Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Lil Peep ft. Lil Tracy – Awful Things

Conclusion: “awful” > “bad”


Joshua Copperman: The first time I heard of Lil Peep, it was from a stray Pigeons and Planes list that came across my Facebook feed. I didn’t end up listening, but the random name-drop of American Football surprised me and stuck with me. That comparison wasn’t as overly (ooovverrllyyy) dramatic as it may seem — Peep sounds like a strange combination of Mike Kinsella and Mark Hoppus, with glitches that take some slight influence off Meteora. It’s an inherently divisive song, as anything that fits the description “emo-trap” should be, but the central guitar strum keeps everything grounded. “Awful Things” all but begs you to hate it, but honestly? I kind of like it. 

Nortey Dowuona: This is nice enough, with bouncy 808 drums and solid guitar noodling with ear scraping scringing by Peep. Then Lil Tracy comes through with the gift his talented parents passed down to calm and ground this song in the agony that it’s thrashing around for.

Alfred Soto: “Bother me, tell me awful things” is a novel twist on a worn trope, and for embodying passivity so thoroughly Lil Peep sure is loud. I’m sure I have friends who yell at smartphones in empty rooms.

Julian Axelrod: Just like every other song I would hear on 93.7 Jack FM while staring dramatically out the window at night while my high school best friend’s dad gave me a ride home, this is probably mind-blowing if you’re 13 and unlistenable if you’re not.

Tara Hillegeist: When I was 18, a girl I knew from the internet died the same month my uncle did. I didn’t mourn my uncle; I wrote her name on my hand in Sharpie and I rewrote it on there every day for weeks. I’d watched my uncle die for years before he finally passed away and I didn’t have anything to say about his life because all I’d ever known of him was as a man on his way to dying. But that girl I never met was a life I only knew in words on a screen, and if I didn’t memorialize her then it felt like she wasn’t ever really real. It’s no way to move forward with your life, caring more about how the people you meet on the internet make you feel than the people you have to live next to. But it’s the kind of thing an adolescent mind does; it doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, you don’t understand how to have a life when you’ve only seriously had one for a little over a decade. I hope this song is meant for someone who doesn’t know how to get a life yet, like the stupid teenager I used to be; whoever it’s for, it’s not for me. I never liked Blink-182 at all.

Ashley John: In “Awful Things” Lil Peep borrows emo’s culture of vulnerability without accountability. The heartbreak and desperation is palpable, but I can’t buy that I’m supposed to be the protagonist, just the plot device. Being a girl and a fan of emo meant, for me, to participate in an ecosystem that craves you and blames you in equal measure. I kiss him; he burns; I turn to dust. 

Maxwell Cavaseno: I used to make the same friend over and over again, as I moved from high-school to high-school, community college to community college, across three different states. Like radar I always picked up on her (always her; guys HATED me for years) and we’d inevitably become best of friends. Their names and faces weren’t the same, but it’d be a series of clichés… Loud, bold, tomboyish, loyal, warm. Flattering dark clothes, receptive yet shady families, homes tucked out of the way. Uncouth conversations meant to show off how “edgy” and “unconventional” we were, soundtracked to films and records and nursed by drinks (on their part) of “bad taste.” It was always the same soundtrack too. A lot of grating nu-metal or the trashier early branches of emo or post-hardcore as genre would later allow me to dignify. Ozzfests and Warped Tours, scrawled lyrics on school supplies, thumbing through magazines in drug stores (and rarely, if ever, paying for them). A lot of us (me, and invariably all of them) hiding bruises and scars, making a racket with awful off-key singing, bestowing weird gifts and struggling to properly figure out what each of us meant to the other. Later, I would keep reading and hearing insistently from those who weren’t there that we lived in a swarming sea of testosterone-addled young men with violent frustration being coaxed by toxic scavengers, the absolute death-end of rock as a culture. It wasn’t a wrong assumption, but it seemingly erased all the coping and sympathy in that mire we thought was meant for us, the place we managed to make our home. It’s too easy to parse past Tracy’s guest verse providing brief winks at rapper persona or those attempts at 808 snare rolls to modernize this sound; put on “Awful Things” and I’m back in that trailer in Howell, or the guest cottage on Eagle Ave or walking past dried up reservoirs in Phillipsburg. Precedent to call this rap might have been established by your BONES or XXXTentacions (for better or worse that’s who made it happen), but a record like this doesn’t invoke the same feelings as rap used to do for me. Songs like this are for ghosts. Ghosts in the world who we give lip service to as being sad and lonely, but then bemoan for not putting in the effort to learn how to keep up with our expectations. Ghosts who live to the fullest of what they’re able to manifest through their confusion and lack of guidance, and then seemingly burdened overnight with the lack of glamour in their failures. The ghosts of those smiles of the people who I knew I could trust because instinctively I just knew that those were the persons who could trust me for one minute, and I could feel like I was wanted, and that they maybe knew the same from me. This record isn’t my friend. But it reminds me of them and it makes me miss her, and her, and her, all the same.

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3 Responses to “Lil Peep ft. Lil Tracy – Awful Things”

  1. @maxwell !!

  2. ^^^ probably my favorite blurb of yours, Maxwell. (Everyone’s blurbs are great here tbh.)

  3. RIP. Heartbreaking news.