Toro y Moi Music Review – Boo Boo
Admittedly, as I type these words I haven’t even finished the album, but I’m resolute in my decision that Toro y Moi’s new album, Boo Boo, is the best since Underneath the Pine from 2011. Perhaps it’s because I love the pillowy 1980s pop sound that Chaz Bundick is so famously known for resurrecting back in 2010. Maybe it’s because it allows me to suspend reality and dive into my own imagination. No matter, listen to Boo Boo and try not to dance during your next commute.
Time out readers, “Inside my Head” just started playing, and I’m obviously taking a dance break. Why don’t you join me?
OK, I’m back…
Sometimes this album makes me feel like I’m watching the credits to an early 1980s movie. On the other hand, the eerie robotic sounds in “Pavement” are the perfect soundtrack to a grotesque time-lapse art installation in a modern art museum. “W.I.W.W.T.W.” literally had me looking out my window hoping to see the reason for the sirens.
Despite the array of sounds our ears experience on this album, two consistencies exist when you take your journey through Boo Boo (1) You must not be afraid of synth. You will hear it in great quantities. AND (2) You will feel closer to Chaz “Bear” Bundick. He admits to breaking down some walls and getting more vulnerable during this album.
Boo Boo was released on July 11, 2017. In anticipation for his eighth album since 2009, Chaz Bundick changed his name to “Chaz Bear” and increased his candor in interviews and conversations around this album. Not only did Chaz go through a bad break up, he found himself grappling with his own self worth. His intense work-ethic created a whirlwind eleven-year dream, and at the end of it, Chaz was left alone to understand his purpose, connect to his passion and find his own voice. (Read more about in his Pigeons and Planes interview)
Perhaps this is why Boo Boo doesn’t have the vibe of the typical “break-up” album. Instead, Chaz uses his influence of 1980s American and Japanese pop to create an album with lush, unique sounds from start to finish.
During my first listen, I could almost feel the space Boo Boo created, like it wrapped me up in a pop bubble where I could feel the sounds vibrating around me. After I finished my first listen, I started reading some reviews and articles about this album, and interestingly enough, Chaz talked a lot about space in this album.
“The artists that were influencing what I was making included everyone from Travis Scott to Daft Punk, Frank Ocean to Oneohtrix Point Never, Kashif and Gigi Masin,” Chaz said. “I recognized that the common thread between these artists was their attention to a feeling of space, or lack thereof. “
At the beginning of the album, Chaz captures us with the vocal-heavy anthems of “No Show” and “Mona Lisa.” However, in the middle, we get lost in the ambience; like an acid induced trippy dream, robotic sounds haunt every corner. Just when we think we can’t handle anymore, he drops “Girl Like You”, and we are drawn in again. We then rest in the reprieve between almost two much synth and just enough simple vocals.
I wouldn’t describe this album as prolific. I wouldn’t even say it’s experimental. However, Boo Boo is the perfect album to play while you’re working, cooking, commuting or even reading. In other words, it’s great background music to capture your attention enough, make you feel happy and then go about with your task. It’s too synthetic to be the background sound for conversation or a night with friends, unless, of course, your friends are robots and computers. Then you’ll be just fine.
What’s your favorite song from Boo Boo? Mine is a tie between “Mona Lisa” and “Girl Like You.”