100 gecs’ eclectic brand of hyperpop burst onto the scene in 2019 with their debut album 1000 gecs, and they haven’t looked back since. Their music has always been confusing and polarizing to listeners: Is it utterly amazing or stupid? However, their take on hyperpop gained respect when they found enough artists who believed the former and agreed to collaborate on the remix album 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues, which featured stars ranging from Fall Out Boy to Charli XCX. Three years later, they returned with their sophomore album, 10,000 gecs.
Image Credit: Atlantic Records
Their signature sound is alive and well on the album, but this time, they’ve thrown in influences like ska and nü metal, expanding into new genres while maintaining their core ethos. On “Dumbest Girl Alive,” 10,000 gecs opens with perhaps one of the most iconic sounds of all time, the THX intro, and then launches into a riff reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” The hard rock and metal influences introduced here continue to resurface throughout the album. “Doritos and Fritos” features slap bass and a hair metal-style guitar solo while also being one of the catchiest songs on an album full of earworms. In “Billy Knows Jaime,” they used their new influences, creating arguably the best song on the album. On paper, a song exploring the trauma of school shootings with a Limp Bizkit-esque soundscape and glitchy death metal breakdown just shouldn’t work, but somehow, 100 gecs pulls it off. The macho ethos associated with the nü metal style
heard on most of the song plays into the misguided masculinity of the titular “Billy,” while the death metal breakdown captures the chaos and trauma associated with violence. Another standout is “757,” which adheres more closely to the hyperpop sound they perfected on their first album. It also seamlessly integrates a sample of a TIE fighter blaster into its beat.
100 gecs’ music often teeters on the edge between inane and profound. They often hit the mark but occasionally fall short on this album. “I Got My Tooth Removed” is a tiring blend of a sappy ballad and Offspring-reminiscent ska punk. The central joke of the song is that it is a breakup ballad about a tooth, but the joke is revealed before overstaying its welcome. The ballad sections lack the sincerity required to pull off something melodramatic, and the ska sections evoke the cringe-inducing factors of The Offspring but without any of their redeeming qualities. Similarly, the central gimmick of “One Million Dollars” also wears off quickly. There are only so many times you can hear a robotic voice say the song title.
Despite its occasional missteps, the album works well. Most of the time, the lyrics provide a perfect mix of humor and commentary—only they could pull off a lyric like “Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, mosquitos / I’m eating burritos with Danny Devito” on the same album as the social commentary of “Hollywood Baby.” Most importantly, though, it’s simply a fun listen. There’s something to be said for the pure childlike abandon of “Frog on the Floor” and the goofiness that you’d expect from 100 gecs on a character study entitled “The Most Wanted Person in the United States.” And, of course, there’s the aforementioned “Doritos and Fritos.” Does anything need to be said about a song that starts with the lyrics “Okay, I went to France to get some new pants”? So that brings me to answer my initial question—is their music so stupid it's amazing, or is it just stupid? Although a few moments fall flat, this album hits more than it misses, making for a chaotic, fun listen with occasional glimpses of profundity.
Connor Henry is a freshman in the SFS.