Recently I just underwent a rather strenuous breakup that took much mental energy out of me. As a result, I found myself perusing through Spotify looking for an album to help me cope. I listen to many albums each day, being WIDR’s music director and all. What turned out to be a rather simple search led me to a great path of self discovery but also one of the greatest albums of this decade.
Let me explain.
On a cold January day earlier this year, I happened to check out a single that the band Triathalon was featured on. The main artist? Deaton Chris Anthony. An unknown miracle. This man is from the Los Angeles area, and loves his basketball references. His collaboration with Triathalon should not come as surprising, as they tend to rip genre stereotypes apart, creating a sound which can feature math rock components or more bedroom pop elements, such as their tune with The Marías. But this song, “Mr. Call You Back,” was created shortly after Deaton met the band in the desert. The hilarious thing is that the song’s inspiration came from them searching up “money phone” on Google. The first result? Jay Z holding a “phone” made of money. This is what inspired the single’s album art; a painting of Deaton holding a money phone in a modernistic vaporware-esque background. The video in itself is a trip, and I won’t burden you with all the details, but you can check it out here.
Fast forward to a couple weeks back, the album “BO Y” dropped. Strangely enough, I didn’t check out the album immediately. For one, I had no idea if it would help with my creative roadblock. After being completely uninspired to really do anything this Thanksgiving break, I decided to check this album out and BO Y, was I surprised.
First, let’s talk from a production perspective. Deaton pulls from so many sources, but the experimental nature is what makes this album spectacular. He pulls from many sources: Toro y Moi, Louis Cole, the 80s, 90s hip hop, while also maintaining the bedroom pop vibe that has been consistent for many artists in the 2010s. Each song has some sort of breakdown, whether it be crying, musical, or somewhere in between (notice Korbin in Orbit’s autotuned screams in “Deatony” or the trap extravaganza “Sid the Kid”).
Aside from production, there are so many impressive features. It is rather rare to find an album that contains a song about Tony Hawk, a literal meditation (paying homage to the exercise freaks of the 80s), and a feature with Omar Apollo and Clairo on separate songs. The best part: a hard nod to Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” telling us that we are in a unique musical time period.
The most important takeaway from the album is about vulnerability. He touches on subjects of heartbreak, loss, and the superficial happiness that so many young adults find from their technology. In a world where emotional connection has been bypassed to people, this album is an homage to the loneliness that many of us experience day in and day out. But at the end of the day, he chooses happiness.
There are so many wonderful components to this album, but it touched my life in such a profound way, and I hope that it inspires others to create. Link here.