Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

Bill Wurtz – Here Comes the Sun

Doo-do doo-do…


[Video]
[6.58]

Alfred Soto: Not a Beatles cover, I said, relieved. The addled joviality of Bill Wurtz’s vocal attack takes getting used to, though. I like the whirling dervish of an arrangement: discrete keyboard squiggles, triangle tinkles, a hint of woodwinds. If Of Montreal recorded music for kids’ YouTube channels, it might sound like “Here Comes the Sun.”
[7]

Joshua Lu: “Here Comes the Sun” retains the idiosyncratic, quirky sound design typical of Bill Wurtz’s videos, riding the line between avant garde and shitposty. Random noises are plopped around — a pluck of the harp, jazzy drum riffs, the clink of a single piano key. These little effects reinforce the scatterbrained nature of the song, from the winding structure to the nonsensical lyrics, but it’s all dampened by a flat vocal delivery that only sounds weaker over the course of the song’s four minutes. 
[6]

Rodrigo Pasta: Miniature worlds of objects that shapeshift as you settle in. Mini desks running around dazzled by the purple-orange-green-hazy-rose-tainted light. Bill Wurtz, seated in one place, yet in another one, at a 134° angle, and he’s gonna jump. Absent for 2 years, having learned “new technologies”, “Here Comes the Sun” feels like bursting into an old friend’s apartment — except “bursting in” actually means stumbling through the door and becoming a heptagon. What a wonderful way to set the stage; those drums have become thicker, rougher. “All day and all night”, says the voice coming out of nowhere in the mix, “we lay about and wonder what we’re go nna do“, kicking you in so you break along. No idea is good enough to be fit into one song, but maybe all ideas are good enough to be part of the same piece? His escalating piano, his triangle signifying sadness, hums (“nara num nummm”), the glistens of light during the word “sun”, the appropriate rage in “raging” (“and it’s RAGing onn”), “Deep in the city, oh yeah!/The buildings wonder if they’ll ever be built” coming in like a freight train. No pessimism hanging around long enough to be outshone by that sun, that may or may not be hand drawn. No synth is ever good enough to be used for more than 5 seconds. Every moment feels like a gateway to something else (“there’s no stranger straaange enough” is a world in and of itself). If Bill’s music shows anything, it’s the juxtaposition of meaninglessness being given a reason by the context around it. “Stop! Time’s up!… Is it really over?” is plain on paper, but when the first half of that sentence takes the song to a halt, and the second half goes through 8 chords, it’s an invitation to a conversation. Is it really over? How could we know? The song doesn’t care; it’s moved on to the next best thing! My favorite part? “And I can’t explain the way that I’m feeling”, and instead of trying, he proceeds to hum it! And he won’t even commit to that and starts a sentence halfway through! (“Dumdumdum dumdumdumputit into words…”) Preparing the launch: let it rip; “send it all over the woooOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRLLd!”. Euphoric. A lightbulb on top of your head, and everyone can see it.
[9]

John S. Quinn-Puerta: I just don’t know if this works or not. The little ornamentations that made videos like “History of Japan” soar feel rococo here, like decoration for the sake of decoration. The lyrics are overly sentimental, matching the flourishes. But knowing Wurtz’s work, that may be the exact point.
[4]

Samson Savill de Jong: Bill Wurtz makes weird music. I can never quite figure out if he makes weird music because he’s trying to be weird, or because he’s just like that. His chords are weird, his lyrics often feel like complete non-sequiturs or like a set of mad libs, and his accompanying videos have so many effects exclusively designed to throw you off balance. In spite of, but possibly because of this, Bill Wurtz can make music that has a lot of depth hidden in it. His glorious return leans more towards a song with depth than one of his ones which are straight up strange, but it’s better for it (even if I haven’t completely figured out what it all means yet). In some ways, pretty much everything you’d expect from a Bill Wurtz song is here, but he exists in his own little pocket dimension that nobody else is really living in, so he can afford to hit the tropes and still end with something unique.
[8]

Katie Gill: Wait, this is the History of Japanstill a piece of garbage” shitpost guy! Which honestly makes this song a conundrum. It’s got the same tone as some of Wurtz’s earlier Vines and shitposts, and the whole piece feels like almost the EXACT same aesthetic as “still a piece of garbage.” Are we supposed to take this seriously? It kind of feels like we’re supposed to take this seriously. But if that’s the case, why does it feel like an extended version of all the stuff we WEREN’T supposed to take seriously?
[5]

