Alright, it’s 100 gecs. If you’re on this site you’re probably chronically online and if you’re chronically online you know who they are, and chances are you either love the shit out of them or think they’re absolute garbage. They are internet legends at this point whose fandom, online status, and divisive reactions reminds me of Death Grips in intensity. To paraphrase a great essay by Mic The Snare, if what we now refer to as hyperpop is pop music taken to its most logical conclusion, 100 gecs takes hyperpop to its most logical conclusion. But Laura Les and Dylan Brady weren’t trying to take the world by storm when they released their debut album. Sure they had some success with their own individual careers, working and collaborating with notable artists and producers such as Umru, Charli XCX, and Injury Reserve, as well as having some buzz with communities on SoundCloud, but “1000 gecs” feels like a project by two friends doing what they love with the people they enjoy doing it with, not like an ambitious effort to become the face of a blossoming genre, now referred to as Hyperpop, that would become the next big thing. But then the buzz started happening among music nerds, PC Music fans, and critics who praised their ear for pop hooks and maximalist sound design.
And then the pandemic happened.
And then they were signed to Atlantic Records.
And then Pewdiepie’s Spotify leaked.
And then Spotify created the hyperpop playlist.
Needless to say, 100 gecs, as well as hyperpop, blew up to levels I don’t think the duo was expecting. I’ve had mixed thoughts about what’s happened since that level of exposure had occurred, but I could write an entire essay about my feelings about that, and I don’t want to waste your time. This had to have put a lot of pressure on the band’s incredibly hyped up sophomore record. This is typically the point where they either proved that the magic they capture on their debut was the real deal or a complete fluke. It didn’t help that they had a whole tour meant to serve as promotion for their next record only for the album to be delayed for more than a year because of sample clearances. I have to imagine the band probably felt pressure to either a) take what people loved about “1000 gecs” and try to outdo it in an effort to give the fans what they want, or b) sand it down to something more accessible and approachable to gain more mainstream listeners - and I’ll be honest, I don’t like either of those ideas. An accessible version of 100 gecs just sounds terrible - a tame version of a band that’s anything but misses the point of why people love the band. But if the band just set out to redo or outdo “1000 gecs” it would either be a disappointing retread or devolve into self-parody, and I think the band realizes this. Plus, let’s be real, everybody and their mother has been trying to copy gecs at this point that making another record in that style would feel redundant. When geriatric RuPaul and Charlie fucking Puth is imitating you, it’s time for something new. Thankfully rather than try to meet those expectations the fans or the label might have, “10,000 gecs” sees Dylan and Laura taking what you want out of the band and smashing it with a guitar.
Simply put, “10,000 gecs” is Laura and Dylan full on party rocking in the house tonight.
If “1000 gecs” saw the band taking bubblegum bass and hyperpop to the extreme, “10,000 gecs” is the duo taking pop-punk, nu-metal, and ska to the most ridiculous. Some of these elements were there on their previous record, but here they are on full display, taking some of the most beloved yet simultaneously mocked genres from their youth and just maxing them out. There are some elements of their previous sound on here, most notably on “757” which is entirely in the abused electronic style of their first record, but for the most part you’re getting a gecs flavored take on what’s often considered the cringiest alt scenes in the 2000’s, fully embracing what many would consider to be the most mockable parts about them. Sure you might here some glitchy synths, pots and pans drums, and mix destroying 808’s, but for but for the most part you’re being slammed by noisy guitar riffs with way too much distortion, drum sets compressed to hell, and some slappy bass. Who can say no to some slappy bass? I should also mention the lack of their influential style of heavily processed vocals, specifically from Laura. I know that the reason she used heavy autotune and upward pitch shifting was due to her own vocal dysphoria, so seeing her let her natural vocals take up this record makes me happy to see. While there’s definitely a noticeable change of aesthetic on “10,000 gecs”, I think their fun, maximalist, unashamed approach to music still makes the record sound distinctly gecs.
