he try and find a way up or down?

I’m DJ Tray Squat

If you liked this, listen to my show, Poli-Psycho, every wednesday night at 7pm on kssu.com. If you would like to vote for what our character should do next, or you would like to show off your own writing, musical talents, or anything that can be heard through the airwaves, contact me for a chance to be on my new segment: The Hornet Showcase. I’m DJTraySquat on Facebook, or you can e-mail me at djtraysquat@hotmail.com

U Sung Eun’s 2nd Mini Album


U Sun EunU Sung Eun: Mini 02 | Date released: 2015.10.12

Thoughts: At first, I was looking for more new Korean music to listen to. I didn’t care what type of genres, so I happened to come across U Sung Eun’s 2nd Mini Album when I saw her cover. She looks interesting because of her title, “Nothing”. I was just wondering how she would sound like and when I listened to this album, I was surprised that how come I didn’t noticed her past songs until now. I wished that I could have heard her before, but I didn’t. To be honest, hearing U Sung Eun for the first time impressed me. Even if the language is unfamiliar to most ears, she holds attitude in her voice brings the songs out even more. U Sung Eun chose great music to fit with her R&B voice.

About the Artist: Yoo Sung Eun (or U Sung Eun) participated in 2012 MNET’s ‘The Voice of Korea’; the Korean version of America’s the Voice. She came in second place in the contest and made her debut (song: “Be OK”) into the music industry in July 2013.

Review: U Sung Eun released this mini album Mini 02 contains her R&B and Soul style. She recaptures a new sensation feel in the industry for the month of October. This album is full of emotions that fit well in the Autumn season; the season where everything can start new. In other words, since Autumn is the season where school starts, it’s a new beginning for most people because they come new as students or they are adjusting to a new college life, just like the spring time. I found her music flows in the sense of the “fall” season. Her songs are well with her strong voice vibes through the lyrics. Recommended Tracks: 1, 4, 5, and 6

The lyrics of “Nothing” expresses a breakup between a couple and the memories they had, which are now worthless. U Sung Eun plays as the heartbroken girl in the music video who sits down in the kitchen with a chef. In the scene, the camera focuses on the food dishes are being cooked for audience to see. The significance, which I believe, shows a new happiness she can look forward to instead of just thinking about her breakup. At the end of the video, she is able to have a smile when she has a first bite of the dish. The smile represents the end of her slow sorrow. (Check out the Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laY_bhwpDBM!)

Term: Mini Album: A half album that usually consists with five to six tracks only.

Track list:

  1. Nothing (ft. 문별 of 마마무) | Translation: Nothing (ft. Moon Byul of Mamamoo)
  2. 일이 먼저지| Translation: Work Comes First
  3. Fix Me (ft. 루이 of 긱스) | Translation: Fix Me (ft. Louie of Greeks)
  4. 아차피 한번은 아파야해 (E. Piano Version) | Translation: You Need to Get Hurt Once Anyway
  5. 오늘밤에 뭐해요 | Translation: What Are You Doing Tonight?
  6. Nothing (Live Session Version)

By the way, since this month the month for Turkey craze, this music video is perfect for that. The food in this story shows the happiness that brought U Sung Eun to smile. So, listen to this mini album and feel grateful for the upcoming holiday.

Alex is a dj for KSSU

Why Theatre?


Cole Theater small

Being a first year student, I already knew what major do I want to go in, but I wasn’t too sure what I really wanted to do in the field. What I had decided to get into is Theatre. How did I come about that choice? Well, let me just bring everything back before I even gotten into college.

At first, I didn’t have any ideas what to do in the theatre. All I ever knew was just working behind the scenes, being a part of the crew and production. I was interested in being a part of the theatre because I treated this major like student government, which was what I experienced my entire time in high school. Being in student government, I am used to working in teams to get a task done. That was how the system always worked. We would set up and outline ideas for a show like school events and rallies. We would run rehearsals for the events. Everything’s all practiced and planned, so when the day came, we put the show out. Even if we messed up, we continued to get the show running. That’s my favorite part of being in student government. Help the needs and then run the show by observing everything and everyone. For what I want was to find a major that I can do something similar to that. Theatre was a way for me to continue that group work to put up a show.

Coming into Freshmen Orientation, I had that mindset on. I then finalized that I was able to go into becoming a stage manager for the show. I was always leading the students in student government like a stage manager would do and I was always just watching in action. That was my motivation for the first time. Stage Manager sounded really great and exciting. You get the chance to run everything yourself this time. In September, there was even an offer for stage manager position from department chair of Theatre for the upcoming play that she was directing. I really wanted to do it, but I thought hard about my consequences of if I took on this path. Yes, it would be fun to experience of being the stage manager, but would I be able to handle the stress? I was taking two lecture class and a seminar class. That I knew right away, I wouldn’t stand a chance. It’s not because I had low expectations of my abilities, but I didn’t want to build stress in me. It was my first year and I didn’t want to push myself to the limits of being a stage manager. I passed up the offer. Did I regret it? No, I am thankful with my decision. There’s a long way for me to go and if I really wanted to do this, I probably will or will not.

