10,000 gecs: So many gecs, so little time

March 30, 2023

Courtesy of Michelle Groskopf/Pitchfork

100 gecs is back and better than ever. Following the success of their debut album 1000 gecs (2019), the hyperpop duo has unleashed even more gecs for their fans to enjoy. 9,000 more, to be precise. In 10,000 gecs (2023), Laura Les and Dylan Brady take their maximalist and absurdist sound to a whole new level, introducing bold musical choices to their signature style. 

For those unfamiliar, 100 gecs specializes in making the type of overstimulating, incredibly autotuned, boundary-pushing music that makes one feel like their brain is being marinated in McDonald’s Sprite. 100 gecs’s hyperpop satirizes the unstoppable barrage of digital noise that inundates us in this terminally-online age of information. In the span of ten tracks, the duo sings about everything from the dark side of fame to a tedious dental procedure, showing that no part of life is immune from being deconstructed by the centrifuge of excessive digital noise. 

Sitting at just twenty-three minutes, 10,000 gecs leaves the listener craving more but ultimately gets its message across, illustrating that brevity truly is the soul of wit. Each track is a vignette that’s been run through an endless array of auditory Instagram filters to create an end product so deep fried and distorted that its original form is practically unrecognizable. In a world full of anxieties over the role of technology and the internet, 10,000 gecs is an accelerationist thesis that takes terminal online-ism to its logical extreme. 

Because the album is so short, it feels like a breathless sprint. Right out of the gate, “Dumbest Girl Alive” sets the tone, blasting the listener with a metallic cocktail of blaring guitar, crashing drums, and screaming vocals. Les addresses emotional turmoil and provides societal critique colored by astute self-awareness and self-deprecation. Lines such as “put emojis on my grave” mock excessive internet usage, while “walk around like Frankenstein / I did science on my face” probes at the beauty industrial complex. Les aptly describes the unwinnable rat race that we are ensnared in when she delivers the lines “never ask me what I think / don’t know why you even try / ‘cause I always get it wrong / I’m the dumbest girl alive.” In many ways, “Dumbest Girl Alive” summarizes the duo’s mission statement: In a “dumb if you do, dumb if you don’t” world, why not say “fuck it” and flaunt every established rule of music by producing the most jarring, monstrous amalgamation of sounds possible?

100 gecs also shows off their versatility with the noticeably more mellow “Frog on the Floor.” The song starts with a calm melody from Brady that builds into a rich combination of syncopated rhythms and periodic piano glissandos, then slowly fades out with Les’ vocals. The driving percussion lends an air of bounciness, and the background instrumentation sounds vaguely like a chorus of ribbets, which is quite befitting of the subject matter. But this is more than a silly song about amphibians—it also touches upon deeper themes with lyrics such as “Give him some space, and let him do his thing / Make him feel safe, and listen to him sing,” reminding us to have compassion for ourselves and others.

No gecs album would be complete without some reference to breaking the law, and 10,000 gecs does not disappoint. “The Most Wanted Person in the United States,” a little ditty about murder, motor vehicle collision, and firearm possession, is underlaid with various springy and twangy sound effects. “I just killed Bobby, and then I ate his dinner / Then I took his car, and I crashed it in the rivеr,” Les brags. Don’t be fooled by the callous subject matter, though. The gecs manage to squeeze in some literary genius as well on this track with slant rhyme and multilayered wordplay—“Queen of California, hot like the heat is / Got Anthony Kiedis sucking on my penis” is downright poetic.

Other standouts include “I Got My Tooth Removed.” Dental surgery survivors and ska fans alike are sure to rejoice at this track, which sounds exactly like what the title suggests. “I tried / I brushed every day,” Les and Brady sing, showcasing the sad reality that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things don’t turn out the way you expect. “One Million Dollars” is two minutes of Les’ increasingly distorted voice robotically and repeatedly reciting the phrase “one million dollars” over a rapidly crescendoing background of noise. Stupidly simple subject matter, or class conscious criticism? You decide. 

100 gecs closes off strong with “mememe.” Lyrics such as “You’ll never really know, know-know-know, know-know-know / Anything about me, me-me-me, me-me-me” offer no explanation for the chaotic, whiplash-inducing album. Is the song a taunt to the listener, warning us to stay on our toes and not try too hard to intellectualize the jumble of autotune, synths, and guitar? We may never know what goes through the minds of Les and Brady—but that’s okay. One thing remains certain: The gecs remain ungovernable. 

Christine Ji
Christine is a senior in the MSB majoring in Finance and minoring in History. She harbors unhinged opinions on goldfish, Garfield, and The Strokes.

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