Friday, March 20th, 2020

Car Seat Headrest – Can’t Cool Me Down

Cool cool cool cool cool cool, several doubts, several doubts


Alfred Soto: I’m not sure what’s happening here: are CSH testing the equipment? Keys? Check. Microphones plugged? Check. Are we in tune? Kinda.

Oliver Maier: “Can’t Cool Me Down”‘s effectiveness at any given moment is pretty much directly proportional to how layered the mix happens to be. It shimmers here and there, but falls flat every time Toledo opts for starkness, which is sadly very frequently. Is it intentional that a song about performance anxiety sounds so naked? Probably. Is it intentional that a song with this title exudes no heat? Probably, yeah. Does that make for a particularly good listen? Um.

Ian Mathers: There’s still something resonant here, just not much of a song per se. When CSH has worked for me in the past, it’s really worked, but it seems like that was a marriage of the emotional/lyrical stuff with a songwriting knack that seems temporarily (hopefully?) busy here.

Ryo Miyauchi: Will Toledo brings back so much of mid-00s indie rock that should’ve been left behind when that decade turned anew. The preppy dance beat is so plastic like a keyboard demo, and the cheapness of the music makes his awkward horniness come across even creepier.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: There’s nothing that’s exactly bad about “Can’t Cool Me Down,” but something feels off– the change of scenery from nervy guitar rock to washed out, broken synths works, but Will Toledo’s lyrics feel vague where they once burned with specificity. The hook still breaks through the haze, and the bursts of chopped up guitar at the songs end pairs well. Also the piano sound is really similar to the one on the new Lil Yachty, and I don’t know what to do with that.

Vikram Joseph: Part of the charm of Will Toledo’s distinctive muscial persona is the duality of his instincts towards both ironic detachment and deeply earnest expressions of feeling. His last release as Car Seat Headrest, the 2017 re-recording of Twin Fantasy, tended more towards the latter, but “Can’t Fool Me Down” never really lets its guard down. Toledo’s lean into electronics manifests as a low-key anxiety hum rather than fireworks, sounding at times like a dysthymic Talking Heads and devolving into fragmented ambience towards the end. Still, for the first truly new Car Seat Headrest material since 2016 it’s a muted statement. At least it offers us the chance to play “is Will Toledo talking about that one time he got high again, or something else?” once more.

Kylo Nocom: Ever since Car Seat Headrest transitioned from lo-fi bedroom-prog one-man-band to increasingly-obnoxious indie-prog group, I’ve been pretty concerned about where Will Toledo was going to take this project next. Their next album’s been branded as a complete artistic renaissance of Car Seat Headrest as a project, concerning given the recent trend of budding Vernons and Longstreths adding synths and Auto-Tune to tunes that otherwise would have been completely unremarkable. Thankfully, Will Toledo has more unique ideas with what to do with his new direction. Unfortunately, that new direction feels as skeletal as a Mario Paint song.

Tobi Tella: Despite the title, it doesn’t feel like it heats up for a while. Never unpleasant or not relatable, but I wish it grabbed my attention more.

Reader average: [4] (3 votes)

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