The first thing you’ll hear on any Rosesleeves song is an excerpt from the movie Beautiful Boy with Timothy Chalet and Steve Carell. It may only be a handful of seconds, but it’s the emotionally-charged emblematic scene that sets the perfect mood for his music. Rosesleeves’ debut album 9920DEADLINE is emotionally broken and barely stitched back together with the use of the one thing he can control—his music. Whether it’s ethereal synths, aggressive break core beats, or somewhere in between, he’s currently setting the blistering pace that hyperpop mutates at. And although hailing from the UK, he takes more inspiration from American acts like Elliott Smith, Osquinn, and the Witch House genre that took electronic music by storm in the early 2010s. Rosesleeves’ newest work is currently his only full-length EP and although emotionally consistent throughout, leans toward is singles to do a lot of heavy lifting.
Like a Good Old Friend
Electronic music is a really interesting genre. It’s a contest between artists seeing who can make the best music, whether it’s to the extremes of maximalism in an artist like Avicii, or the minimalist end with artists like Aphex Twin or our good friend Vegyn. In all his releases, you simply can’t put your finger on what you like about a Vegyn song or even an Avicii song. That may be from my own ignorance, but in my eyes, what all these artists have in common is a borderline obsession with music that builds a strong intuition or “ear” for good music. Vegyn’s newest is the appropriately-named Like a Good Old Friend. Riddled with artificial beeps and goops, it has a human warmness, like reading a letter from an old friend. Subtle collaborations from the likes of Jeshi and John Glacier efficiently add to the tracks almost more as samples than anything. Standing at a little over 23 minutes, the EP is something you can’t put a finger on, but you keep listening track to track, bouncing your head. Eventually you start building an intuition.
Undoubtedly one of the most talented pop rap artists to emerge from the burgeoning hyper pop movement, midwxst is the dark horse among the upper echelons of the genre. His 2020 album, Secrets, was my favorite hyper pop LP of the year for its “all killer, no filler” mentality and very real chops as a lyricist among a host of difficult beats to rap/sing over. His new EP, SUMMER03, takes a much calmer approach to the genre, choosing a slower buildup, or no buildup at all, maintaining a composed but aggravated singing voice. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some hits in here with artists like glaive (signed to Interscope) and others that earned him a spot on the cover of the Spotify hyperpop playlist. But you can tell he isn’t the same guy he was a year ago. At 17, he’s experiencing the same emotions you probably did at that age—loneliness, heartbreak, love, maturity. Thing is, he’s rapping years beyond his age. This EP might be an unwelcome change of pace for some, but I’d give him more time.