Sunday Music: 100 gecs (10,000 gecs)

I don’t really like the genre branding of “hyper-pop” but I get it. 100 gecs are hyper and full of pop, after all. But there’s more going on here – and on the second album, we now know it wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

While I never wrote a dedicated 100 gecs post, you can find the links to several playlist features here. And if you were (un)lucky enough to be my friend circa 2019, you probably listened to me wax poetic about my fascination for the group (and thanks to Jon Caramanica for legitimizing my passion, amongst others).

The new 100 gecs album is titled 10,000 gecs, which is a spinoff of the first album title 1,000 gecs, and we can only assume we are either committing to adding future zeroes to future album titles OR going to abandon this Led Zep-style in the not too distant future.

Why should you listen / why should you care: my argument is 100 gecs are the Andy Kaufman of modern pop.* Others are comparing them to “the sound of the internet” or “the sound of scrolling TikTok,” but I see them as over-optimizing the suboptimal. In the truest Kaufman-doing-Elvis sense. If you think it’s “just a bit,” you’re overlooking the subtle genius at play.

100 gecs take the worst basicness of can’t-get-it-out-your-damn-head, this is the suboptimal part, and aikido it into their own weapon of sonic destruction, whch is the overoptimized part. Consider these styles and how they’re not as bad as their fan bases (yeah, I said it):

Ska. Rap-metal. Dubstep.

Again – the suboptimal, but occasionally magically catchy stuff is what we’re interested in. 100 gecs is taking the pop-essence from each, chopping it up, and Elmer’s glue and popsicle stick-ing it together into an acid trip of a high school art project that was supposed to be a history paper.

When these suboptimal styles get overoptimized as gec songs… well, it makes you sort of question everything.

And in my case, kind of forget everything and just get lost in the twists, turns, and beautiful chaos that ensues.

This isn’t genre-defying for sake of genre defying. It’s Kaufman-esque in a way Primus and Ween and Waits could be. They show more respect for the form than anybody but an obnoxious fan.

It would be audio trolling if it weren’t high art.

As they self-described it in a Switched on Pop interview, their music is “tongue in cheek at worst.”

Before I give you a song or two and send you to check out the album for yourself- one other detail I love: I grew up on Cali punk band The Vandals. Josh Freese famously took over as their drummer in the 90s (and went on to play with The Replacements, Devo, etc. in sessions). I cover him and his musical genius of a dad here. IT IS NO MISTAKE that Josh Freese is on the new 100 gecs album too. Thank you universe for this little wink.

Here is the Dolby Surround Sound introduction start to the album, “Dumbest Girl Alive,” and the pop-punked magic of “Hollywood Baby” (with the video that makes me flinch).

ps. yes, that’s really the OFFICIAL sound, cleared as a sample to kick off the album.

pss. check out The Needle Drop take too. This line is worth digging out – because it agrees with what I just wrote (regarding rap-metal specifically here), “Laura and Dylan somehow check all the worst boxes of this genre, and somehow twist all of them into our favor… which I think further illustrates another talent that gecs specifically have a knack for. And that is just turning some of the cheesiest trends from the 2000s into absurd, fun, and a very playful art.”

*band name idea: The Andy Kaufmen

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