At the time, I had no idea what to do now with theatre. I was unsure, and it is fine to be unsure about your major, especially when you’re just a first year. I just decided that stage managing is not the right time now, so I just thought to stick with my original idea of being a part of the crew. It wasn’t until I began taking Theater History 2 this semester with Dr. Pomo when I discovered my admiration with costumes. In this course, I had definitely fallen in love with Sanskrit Drama, Yuan Drama, and the Japanese Drama (Noh, Bunraku, and Kabuki). Their costumes were amazing. The Sanskrit Drama were full of arts because of how the actors and actresses move around gracefully with their colorful costumes. I find that so catchy because the color represents their character. This goes the same with the Yuan and Japanese Drama. The colors are symbolic to a specific character trait like green stands for demon and black stands for courageous. The Asian Theatre is just too beautiful to pass up. With the love of the colors and designs, I decided to take costumes as my concentration in my major.

When people questioned me, “You’re a Theatre Major? Do you like to act?” When I answer no and explained that I am interested in the production. The next question would be, “Do you want to be a director?” No, no, not anymore. I am into stage managing and all of those good stuffs, but I am not focused in that. I tell them specifically about the interested of costuming and styling. For this concentration, there are skills I have to know. I have to learn how to sew. I’ve done sewing a few times because I try to tailor my long pants, but it never turned out to look professional. Instead, it looked really lame. I also need to understand specific of fabrics and tools, all the needs I need to understand. Speaking of which, I am thinking about becoming a Fashion minor. That way, I can further build onto my costume knowledge. That is the plan.

I am able to connect Theatre and Student Government together. It’s all of natural thing to do when I get into a group together and work things out. I get to associate with more people and can get closer. I am so proud of saying that I am a Theatre Major because I love how the entertainment can present stories and folktales into a production play that is artistic. Theatre is a form of art that expresses emotions through dialogues, music, dance, and simply just a playwright. I don’t care if Theatre does not make high incomes like other majors do. This field is all about understanding and appreciating the art.

Looking at me, of course, you wouldn’t expect my interest of being a Theatre Major and being a Fashion Minor. I mean, just look at my style. I do not match to be those types, but don’t judge anyone on the outside right? It’s just something I’ve been thinking and reflecting on myself. This is what I am looking forward to do. Even if I had no idea at the beginning as a new Theatre Major of what I was going to do, I know that I have made a choice that’s my own.Thanks to Theatre History 2 Lecture class, I was able to plot these out. I’m satisfied with my decision.

DJ Alexx is a dj at KSSU

Introducing DJ Mel


Reneactment of a dj

This is not Melanie Weaver, merely a reenactment of what Melanie Weaver would look like if she was pointing at a poster.

Hey everyone! I am Melanie Weaver, a junior at Sacramento State. This is my first semester at Sac State, and I am a liberal studies major and history minor. I decided to become a DJ for KSSU because I have had a passion for broadcasting since I was in sixth grade.  I had a friend who was co-hosting a show on a classic rock radio station that was located in Westwood, CA, and I was interested in being a guest DJ. I have been on the radio off and on since 2004.  Being a DJ is something that I have been interested in doing in my spare time because it’s fun. When I was a senior in high school, I was required to do a senior project. I had an idea in mind and that was to work for the community radio that was located in Quincy, CA. I had gone to the meetings that were required for the new DJ’s.  I was one of the youngest DJ’s that was part of the volunteer staff for the radio station. I am happy that I am a DJ for KSSU because I enjoy being on the radio and playing music for the listeners.

I host The Melster Mash every Wednesday from 5pm to 6pm on KSSU DOTCOM on the TuneIn radio app. The music I play on the show comes from music that I enjoy listening to. I am very happy that I have come this far and enjoy working for KSSU as part of the volunteer staff. It’s amazing and I like to do this during my spare time.

I hope you continue to listen to my show every Wednesday from 5pm to 6pm on KSSU DOTCOM. I am playing music from the 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s, 10’s, and today. Definitely worth listening to.

Thank you to the fans who have listened and the ones who will be listening. Keep it tuned to KSSU DOTCOM for awesome shows by our current DJ’s for KSSU.

Ray on the Radio


MicrophoneHello there KSSU listeners.  I am DJ Ray (although most of the time I omit “DJ”). Here I will answer the most common and basic questions in getting to know someone: what my major is, where I am from, why did I become a volunteer DJ here at KSSU.  I will also be letting you know a little about what my show is about.

