Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Jessy Lanza – It Means I Love You

Don’t be like that Jessy, your score isn’t that bad…


Cassy Gress: This is a relentless beat — it takes a bit to get going but it heats up at around 2:00, and that cooldown towards the end is nice.  But I think she pitch-shifted herself out of tune (main song is D minor, the chorus is… E-flat minor? almost? maybe some semitone inbetween?), and it’s confusing my ears.  It’s actually especially frustrating because I’ve listened to that first chorus five or six times now trying to figure out what key it’s in, and second-guessing myself whether it’s even out of tune at all, and boo on all of that.  Towards the end when she’s not pitch-shifted it’s a million times better.

Jonathan Bogart: Perfect late-night solipsism, the cut-up bits mirroring the fragmentation and recursion of a overtired mind. I can’t really imagine dancing to it until I know its grooves more intimately, but then I can’t imagine doing a lot of things.

Alfred Soto: Consisting of a romantic banality sung in Jessy Lanza’s high register, “It Means I Love You” experiments with sparseness: single keyboard notes and the most tentative of bongo runs. Unfinished demos sometimes have charm.

Crystal Leww: “It Means I Love You” is experimental bleep bloop music, the kind that is completely unlistenable outside of your own little Apple earbud laptop listening experience.

Dorian Sinclair: Within seconds of hitting play on “It Means I Love You,” that beat slipped under my skin and got me moving. I’ll admit the helium-riddled sound of Lanza’s first vocal entrance caught me off guard; but by the end of the song the evolutions in the vocal line, paired with that irresistible rhythm, had more than won me over.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: We didn’t know we needed a Pop/Shangaan Electro crossover until now. This is fantastic.

Katherine St Asaph: I gather that most people like crushes. And there is something to be said for happy crush songs, of really-really-really-really-really-really-really liking someone, in the right mood. But crushes, particularly the woman-to-man sort, are an involuntary surrender of smarts, demeanor and reputation to someone who could destroy you if they choose. I’ve been destroyed and destroyed over again, so I gravitate to songs with other emotions: fear, resistance, or worse, inevitability. The closest I’ve ever come to how that feels is Stina Nordenstam’s “CQD“: attraction like body-crumpling gravity, death stars falling into your eyes. “It Means I Love You” gets closer still: a rote-sweet love ditty, turned to terror. First, an anxious beat, a cousin of “Without You My Life Would Be Boring,” seemingly spare but loud and present enough to consume your whole headspace. Then rehearsing your words, which come out so bashful, clumsy, filtered through PC Music, talking at the wrong pitch, dwelling on his eventual walk away. Then, a bad ideas marching band: cheerleading you as you approach, clapping any reason from your head, go-go-go when go you should. Then the actual words, an afterthought, barely sung, hanging off the track, ending in nothing. She says she means “I love you”; what she means is “I’m transparent.”

Edward Okulicz: I find this song’s tricksy fidgeting very frustrating because, rather than concealing the fact that there is no decent song underneath, it feels like it’s getting in the way of a half-finished but potentially excellent song. I like how Lanza’s presets is set to “broken accordion,” because that little noise hints at the retience of the song’s narrator at the same time as the beat simulates the quick-step of a heartbeat elevated by a crush. But for three minutes, the track doesn’t do enough with its ingredients, hedging its bets as it obscures Lanza’s voice. Then, almost too late, there’s a genuinely engaging melody, as lovely, gentle and believable as anything by Annie. I wanted more of that.

Brad Shoup: I keep thinking of happy hardcore, but the chirpiness isn’t played off anything. It’s a withholding game: everything from the mouse-sized synths to the breakdown is held tight. What’s elevated, then, is the taunt: “walk away”. Easier said than done here.

Josh Winters: Like a speed run through Desert Land, Lanza zips in and out at an incessantly frantic pace as synths appear and evaporate like mirages on the horizon. She conveys not so much the inverse of love but its negative image parallel; there isn’t this majestic, grandiose backdrop for her to stand in front of but only its skeletal remains, and with that comes the anxiety, unease, and perverse exhilaration of laying yourself so bare.

Will Adams: I’m… not getting this. It’s intentionally abrasive in the way PC Music’s output is, intending to scratch at emotion via boundary-pushing sonics — overt detuning on synths and vocals, harsh and upfront drums pounding on the downbeat — that just end up scratching my ears. 

Juana Giaimo: Jezzy Lanza chooses the experimental, since she shows she has a pop sensibility towards the end when she builds a melody both yearnful and playful. However, she erases it all to return to monotonous and disjointed beat and piano chords. 

Reader average: [8.75] (4 votes)

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4 Responses to “Jessy Lanza – It Means I Love You”

  1. I’m lazy as hell this week, but Crystal summed up my sentiments exactly.

  2. my favorite part of this is the “yeah? yeah…” bit in the middle — hopeful and defeated at the same time. reminds me of charlotte martin almost

  3. rawr means i love you in dinosaur

  4. experimental bleep bloop music? I mean, while I definitely get that it’s weird, it’s not… You know, THAT weird, it’s doesn’t work just as a listening experience. It’s super upbeat, very Footwork-ish. Sure, not really something you’d hear at your local club, but I find myself dancing in my bedroom alone to this quite frequently.

    And YES I am very excited for the album, I hope it’s as good as this. <3