Take single and crowd favorite “Hollywood Baby”, what is likely the most explicitly pop-punk track. Laura and Dylan trade the mic between verses and choruses Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus style and manage to shove like four catchy hooks on it - the Tony Hawk Pro-Skater guitar riff, Laura’s shouty first verse commenting on the stress fame has brought, Dylan’s ear wormy chorus, and the “you’ll never make it in Hollywood, baby” refrain on the bridge. There’s also “Dumbest Girl Alive”, which is like “Hollywood Baby’s” evil twin. This time the distorted guitar riff and ear deafening drums sounds like a deconstructed metal riff from a band like Coheed and Cambria, especially when they repeat the riff again on an acoustic guitar, and it also features an autotuned verse from Laura overtop a dubstep influenced trap beat. This song also sees the album opening with the famous loud and dramatic THX sound effect, one of the samples that held up the album’s release for so long, and, considering this proceeds an album with a trumpet focused ska song about putting off getting a tooth removed, is very funny. Killer opener. Switching things up, we have the ska influenced “Doritos & Fritos”, which prominently features slap bass and glitchy guitar harmonics throughout as Dylan and Laura yell about the delightful pleasure of international travel, such as eating a shit ton of Doritos and Fritos. Speaking of the more ska influenced tracks, “Frog On The Floor” is literally about a frog on the floor, not disturbing it and letting it chill, and eventually befriending it, and the ska tune features a silly organ, energetic guitar and drums, “kinda in tune” harmonies, and a literal frog ribbit sample in the beat - the song is so stupid Laura’s laughing in it mid verse.
What’s probably my favorite of the non-singles comes in the form of “Billy Knows Jamie”, which is about a psycho with a gun. The song starts as an angsty nu-metal style track, with low drop-tuned riffs, DJ scratches, and Fred Durst style rap vocals before exploding into a death metal track, with slow, sludgy riffs and harsh vocals. The track is high energy, nuts, and probably would have gotten me bullied in school, and I’m gonna tear up the fucking pit when I hear it live in May. The blasts of metal continue on the track “One Million Dollars”, with blasts of blown out drums, Tom Morello style whammy screeches, funk breakdowns, dj scratches, distorted synth freak outs, and the title being repeated over and over using the text to speech TikTok voices - it should not work in the slightest, yet it’ll cause you to head bang so hard you’ll break your neck. Meanwhile, “The Most Wanted Person In The United States” sees the band confessing to federal crimes, which is probably not a good idea considering they already have to pay for the Cypress Hill and Scary Movie samples on the song. The track features what would be an ominous hip-hop beat if not for the repeated cartoon sound effects used throughout, and whose absurd but fun concept is only heightened by its off the wall lyrics - any song that includes a trans woman singing the lyric “Queen of California, hot like the heat is, Got Anthony Keidis sucking on my penis” is automatically great. And finally there’s “mememe”, another crowd favorite and the record’s first single, which I honestly didn’t imagine would be a good closer when the tracklist came out, but after a less than half an hour exercise of all energy no slog the shouty cries of “You’ll never really know anything about me” over the blast of distorted power chords feels like a moment of triumph for a band that is unapologetically themselves.
This record is fun as hell.
Seriously, I haven’t listened to a record this purely fun in a while, I cannot stop smiling while listening to this. It’s absolute wild insanity in the best way possible, and even with a huge spotlight on them and immense pressure to live up to their accidental genre defining debut, “10,000 gecs” still feels like a project by two friends doing what they love with the people they enjoy doing it with. In the past, many listeners debated whether or not 100 gecs made the music they did ironically or if they were a serious band. My answer is that they’re not ironic in the slightest and they’re not serious in the slightest. The band doesn’t take itself seriously, but they’re very sincere about every musical choice they make no matter how ridiculous, weird, wild, or goofy. “10,000 gecs” is a genuine record by two immensely talented people who love every second of what they’re doing, no matter how many people might think it’s embarrassing. This album is purely “id”, it embraces every extreme and absurd idea it has that many listeners would probably call cringe and says “fuck you, this is awesome, actually”. And there’s something admirable and pure about that ethos, that’s what gets most people into music in the first place. It’s great to have art that makes you think and experience intense emotions, but you know what’s also great? Bangers and ragers. 100 gecs encapsulates what makes pop music great, with catchy hooks, bombastic production, infectious tunes, and music that is entertaining and makes you feel good while listening to it. “10,000 gecs” is goofy, chaotic, silly, absurd, stupid, and not cool in the slightest. It’s also a good fucking time and the best party you’ll go to all year.
Fuck it. 100. Unironically. gecgecgec.