First off, my major is Communication Studies with an emphasis in Digital Video. I am technically a senior, but I still have a few semesters left here at Sacramento State.  The reason for this is I underwent not only a major change, but a change in universities.  I stared college at UC Davis with an intended major in Aerospace Engineering.  As you can guess…that did not work out. Sacramento State wound up being an excellent fit for me instead and I wish I would have transferred sooner.

Whenever someone asks me where I am from, my usual response is just “Southern California.”  The reason for that is because I am from a REALLY small town in SoCal that most people have never heard of.  That is usually sufficient for those who do not know SoCal very well. For those that do, I am from Lucerne Valley, a small desert town between Big Bear and Barstow, close neighbors with Apple Valley and Victorville.

Growing up I rode both horses and quads, what I like to call “the best of both worlds.”  I grew up listening primarily to country and bluegrass, with maybe a little rock thrown in once in a while.  After moving 300 miles to attend college, I expanded my musical palette with blues, rock, and electronica/EDM.  There is something about the sonic magic that music creates that I really enjoy.

I have a few shows under my belt already.  My hour long show, Ray on the Radio, is every Wednesday at noon.  If you have tuned in during lunch, then there is a chance you may have heard me on air.  Hold on, so maybe you HAVE tuned into my show, but, you have noticed I only play rock. Why is that?

Rock, and all of its subgenres, has turned into the primary genre I listen to.  As I said, when I came to college I expanded my musical palette.  Country was just starting to “go pop” and I stopped listening so much.  I took a History of Blues course for units to make full time status and I REALLY enjoyed the course and started exploring from there, rock being a natural progression. The expressiveness of rock ended up defining me better at the time and I haven’t stopped since.  In my show I might play some blues, classic rock, metal, and everything in between.

After transferring to Sacramento State, I took an Audio Production course I found that I really enjoyed being in the studio.  Though being a radio personality/DJ is slightly different than producing, the environment is the same. I decided to give KSSU a shot and have no regrets in doing so. KSSU is awesome.

Next time you are in the union and it is around noon on a Wednesday, feel free to wave through the window!

Raymond is a dj with KSSU

Skylar Spence is Prom King with New Release


prom-king-560x560Right now, in 2015, the 80’s are in style in American popular music. But with a new release from Skylar Spence, the 70’s appear to be creeping in. Beginning as Saint Pepsi (changed because of obvious legal reasons) Ryan DeRobertis rocketed to the forefront of the chillwave and vaporwave scenes remixing disco. Now he has made the decision to bring his own voice into his music – literally. Prom King is a batch of tunes of DeRobertis’ original music featuring himself on vocals. The entire record is catchy, ultra danceable, and super accessible although – I hate to admit – too complex for the mainstream airwaves despite the success of the track “Fiona Coyne.”

Perhaps I consider the record accessible because it deals with themes related to being a young male in America trying to find his way: wooing a girl, falling in love, being cheated on, vanity, and so on. These themes seem trite and a little hackneyed, but Skylar Spence frames them in a different way that teases out the sensitive side of men in American culture. In “Can’t You See,” an explosive single, DeRobertis addresses vanity but as a cloak for anxiety, “I’m in love with my own reflection” he sings. Skip forwards a couple tracks and you’ll encounter “I Can’t be Your Superman” a very personal story of a tough relationship with a friend. In an interview with Billboard DeRobertis said, “Superman is a song about a friend who was living very dangerously for a while. Around the time I wrote the song, I realized I was kind of an enabler of this behavior by not acknowledging the problem, but things soured as soon as I opened my mouth about it. It’s not easy to help anyone who doesn’t see the problem themselves, and that’s where the song stems from.”

Not only does this record contain myriad complex emotions and feelings, but they are nested in music that complements them flawlessly. This is what made the greats great – their lyrical sense. Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald always considered the lyrics to shape the arc of the song, their phrasing, and dynamics. DeRobertis seems to pay close attention to the lyrics and as a result created extra layers and depth to the songs and not to mention this record grooves like HELL. No record dropped in a long time has inspired my body to move so much. It is a disco-pop wonderland that sets itself apart from other popular dance music because of its amplified musicality. Many tracks even harken back to his Saint Pepsi days with excellent instrumentals that include brassy horn stabs and brilliant string quartet colors especially “Bounce is Back.”

All nuance and complexity aside, Prom King is still excruciatingly fun and if you listen to it its guaranteed to end up on your gym playlist immediately as it did for me. All in all, Prom King is an excellent record and is definitely worth the purchase.

Side Note: Check out his other releases under the moniker Saint Pepsi. Hit Vibes is available for free on Bandcamp and is highly recommended.

Devan is a DJ with KSSU

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