My heart jumped when this album dropped. Oh how the long-dormant, wasted-youth memories of belting the lyrics to “Starstruck” and “Don’t Trust Me” while hurdling down the 401 on a directionless 2 am road trip came flooding back. “Want,” by 30H3! was also some of my first exposure to the now undeniably mainstream electronica/rap/hip hop amalgamation. But years later, who could say what the group had been up to. The biggest surprise was the relatively slow pace and experimental qualities of the music, and levels of insight and dry humor throughout the album, “Night Sports.”
So, spoiler alert. There’s a song entitled “My Dick,” the subject of which is naturally compared to Pinocchio. The sarcasm to the whole song is made apparent by the lyrics, but is also enhanced by the cheeky chill step beat behind the track. Relaxed, down-to-earth beats were frequently used in conjunction with more lyrically complex, high-energy rap, creating a sense of balance throughout the album. The song “711,” where “parked in the alley out back, we found heaven,” a legato main chorus, alternates with a robust, fast-paced monologue. It also speeds into a fourth wall, mentioning that the other person in the car “said she heard of me from that album Want, she used to bump it in the Target parking lot.”
One of my favorite reoccurring themes in the album is impermanence. “Give Me Something to Remember” (my favorite track) relates to a fleeting encounter between two people: “we live fast cause there’s nothing that’s forever… we go hard because it’s now or never.” Melodically, it feels somber but also self-assured that making outstanding memories is one of the best investments anyone can make with the time they have. Along similar lines, “Freak Your Body,” narrates the possibility of a passing, casual encounter: “I don’t care what you want from life, only who you are tonight.” But while the lyrics fixate on the physique of the subject, they manage to divert from the “I saw you in the club… you’re so attractive… therefore, I’m going to take you home” cliché. The artist states: “you don’t have to be a perfect 10” or “a centerfold,” and more notably, frames the topic as a conversation instead of a declaration. As opposed to an aggressive “I know you want me” statement, the proposition is “if your heart is beating, let me freak your body baby,” which makes the encounter conditional upon the consent of the other person.
Overall, I was very, but pleasantly surprised, since my expectations were primarily around Saturday night dancefloor party beats. The collection of experiences and encounters, as well as the quiet, surreal vibe behind most of the music conjured Miley Cyrus’ Dead Petz, which also made the departure from the artist’s previous focus on mainstream pop. But to be fair, I’m someone who unapologetically dances it out to We Can’t Stop, Party in The USA, and anything from Hannah Montana on a semi-regular basis. It was clear that 30H3! put a lot of thought into universal experiences, and creating an authentic, droll, and personal narrative. Make a splash, then swim harder: something looked for from every great artist.