1000 gecs
100 gecs is back at it with their nonconformist tunes. (Illustration by Ellen Budell, Benedictine College)

‘1000 Gecs and the Tree of Clues’ Embodies the Hyperpop Aesthetic

100 gecs’ latest release is a remix album that features artists like Charlie XCX, Fall Out Boy and Kero Kero Bonito.

Sounds x
1000 gecs

100 gecs’ latest release is a remix album that features artists like Charlie XCX, Fall Out Boy and Kero Kero Bonito.

If you scroll through the YouTube comments on the first song for 100 gecs’ new remix album, “1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues,” you will see many comments expressing a general sentiment, “I can’t tell if I love this or hate it.” The album is controversial, to say the least.

Since they first began accumulating fame in 2019, Laura Les and Dylan Brady, the duo behind 100 gecs, have been a polarizing force in music. Defying categorization, their music is wacky, at times disorienting but always a delight to listen to.

Generally, the sound of 100 gecs fits under the umbrella of “hyperpop,” a relatively new subgenre birthed out of London-based collective, PC Music. Popularized by artists such as Charli XCX, A.G. Cook and SOPHIE, hyperpop conveys a futuristic, chrome and bubblegum aesthetic.

While 100 gecs is a newcomer on the roster of beloved hyperpop artists, their impact this year has been significant. Following their first album, “1000 gecs,” they recently released “1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues,” containing an amalgamation of new songs, live recordings and remixes. With a grand total of 21 features, none of which existed on its predecessor, “1000 gecs,” the album is an experience in and of itself.

Listening to it feels a bit like being the ball in a pinball machine, constantly ricocheting from one genre to another, new sounds blasting with barely a moment to catch your breath. As exhausting as this might sound, in practice, it is sheer exhilaration and joy.

As indicated by the name, the aforementioned first song, “money machine (A.G. Cook Remix),” is a song from the previous album remixed by hyperpop legend A.G. Cook. His version of the track is more softly glittery, punchy and in-your-face than the original. It feels fleshed out and full-bodied, a mood that Cook excels at. A perfect opener, the song introduces both the soft glitccore as well as the headbanging aspects of hyperpop that are present throughout the album. 

Track number two, “ringtone (remix)” featuring Charli XCX, Rico Nasty and Kero Kero Bonito, boasts the most notable features on the album. Hailed as hyperpop royalty, Charli XCX has a cult-like following that earns her trendsetting power within the genre. By granting an up-and-coming artist her stamp of approval, it’s merely a matter of time before her fanbase follows suit.  

Rico Nasty is also a big name in music right now. An alternative goth aesthetic and screamo rapping style sets her apart from other rising female rappers. Her contribution to the song elevates it from pleasant and cutesy to banger status.

The dulcet tones of Sarah Midori Perry of Kero Kero Bonito are the proverbial cherry on top, making “ringtone (remix)” the most well-rounded and palatable song on the record.

In contrast to the radio playability of “ringtone (remix),” the third song on the album, “745 stick (Injury Reserve Remix),” starts off with a warped version of the original intro, and the song just gets stranger from there. Rapper Ritchie With a T rhymes over a slow beat until the barely-there melody shifts into a more cohesive bridge and outro.

Despite their differences, these first three songs on the album provide an overview for the rest of the album.

Although there are 19 total tracks, only 14 of those tracks are remixed songs from “1000 gecs.” Each of the remixes falls into one of three categories. Like “money machine (A.G. Cook Remix),” there are several tracks remixed by or featuring only one new artist who contributes a fresh twist to the song, without changing its core.

Original production from Les and Brady still shines through in these remixes, which include “gec 2 Ü (Danny L Harle Harlecore Remix),” “ringtone (umru Remix),” “800db cloud (Ricco Harver Remix)” and “gec 2 Ü (Remix)” featuring Dorian Electra.Every song is a new and exciting take on old songs I already loved. These are my personal favorites on the album.

It is astonishing to hear and enjoy an altered version of a song that I genuinely believed could not get any better. Occasionally, as with umru’s remix of “ringtone,” the rare phenomenon occurs when a remix is better than the original.

There are four tracks studded with vocal features that, like “money machine (A.G. Cook Remix),”  nearly remake the songs into new genres — Hand crushed by a mallet (Remix)” featuring Fall Out Boy, Craig Owens and Nicole Dollanganger, “stupid horse (Remix)” featuring GFOTY and Count Baldor, “xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx (Remix)” featuring Tommy Cash and Hannah Diamond and “gecgecgec (Remix)” featuring Lil West and Tony Velour. 

Of all of the songs on “1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues,” these four stand out and would be most likely to earn the respect of a newcomer to the wacky world of 100 gecs.

Finally, the rest of the remixes are comparable to the Injury Reserve remix of “745 sticky.” All of the remixes in this category are an abrasive sound wall, and they are likely to shock many listeners. Included on the list are “745 sticky (Black Dresses Remix),” “xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx (99jakes Remix)” and “hand crushed by a mallet (N0thanky0u Remix).” Sprinkled with screamo vocals, ear-blasting synths and disorienting rhythms, these songs are for the most seasoned hyperpop listeners.

If you can appreciate the weirder side of SOPHIE, chances are the songs in this category will be your favorites on “1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues.” Although I personally consider myself to be a hyperpop veteran, I find these three songs to be slightly too corrosive for my taste.  

Aside from the remixes, the rest of the tracks on “1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues” are live versions of two original songs from the previous albums and three entirely new songs. Unsurprisingly, all three of the new songs are fun listens. “Came to my show – intro” is a sweet, innocent lead into “came to my show,” which features Les’s trademark autotune vocals over an adorable piano melody.

As expected with all 100 gecs original songs, the beat is infectious, and the lyrics seesaw from playful to heartfelt. In the chorus, Les laments, “I can’t believe you came to my show/It hurts when you don’t,” and then declares, “Everybody knows, I smoke the big weed” in the first verse. Consistent with their prior projects, 100 gecs perfectly toes the line between sincerity and tongue-in-cheek irony.

The last studio-recorded song before the two final live tracks on the album is “toothless.” Somehow high-energy and somber story at the same time, “toothless” is about a struggling relationship.

Like with “came to my show” and every other 100 gecs song, the opening lyrics of “toothless,” “Thinking of the way that you hurt me / All the ways you haunt me,” coexist with a Minecraft reference in the second verse, “I don’t wanna cry now, I want the diamonds / That’s why I’m mining, to give ‘em all to you.”

Around the minute and a half mark of the song, the lyrics give way to an impeccably produced, melodic yet headbanging outro.

“1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues” is the perfect demonstration of 100 gecs’ marvelously eccentric sound. Despite all of the features, the mishmashes and the many sonic ups and downs, the album manages to feel coherent. It is an adventure to listen to, and if nothing else, “1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues” is absolutely the furthest thing from boring.

There is at least one song on the album that every fan of modern music will find enjoyable. Without taking themselves too seriously, but yet still maintaining a professional polish, Les and Brady’s remix album delivers satisfying hyperpop glee.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Must Read