Given their meteoric rise in popularity, the duo 100 gecs has often been described by music critics as ‘abrasive’ and ‘genre–crushing.’ But, at the heart of things, all 100 gecs want to do is chug a Monster Energy, make music they want to mosh to, and have fun.
Their debut album from last year, 1000 gecs, embodied this aesthetic, gave listeners insight on Laura Les’ and Dylan Brady’s tastes and influences while showcasing infinitely energetic and playful music. Now, after having been teased with 5 singles, fans have been gifted with a second round of infectious hits—including a dozen remixes and a handful of new tracks—on 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues.
Marketed as a remix album, 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues feels like a deep–fried sequel to 1000 gecs. That’s not to say there’s only more noise and grit; Tree of Clues also adds star–studded guest production, featuring members of PC Music, Charli XCX, and Fall Out Boy (among others). The record pushes nearly everything on the original album to sonic limits and genre extremes: it chops the original tracks up and injects them with a concoction of bubblegum bass, industrial rap, screamo, Europop, and happy hardcore to become something more than the sum of its parts.
“came to my show,” one of the original tracks, is an absolute highlight. A song about longing and troubled relationships, it equally inspires tears and dance moves. A pitch–shifted yet heartfelt sort–of ballad, Laura sings to her husband, appreciating his support throughout her burgeoning music career. The pitching and alteration of Laura’s vocals help bring out the emotional intensity as she sings “it hurts when you don’t… it hurts and it shows.” Immediately after, Laura flexes on the listener by mentioning her Minecraft skills, and then one-upping that in what’s quite possibly the hardest four lines in the history of music: "Do it big in the mine, like always / Do it big, gettin' diamonds like always / Grab my golden pick, and my golden axe / And my golden shovel, and my .40 mag." The emotional whiplash here fits in nicely with the aesthetic of the entire album, where dynamics, emotions, and instrumentation constantly (and intentionally) sway back and forth.
On the “xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx” remix, Hannah Diamond’s trance–like vocals complement Tommy Cash’s braggadocious verse over a pulsating, Europop–tinged beat, effectively enhancing the catchiness of the original. Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy gives the “hand crushed by a mallet (remix)” intro a rapid, energetic, punk rock feel. On “gecgecgec (remix)”, Lil West and Tony Velour deliver heavy verses that seamlessly transition into Laura’s grippingly moving outro over an acoustic guitar. “toothless” is a fan favorite that finally received an official release after its debut at Mine Gala 2019, a music festival held exclusively in Minecraft.
This album as whole, along with 100 gecs and their collaborators, represents an era of pop music that has reached some sort of inflection point, where people who grew up listening to music on the internet have access to all genres (regardless of obscurity) at their fingertips. Gone are the days of being exclusively a hip–hop head, a hardcore raver, or a nightcore fan. Thanks to gecs, we’re all of those now.
Maybe that’s what 100 gecs represent: they make music for those of us who grew up in a hyper–real world where the terrifying speed at which we’re fed information is directly proportional to the BPM of the music we consume. Or maybe it’s just music made by nerds who happen to love Hatsune Miku, My Chemical Romance, and Marshmello equally. Regardless, this remix album lets us take a look into the rising popularity of 100 gecs and the amorphousness of “pop” music.
While the timing of this release is a little unfortunate for fans eager to dive into the real–life mosh pit or hijack the party aux, it’s safe to say that these tracks will retain their popularity and survive quarantine. In the meantime, most of us will have no problem dancing alone in our room like there’s no tomorrow with the volume turned up all the way. And for the next time someone asks what a gec is, I don’t know. Dylan and Laura probably don’t know. No one knows, and we don’t care. But when there’s 100 of them, it’s bound to be a party.