Gucci Mane - “Heavy” (Asylum, 2009)

I talked earlier about Gucci’s layering of sounds, where you can follow a sort of chain of sonic similarity through Gucci’s lines. “Heavy” is a song that uses that method to add endurance to it’s hook:

Heavy, real heavy, it feels heavy,
Somebody help me,
My neck hurt, my chain heavy,
Heavy, door heavy, flow heavy,
Gucci bag full of cash, its so heavy,
Listen, I can’t land it, I go get it,
My ego getting too big, its too heavy,
My head gettin too big, its so heavy,
Somebody help me, took all this cash its too heavy.

We let the word “heavy” guide us through this chorus, but Gucci throws little easter eggs behind his lines to help us (and himself?) remember what the next words are going to be. For example, we can follow the line “Listen, I can’t land it, I go get it,” through it’s l’s, it’s i’s, and then it’s g’s. There’s a sort of sub-logical sense to the progression of the lyrics, an inevitability to how the next line will sound.

We can link this to his increasingly improvisational writing style in 2009, a crucial creative period. Listen to his first mixtape Chicken Talk, and you’ll hear songs like “My Chain,” simply composed songs based around a modest concept. “Heavy” is not only decidely more conceptual of a song than “My Chain”—he muses on the concept of being heavy, how he is heavy, his presence, his chain, his ego, his head—but it’s word sounds seem to be related in a very understandable, in-the-moment way, as if he was coming up with them, magically, as the song was being recorded.



A, 2: Treating Kyary as an Idol or In the Eyes of Amphibians Waits the Future

If you’re familiar with the show Futurama, you may be one of us humans lucky enough to have borne witness to the show within the show, the most popular show in the future, Everybody Loves Hypnotoad. Hypnotoad is exactly what it sounds like: while a persistant industrial grind whines in the background, the TV screen fills with a giant brown toad whose pupils oscillate squiggly wave patterns, begging you to stare into them, daring you to look away. You try to look away. You can’t look away, because you’ve been hypnotized - ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!

Listening to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is sort of like watching Hypnotoad. You’re not exactly sure why you’re listening (or watching), but when you try to turn it off you discover your hands won’t do your brain’s bidding, your brain is mesmerized by the colors flashing, by the accumulation of sound unfamiliar yet familar, by the relentless push of it all, it doesn’t pause or slow down or let you breathe or think a coherent thought, your name is being called from the next room but you don’t respond because your name is meaningless, you’ve forgotten yourself, been purged of you, emptied.

There are plenty of music fans out there who after listening to a few Kyary tracks would quickly label it “mind-numbing drivel,” or something of the like. And I don’t entirely disagree with them. Without doubt Kyary levels a certain amount of mind numbing on her listeners, but I would argue the type of anesthetization present in Kyary is less the Hypnotoad variety and more the surgical they-just-cut-me-open-and-rearranged-my-insides-without-me-realizing-it type.

It’s a hypnosis of expectation. What melodic twist or irresistible chorus or weird instrumentation or jammy bridge awaits us, ten seconds from now, in the next track, the next video, the next whatever? Because pop songs don’t sound like this. Not where I come from. They don’t blister your eardrums with tempos that clip along faster than a runaway Shinkansen while balancing a sound palette most self-respecting producers would give a big WTF to. (More on our beloved producer in a bit.) Familiar and strange, more strange than familiar, maybe mostly just strange.

And in that odd curve of time (beat) and space (melody) Kyary carves out, you, normal you, disappear. If before you were a star bloated with narcissism and need, pulsing and shining for attention, in the Kyaryverse you are rendered dark matter, as present and expansive as you are mysterious and unknowable. Negated into a positive. Kyary too floats beside you, a shadow nebula; this is her universe, and she plays the role of substance that has no shape, she is the darkness allowing the visible to be seen, the black infinite against which stars gleam. She is present. She is unremarkable. You can’t take your eyes off her.

All glory.  

these is nice ..