Caller ID: Track Roundup — 8/21/20

Welcome to Caller ID, a new weekly column where the Ringtone staff takes new releases by small artists and reviews them!

Graphic showing three album covers featured in the article

CHOKRR” — crckr brrll and Grip.girl (ft. AUDEN)

With “CHOKRR,” crckr brrll, Grip.girl and AUDEN have created an infectious end-of-summer dance tune about craving love. The song is a stylistic departure for vocalist and songwriter AUDEN, whose other work is less hyperactive and more influenced by EDM and trance. Their rich voice and tight vocal control make CHOKRR stand out.

Grip.girl and crckr brrll’s inventive production keeps things fresh while leaving room for AUDEN’s defined vocals. Vocals and synth combine to create a catchy, solid hook, “Driving till my heart runs me over,” that repeats throughout the song in different forms. The instrumental in the second half turns slightly erratic, which would make “CHOKRR” lack structure if not for the vocals tying it together. The disconnect between the first and second half makes the song seem to lack closure. Still, the production leaves plenty to discover on repeat listens. Overall, “CHOKRR” is an energetic, well-produced song that I’d love to hear in a club (if any of us could still go clubbing.)

— Nic Johnson

Celular” — Turnipz

“Solo espero que cheques el teléfono,” the upcoming artist Turnipz meditates in Spanish in his latest single “Celular.” Translating to “I just hope you check your phone,” this line efficiently sums up the thought process that so many of us go through while falling in love. Throughout the track, Turnipz drifts in and out of insecurity, wondering if his love interest will text him back.

Paired with playful, bubbly-sounding electronic instrumentals, “Celular” sounds like the soundtrack of a video game — it’s almost as if Turnipz has immersed himself so far in his longing for a text back that he has become one with his phone. It perfectly captures the feeling of waiting for a text back, one of the most daunting tasks the digital age has created.

— Amelia Zollner

Next Week” — Raegun

16-year-old artist Raegun released their first single, “Next Week,” on August 13. It’s a beautiful fusion between classic sounds and modern beats.

The love song begins with a classic chord progression played on an acoustic guitar synth. However, all elements of a traditional song are thrown out the window when the vocals kick in. In classic hyperpop fashion, Raegun uses autotune as a stylistic device to elevate and differentiate the vocals. They also employ electronic beats to accompany the grounded sounds of the guitar.

The alternative sound Raegun produces is, in a way, a contrast to the lyrics they sing. The lyrics contain standard love song tropes, with them speaking on missing their “dream girl” and hoping to wake up next to her and have a future together. Although these love song cliches are present, we see Raegun toy and examine the idea of beauty, as they write, “You and I both in a skirt, nobody more prettier” showing that both partners express themselves similarly but both look equally beautiful.

Raegun also gives the listeners a look into the psychological toll their relationship may have taken, as the second verse begins with “Break down, I spiraled all around.” The lyrics show both the good and bad sides of relationships, allowing the song and its themes to seem like less of a fantasy to many.

At the climax of the song, Raegun’s vocals are cut out and the acoustic guitar is instead replaced by an electric guitar with the accompaniment of drums. This climax encompasses Raegun’s style as it takes beloved elements of classic rock yet alters and modernizes it to fit the hyperpop style, allowing a range of listeners to enjoy.

— Minna Abdel-Gawad

SOMETHING AWFUL” — MGNTA

In “SOMETHING AWFUL,” MGNTA doesn’t shy away from honesty: “I’m gonna lose my fucking mind / I’m gonna lose my head / I should really go to bed.” They’re brutally honest and depressing thoughts. However, in traditional hyperpop style, MGNTA takes these contemplative lyrics and flips them on their head, sheathing them beneath layers of autotune, an upbeat drum track, and dreamy synths to create a headbanging-inducing track.

It all builds up to a satisfyingly loud and distorted ending, which almost feels like some closure for MGNTA’s regrets. Thanks to this ending, “SOMETHING AWFUL” is anything but awful.

— Amelia


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