Friday, March 6th, 2020

100 gecs ft. Charli XCX, Rico Nasty & Kero Kero Bonito – Ringtone (Remix)

At last, something we can all agree on…


[Video][Website]
[6.00]
Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Chaotic Evil ft. Chaotic Good, Lawful Evil & Lawful Good.
[8]

Brad Shoup: Please know that, due to my age and disorder in which everything sounds like pop-punk, I’m treating my delight in 100 gecs with extreme suspicion. The worried bruise of the original “Ringtone”‘s bridge finds its double in Rico Nasty’s gleefully conflicted verse. Sarah Bonito tries to sneak in a horror short, Charli chirps like a phone that’s never going to voicemail. I feel like I’m listening to The Geometrid. I keep waiting for T-Pain, the human ringtone, to show up.
[8]

Oliver Maier: I am slightly self-conscious about how much I like this, given that it is such blatant fan service for a) 20-somethings who frequent the main trifecta of [x]heads music subreddits b) Twitter stans who rabidly demand “COLLAB”s from their faves c) Anthony Fantano (only one of these applies to me). If the existence of this remix somehow precedes an uptick in collaborations between Extremely Online™ musicians then I can only hope that they all be so well-executed. The “Ringtone” remix is both wilder than the original and shockingly coherent, I think because all three performers tap into the most elemental versions of themselves. Charli’s verse and perfect delivery of an already-great hook would be at home on the cartoonish Number 1 Angel, less so on her moodier self-titled. Sarah from KKB revisits the uncanny children’s-show-presenter flow that characterised the group’s breakout project and then subsequently vanished. Rico is just as berserk as one would hope. 100 gecs is objectively a very silly project, but the care with which this remix — a clusterfuck on paper — is structured into something both logical and extremely listenable only demonstrates how seriously Brady and Les take their tomfoolery. The gecs are among the best to emerge from the post-PC Music boom because they so firmly reject the parameters of good taste and make redundant the tiresome question of whether their intentions are cynical or sincere. You don’t make pop music this brilliant and unselfconscious without pouring your heart into it.
[9]

Katherine St Asaph: The other day I read a thinkpiece about, among dozens of other things, how Billie Eilish was corporate bullshit and 100 gecs were wholesome DIY outsiders, despite the gecs at that point having already signed to Mad Decent and producing tracks by the likes of Slayyyter and LIZ. There is so much Discourse like this, and it all makes me so, so exhausted. What about one collection of sound waves (or Bacon-Sheeran number, or accumulated total of bar hangs with hypebeasts) makes it morally bankrupt, while a near-identical collection of sound waves remains morally acceptable? Why do these transgressions somehow fail to exist until the artist’s reached the bad part of the hype-backlash cycle? On “Ringtone” 100 gecs are even less distinguishable from their supposedly watered-down peers, not to their benefit. Like PC Music, it’s a tinny, chintzy track, only vaguely about the cutesy tweenage thing they reference (surely a ringtone would sound like General MIDI, not this). The rapping sounds like Lady Gaga’s “Christmas Tree”; the Charli XCX part sounds like every other Charli XCX part in the past few years, i.e. my least favorite incarnation.
[2]

Leah Isobel: Making actual pop music demands legibility and the sacrifice of gecs’ usual chaos, but this remix manages to keep their interplay of melodic sweetness and noisy menace intact — see Laura’s charmingly polite request for Charli to sing the chorus again before the song nosedives into the “Click” outro. It’s like Owl City corrupted with a virus, and it slaps.
[9]

Vikram Joseph: I have some questions for the girl asking Charli to sing the chorus again, because we did *not* need that chorus again. “Ringtone” was a pleasant bit of nonsense at 2:20, but padding it out to almost four minutes with guest vocalists (of whom only Rico Nasty sounds vaguely engaged) is a good way to siphon away whatever charm it had to begin with. Sometimes… things that are expensive… are worse.
[4]

Jibril Yassin: The rare example of a posse track that succeeds without removing what made the original so great. Let’s put 100 gecs in charge of pop posse tracks from now till infinity.
[8]

Alfred Soto: Despite the riot of credits, “Ringtone” is closer to a poor 2010 Ke$ha album track. Ringtones? A decade later? The beat sounds like the creators stole it from a Bush-era Nokia.
[4]

Alex Clifton: Our featured players here are the highlight of the song, bringing liveliness to a beat that would otherwise be too glitchy for me. And yet after a while it has the same effect that a phone ringing for two minutes does: slightly annoying, loud enough that you can’t ignore it, but too muffled in your bag to find where it could be. Please note my score is expressed in gecs instead of points.
[5]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: It’s too long and labored over, lacking the giddy charm of the original because the voices are too straightforward. It’s fun seeing all these artists on the same track, but all this does is prove that 100 gecs is even more singular than we may have initially thought.
[3]

Tim de Reuse: 100 gecs don’t work nearly as well for me on such low energy, and their usual reckless abandon appears to have been reined in here so as to elevate the presence of their high-profile features. That, along with the nearly four-minute runtime (about twice as long as a 100 gecs track ought to be, by my measure) gives this the character of a listen-once joke. To be clear, it’s a delightful joke.
[6]

Ian Mathers: Absolutely better than the original (and “Money Machine” for that matter), mostly because it no longer sounds like Big Dumb Face trying to adapt to modern trends. But it does make me wonder if this is what the people who didn’t like Charli’s work with PC Music felt like they were hearing.
[5]

Jonathan Bradley: 100 gecs let the lil homies ride on us; it’s like showing up to gecsCon — surely a real thing that could exist — with a grocery bag full of Monster, weed and money, and discovering in astonishment that other people like this band too. (One infamous afternoon, I played 1000 gecs for my office; they were distraught, but I since found out I converted at least one co-worker.) So everyone in this PC Music Khaled lineup tries hard to do their best gecs, with Charli leaning into the lovestruck cutesiness, Sarah Bonito trying to channel the uneasy relationship with technology, and Rico summoning the unearned confidence. But although the elements that original gecs Dylan and Laura stick together sound familiar, their sound is a singular one: A.G. Cook and co. are too deliberate; Black Dresses too consumed by the horror and anxiety around them; Ayesha Erotica too singleminded; Brokencyde too scene. The best part in the remix is when Laura Les asks Charli to sing the chorus again, doing more gecs in one line than anyone else could in three verses. It turns out there’s something particular to this mish-mash of pop enthusiasm, hypermodern tension, and shitposting that is not easily replicable. “You just copy everything we do,” Laura once chirped, prophetically. “If I wasn’t me, I’d copy me too.” There’s only one gec, even when there’s 100 of them.
[7]

Kylo Nocom: You know, all that matters is that they had fun.
[6]

Reader average: [4] (2 votes)

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