- The nostalgia
- Strong and coherent concept
- Slightly weak lyricism
- Tracks aren't differentiated enough
Currently, retro sounds of the 80s seem to be slightly dominating the landscape of contemporary electronica. The hype around vaporwave, synthesisers and the general aesthetic are possibly more than proof of that. It’s gaining traction and it’s established chillwave artists’ gain, who now seem to be going back to their roots after experimenting with various genres. Amongst those who gain is Toro y Moi, with his most recent release – Boo Boo.
With his new record, Chaz Bundick seems to be distancing himself from the ‘indie-electronica’ of much rawer instrumentals. The tracks seem to have become smoother, the melancholy runs deep into their core. It connects not only to 80s nostalgia, but also neo-soul and contemporary R’n’B. Some of the tracks remind one strongly of Prince’s music. ‘Boo Boo’s focus is on soft synthesisers and Bundick’s voice. With that, it feels like it’s his most personal record up to date. While Bundick seems to open up about personal issues on the lyrics, it mainly depends on a listener’s interpretation – and that’s as always up to debate. Yet, the lyricism is not strong. Of course, this could be on purpose, slightly tongue-in-cheek, but the new focus on Bundick’s voice could bring more depth. We have ‘Inside My Head’, the second-last track. We expect to find some reasoning for actions and a view of a thought process in the lyrics but only find ‘situations making me tired’.
Boo Boo is an entirety. The tracks carefully flow into one another, forming something that is not easy to break apart. Toro y Moi‘s records have been consistent. Yet, Boo Boo had enough flow to become a soundtrack of one entire short film, that released a day before the release, to the joy of fans. That short film is seemingly shot in one take, deepening the atmosphere of the music. It’s always nice to have a strong concept record, but the nuances are missing. That way some tracks are barely distinguishable from others. The opening track is strong but is so similar to ‘No Show’ that these two merge into each other.
Toro y Moi is years away from his first releases. Yet it is one that fits with those more, than the recent ones like ‘What For?’. The chillwave roots are back in the spotlight – nuances of vaporwave and R’n’B. The genre might have reached the phase of acclaiming itself in the industry. The production has more details. Boo Boo is, like on other post-chillwave records, away from the isolation of a bedroom. Concept albums arise, often with newly-found nuances. And a lot of nostalgia for an, arguably, better time.