100 Gecs’ sophomore album evolves group’s sound

The duo’s 2019 debut “1000 Gecs” defined the hyperpop subgenre, but with “10,000 Gecs” the group heads in a new, punk and nu-metal inspired direction

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-In-Chief

Whether you love their music or hate their music, it is undeniable that experimental pop duo 100 Gecs’ 2019 debut feature-length LP “1000 Gecs” is a monolith of the genre. The album is so iconic and distinct that Spotify coined the term “hyperpop” to refer to it, as no proper way of labeling it previously existed. From that album, a craze surrounding hyperpop began, but, aside from the work of SOPHIE, most songs released under that moniker felt little more than cheap imitations.

Because of this, “10,000 Gecs,” the follow-up to “1000 Gecs,” has been hotly anticipated by experimental fans. After years of delays, the album has finally been released. While it may not be as iconic as their debut, it certainly shows a clear evolution, both from a songwriting standpoint and a production standpoint. 

Although experimentation makes their tracks unique, earlier releases by 100 Gecs were undoubtedly rooted in pop music. With “10,000 Gecs,” the duo has all but completely rejected this sound, instead opting for a guitar-heavy, punk and nu-metal adjacent sound. Some tracks on the album, most notably the song “Billy Knows Jamie,” sound downright like a Limp Bizkit song. Obviously, these tracks feature the traditional Gecs’ experimentation, with an emphasis on noise, but they definitely don’t sound like what most would have expected the album to sound like.

On the other hand, punk is a genre that the Gecs have long incorporated elements from, especially ska punk. On this album, however, the songs are downright ska punk, not just incorporating elements from the genre. Namely, the penultimate track on the album, “I Got My Tooth Removed,” is a ska punk song entirely, and features ska musicians, including Alex Csillag of Save Ferris. This song is my personal favorite on the album, just because of how fun of a track it is.

Fun is ultimately the best way to describe this project. Although not the most cohesive release, especially when compared with “1000 Gecs,” this album will make you grin from ear to ear, and even occasionally laugh. The album uses sound effects, typically taken from TikTok, within its production and also features multiple hilarious lyrics. Although the album is not a comedy album its lighthearted nature will probably inspire a sensible chuckle from time to time.

Another very positive theme present in the album is Les’ trans identity and growing more comfortable being publicly trans. Les has spoken about experiencing voice dysphoria and cited that as the reason for the earlier Gecs’ releases featuring a heavy auto-tune on her voice. With “10,000 Gecs,” however, that auto-tune has been scaled back drastically, which is wonderful to hear.

Her vocals are strongest on the track “The Most Wanted Person in the United States.” The track blends a synth backing with spring sound effects to create a unique beat, but the vocals are undoubtedly the strongest part of the track. Her vocals are also particularly strong on the album’s opening track, “The Dumbest Girl Alive.”

Brady’s vocals are also prevalent throughout the album, however, his vocals tend to retain the auto-tune effect from the earlier projects. This album in general is reminiscent of some of Brady’s solo ventures, notably his 2018 EP “Peace & Love,” a guitar-heavy project. Other tracks on the album, such as “Frog On The Floor” and “The Most Wanted Person in the United States” are reminiscent of Brady’s less overtly energetic songs from his 2015 debut solo album “All I Ever Wanted.”

Those tracks aside, this album is bursting with energy, it’s probably the most energetic musical release since “1000 Gecs.” In terms of energy, Brady and Les leave it all out on the court. Aside from the nu-metal and punk-sounding experimentation, the album does still have hints of the hyperpop flare, most notably on the closing track “mememe,” although even that track has heavy guitar mixed in.

I would be remiss to not mention another wonderful, energetic track from the album: “Hollywood Baby.” Hollywood Baby is, simply put, an amazing song. It is experimental, but compared to many tracks on the album, is relatively accessible. If the sound of 100 Gecs interests you but you aren’t sure where to start, this track is the one to listen to.

Another track mentioned earlier, that is accessible is “Frog On The Floor,” a ska punk-inspired dance song that is easily the quietest track that 100 Gecs have ever released. It is a somewhat silly song, but underneath it is a clear, emotional lyrical message.

That, in general, is the appeal of 100 Gecs. Many of their songs deal with heavy themes, but their music always tends to be upbeat and danceable, with a commitment to having fun and letting your emotions out through music.

This album is not for everyone, but if you’re someone who writes it off entirely or refuses to acknowledge the artistic merit of a project like this, you should re-evaluate how you view music. It is clear that 100 Gecs intend to make the music that they want to make, something that artists are rarely able to do while on a major label. The level of artistry in this project cannot be understated, and while it may never be as iconic or revered as “1000 Gecs,” it’s still better and more interesting than most people making music, and it may even be better than “1000 Gecs.”