By Karina Abbott
Toro y Moi’s album “Boo Boo” came out this July, and it was filled with some serious summer tunes. “Boo Boo” presents itself as a low-pressure and chill collection of songs, but the topics Chaz Bear tackles with his words are far from simple or easy to talk about.
After reading his interview with Nylon Magazine, I got a clearer picture of what was really behind this album and Bear’s sudden change in name. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have never been in a car accident, because they are undoubtedly common and terrifying. Bear divulges to Nylon that his friend and him were in a pretty bad one a while back. Making himself and anyone who hears “Boo Boo” to face the serious and important topics mentioned in it, stemmed from him “facing death”. His name change was also a result of that accident; he decided to have lasik surgery to fix his eyesight and didn’t feel like the same person without glasses. This album was about recovery for him, hence the name “Boo Boo”, it was a project where he could talk about whatever he needed to in order to get better, and it turned out to be the most in-depth, sincere album he has released.
It starts out with the low-key track “Mirage”, in which he says he just wants everyone to have a good time. That notion of wanting people to enjoy themselves, and not be stressed out, is one of the overarching themes. The juxtaposition, of that theme and the heavy stuff, such as love, death, career and money, confronted in his lyrics, is what makes this album so dynamic and fascinating. He wants people to “[try] to overcome certain fears”, but he doesn’t want the music to be stressful to listen to. The idea of making your audience think is not a new one, but it certainly feels more sincere from Bear than it has from other artists.
The album continues on with mellow tracks like “No Show” and “Mona Lisa”, two songs about disappointment in a relationship. It zig zags between topics until the break in the middle with “Embarcadero”, a calming instrumental track that leads into the two biggest songs off the album, “Girl Like You” and “You and I”. Two singles that are catchy in nature, but I think the songs resonate with people more than others because they are about love. Love is one of the reigning themes in “Boo Boo”; lost love, disappointed love, unrequited love, and the love we all strive for. “Girl Like You” is about trying to find the perfect person for you, something that many have attempted; whether they succeeded doesn’t matter, it’s a journey they’ve all experienced first hand. That’s what brings people back to this song. “You and I” is less hopeful as it is more of a break-up song. It talks about a person whose feelings have changed for some reason, and they’re not even sure why or how, all they know is they no longer love the one they’re with. Love is strange and dynamic and hard to understand; Bear makes that very clear here.
The album finishes out with some more contemplative tracks about being too in your own head about things, and trying to navigate complicated relationships. Finishing with a song like “W.I.W.W.T.W.”, which stands for What Is Wrong With This World, solidifies Bear’s motivation of recovery in writing this album, as it is a song about dealing with loss and learning to heal. I can’t think of a better way to heal, than making such a wonderfully beautiful and deeply moving album, such as “Boo Boo”.
Favorite Tracks: 3, 6, 8, 9, 11
RIYL: Mac Demarco, Real Estate, Beach Fossils