Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Planet 1999 – Party

I just wanna go back, back to…


Kylo Nocom: As the PC Music manifesto expands internationally — people refer to music as “PC Music-inspired” far more than they use the now-antiquated “bubblegum bass” moniker — the label itself seems to be the least important part of its movement. Planet 1999’s dreamy Yumi Zouma-esque musings would have been a complete anomaly in 2014, free of any irony or noise. It also would’ve been one of their best: the rudimentary drum production, gentle synth plucks, and stuttered vox are handled with finesse. “Party” hints at prettier things ahead for a collective that’s evolved into something far more important than would have been anticipated when they were seen as pretentious sophisticates.

Ian Mathers: I loved my first listen of “Party” so much that I needed to know more immediately. This led me to an interview where the band’s Alex, when asked to describe the “hallmarks” of their sound, simply says “A minimalistic shoegaze loop with over-processed vocals on top of it” and I’m not sure I have anything to add to that besides that I can’t remember the last time a description that appealing to me actually translated into the kind of song that description would make me dream of. For what it is, it’s so simple and stripped back (as is “Spell” now that I’ve looked that up), that having no complete words on the chorus is actually kind of genius.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: PC Music’s own take on Hatchie’s “Stay With Me.” The chorus’s vocals are nothing but cut-up babble, but better for it; “Party” makes a case that imagined nostalgia is the most blissful of all.

Leah Isobel: “Pitch-shifted Britney Spears fronting Cocteau Twins” is a proposition squarely aimed at my pleasure center, even if Britney would sound more present.

Thomas Inskeep: Their name is Planet 1999, but this sounds much more like 1993 to me: those drums could’ve been ripped straight off a Curve record, and the aural aesthetics on display are very Future Sound of London. The singer’s vocals are very shoegazy, to boot, albeit with a pop edge, like if Kylie fronted Pale Saints. A curious, compelling listen.

Katherine St Asaph: I assume the “1999” in the band name refers to how the instrumentation, particularly the drums, sound like a MIDI you downloaded off Tripod? If the snippetized vocals are an anachronism, the flat affect and dream-pop lyrics are more of one. ’90s bubblegum pop about partying was not nearly this chill or tasteful. Have you set foot in an S Club party? Boarded a goddamn Vengabus?

Alfred Soto: Singing the melody in a falsetto and acting as if the drum program doesn’t exist produces the right effect, but the tinkling keyboard devolves from an irritant to an active menace. I’m not sure what era Planet 1999 evoke — nothing in 1999, 1991, or 1986 gouged my eyeballs like this.

Brad Shoup: My estimate is dream-pop Paula Abdul, but a lot of those Abdul singles made you do the heavy lifting too.

Alex Clifton: It’s good, although it does feel a bit in love with itself. It also hits a point for me where I really can’t differentiate the sounds and vocals around me and it all blurs together. I can’t lean into that mix, though; I just feel neutral, which is not a great sign for a song called “Party.”

Will Adams: Doesn’t sound like a party, doesn’t particularly sound like 1999, but what it does sound like is PC Music’s standard approach of throwing reference darts at a nostalgia board and stopping there. (Floppy disks! Edutainment CD-ROM style graphics! A Furby!) Dream-pop that hits those wistful notes of youth-passed-by already exists, and, more crucially, it doesn’t sound this wooden.

Juana Giaimo: I enjoy the dreamy atmosphere of “Party,” but although it is less than three minutes long it feels too monotonous. There is no risk — not even the vocal manipulation in the chorus can make an impression.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: A nothing song wrapped in enough gauze to briefly fool you into thinking it’s wistful mood music — the vocal chop on the chorus serves mostly to hide that it’s not a catchy melody even when it’s not cut up.

Jibril Yassin: Quaint but dripping with energy and wrapped up in a post-vaporwave blanket, “Party” makes sweet of a fraught, uncertain future starscape. What separates it from similar efforts that use an ’80’s playground of sound is its ’90’s optimism and naivety: a combination that succeeds even if it looks strange on paper.

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One Response to “Planet 1999 – Party”

  1. In Korea, producer ??? and her various superlative retro synth pop projects https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Liah0NIQxeU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W50T9G-O7gU

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