Friday, June 21st, 2019

Jay Som – Superbike

Of course, the definitive “Here’s Where the Story Ends” was by Tin Tin Out and Shelley Nelson…


Ian Mathers: Every so often I hear a song and go “hmm, maybe indie rock was worth it after all.”

Will Adams: As a ’90s kid, I’ve done enough cruising down PCH in the backseat of a hot car with the radio humming away to never not enjoy this type of sun-streaked alt-rock. Especially when parts of it sound like “Here’s Where the Story Ends.”

Alfred Soto: The crunchy strumming of the first half doesn’t prepare me for the trance-like pleasures of the second. It’s not quite a superbike, but I did feel the wind through my hair as I pedaled past the lol-’90s aural signifiers. 

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Jay Som makes songs that work like ASMR videos for me, full of textures and soundscapes that scratch weird sonic itches in my brain. “Superbike” is no break from that trend — starting with its first guitar riff, the song seems like an excuse for Melina Duterte to subtly flex all of the different guitar production tricks she knows. And yet, “Superbike” also represents an inflection point in Jay Som’s artistry — it’s the first song of hers where all of the textures and ideas coalesce, building in its structure to a gorgeous guitar solo, full of musical catharsis. The vibe is still chill, the moves are still gradual, but the bedroom pop haze is beginning to clear into an ever more brilliant dawn.

Iris Xie: For something that’s supposed to be airy and gauzy, the end result is pretty cloistered and dusty. The intro is really promising, maybe even a little old school ’90s alt-rock, as interpreted by the early ’00s. But combined with the muddled singing and compression, “Superbike” sounds more like mumbled exhaustion after a long journey. The guitar leads the entire song but is also compressed and buried underneath everything, including those slightly lucent chimes, and Jay Som’s vocals compete among the textures of the instrumentals. It’s a little perfunctory and under-developed in its outlook, like it only said half the things it wanted to say.

Leah Isobel: My little sister graduated from high school last month. Whenever I’m talking about her, no matter who I’m talking to, I say the same thing: “she’s the coolest teenager I know.” I don’t know many teenagers but I think I would feel the same way even if I did. She’s smart, wickedly funny, and confident in a particularly 17-year-old way — I can see, or maybe I’m just imagining, that it’s a performance, but one she’s good at putting on. She’s not my blood relative and we’ve never lived in the same house, so we have to build our relationship step by step; of all the roles I’ve aged into, big sister is the one that I feel least able to perform effectively. I want to be a good role model, always available to listen, always ready to dispense wisdom, but I can’t. We’re separated by a thousand miles and my feelings of inadequacy. Watching her walk across the stage, cheering for her, and stomping my heels on the bleachers was one of the only moments I’ve had in the past year where I could show her how much I love her, and it didn’t feel like enough. This song — incandescent, fleeting, more guitar texture than concrete lyric – reminds me of her, or maybe of me relating to her. I hope she’ll be okay. Somebody tell me. Somebody tell me.

Reader average: [8.5] (2 votes)

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3 Responses to “Jay Som – Superbike”

  1. i didn’t get around to blurbing this because i spent like an hour trying to decide if it was really giving me 90s vibes or if the opening riff just inescapably reminded me of semi-charmed life to the degree that i kept half expecting to hear the doo-doo-doo-doos and then fell asleep, so thanks @ everyone who also heard this for belatedly validating me. (i probably would have given it a [6] but suspect it’ll either peter out of my awareness into a [5] or grow on me i to a [7])

  2. I have an ongoing HEY REMEMBER THE 90S Spotify list. This might go on it! I try to reserve for actual 90s samples and sounds, with one exception for that one with Hayley Kiyoko that samples “Where Is My Mind?” that I maintain is just as late-90s as it is (technically) late-80s.

  3. @isabel HOLY SHIT ME TOO, I didn’t blurb this but I would have said that exact song