Jeffrey Brister: Bill Wurtz’ best work has a dense core of earnestness underneath the irony and silliness, and this one is no exception. “Here Comes the Sun” is what he does well, amped up and supercharged: the video is in 3D, his soft-rock flourishes are livelier and more colorful. His chord choices have the sort of off-kilter movement of someone like Louis Cole, another master of humorous and retro-inspired music with a big streak of earnestness. This one just hits in the right way, throwing so many sonic details and lyrical flourishes to keep me fascinated and listening over and over.
[9]

Anna Katrina Lockwood: This new song from Bill Wurtz bizarrely reminds me of a couple of the songs from Dirty Projectors’ fairly impenetrable 2005 rock opera “The Getty Address“. Of course, Bill Wurtz’s vocal tone is a lot more palatable than Dave Longstreth’s melismatic yowl; Bill fosters immediacy and warmth where Mr. Longstreth aims to estrange. That this complex, twisty, multimedia narrative has even a semblance of approachability is truly the greatest of Bill’s considerable gifts. Almost equally as impressive – these preposterously lengthy melodic phrases are legitimately catchy, almost shower singing material. An improbable, admirable, and enjoyable piece of art, if not exactly a casual listen. 
[8]

Thomas Inskeep: Goddamn if this isn’t fascinating. Although “Here Comes the Sun” is a smooth-ish jazz record, Wurtz adds weird computer blips and burps, occasionally veering onto the shoulder before steering himself back onto the roadway. The song’s lyrics, meanwhile, talk of the sun “raging on,” which wouldn’t seem to jibe with its overall tone, but on the other hand makes a kind of sense with the song’s off-kilterness. Is Wurtz just a weirdo? Is he pulling our legs? Is this supposed to be some kind of conceptual art project? I don’t really care. “Here Comes the Sun” is sticky and sticks with me.
[8]

Tim de Reuse: Wurtz’s music has always been inexorably tied to his animations: little bite-sized snippets of ambitious extended harmony and flashing colors that looped and looped and brought joy to the internet at large even before “history of japan” and “history of the entire world, i guess” went mega-viral. After over a year of apparent hiatus, he’s back with his longest song yet, attached to a high-detail, low-poly fever dream. The tune and the video flit joyfully between ideas, riding on his trademark all-flourish keyboard solos and tinny drum samples, and that’s all well and good, but beyond the unmistakable impression that it was created by Bill Wurtz, what does this tune, in particular, have going for it? Like all of his work, it begs to be replayed to extract quotable moments, analyzed for blink-and-you-miss-it easter eggs, broken into gifs and and meme-ified; but in trying to force this beautiful mess into a “real” song, with an overarching goal and a coherent structure, his incredibly dense style can only confuse the result; this is a problem I have with a lot of his longer works, but no previous song has been so un-bite-sized as this one. It’s a good tune — I’m just saying it should’ve been, like, thirty tunes.
[6]

John Pinto: At one point in her 2020 memoir Uncanny Valley, Anna Wiener notices a resemblance between contemporary literary fiction and the social media newsfeeds that effusively praise it. She describes novels that “themselves had a curatorial affect: beautiful descriptions of little substance, arranged in elegant vignettes — gestural text, the equivalent of a rumpled linen bedsheet or a bunch of dahlias placed just so.” There are plenty of comparisons you can draw from Bill Wurtz’s latest stop/start symphony — Brian Wilson’s modular approach, a fragmentation of David Byrne at his sunniest, or maybe an evolution of the Vines that made me and everyone else who came of age in the back half of the 2010’s evangelize “History of Japan” — but Wiener’s cross-discipline comparison is it for me. I can enjoy some gleeful maximalism, and with so many things getting thrown at the wall you’re bound to enjoy at least something; in my case, the little keyboard run around the 3:10 mark. But then I close out of YouTube (because Wurtz’s music, let’s be honest, is reliant on the visual in a way that demands you watch the music video in lieu of just playing the audio) and the only impression left is Wiener’s closing observation: “Oh, I would think, turning the page. This author is addicted to the internet, too.”
[5]

Frank Falisi: If we had access to this song in eighth grade, Andrew definitely would have put it on the Birthday Mix, which is the mix we were supposed to listen to while we played Mario Party 2 on Andrew’s birthday. The song would would be followed by “Handlebars” by Flobots. I haven’t seen Andrew in a long time. I hope he’s doing pretty okay. He’d like this song.
[4]

Reader average: [7.83] (6 votes)

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