Midwxst: Back in Action EP Album Review
Edgar Sarratt III started this year looking like a scared kid on the bus, unsure of what the future held. “I’m twiddling my thumbs, don’t know what’s coming next,” he sang hesitantly on the first line of “Final Breath,” the climax of his song. SUMMER03 mixtape released in March. The song’s playful emo guitar, throbbing digicore bass, and throbbing drum sticks captured the racing thoughts of the 18-year-old hyperpop escape; it was a wave of self-doubt that swept along at breakneck speed.
Sarratt (who goes by his name Midwxst), born in South Carolina and raised in Indiana, has become one of hyperpop’s most promising young people. A charismatic singer and producer with the ability to fully execute his vision, Midwxst has been adept at threading the needle between the Juice WRLD-style emo trap and bass-blasting maximalist pop in the 100 gecs lore, highlighting the indebtedness of the ‘hyperpop to Soundcloud rap in the process. While other ascending hyperpop bands like Glaive have already started tweaking their songs to the point that they don’t sound much different from, well, pop, Midwxst has pushed their sound in new directions (even after being picked up). by a big label). On his new EP, Back to action, he fine-tunes his streams and cuts down some of his noisiest output, all the while managing to capture the volatile energy that makes him such a compelling voice.
Midwxst always feels more comfortable on candy-colored beats that allow him to flex his inner nerd. Nowhere is this more evident than on “Tic Tac Toe,” which comes complete with Super Smash Bros. sound effects. and wacky lines like “I have that yellow on me like I’m Pikachu / And that choppa blows like it’s a flute.” Midwxst has never hidden the fact that he’s an excitable group kid who grew up on Roblox, and his best run with the kind of nervous excitement you get from landing the top 10 in Fortnite. “All Talk” ping pong on like Bubble Bobble marbles ricocheting off the wall, Midwxst skillfully alternating between his usual triplet streams and a gasping double-beat bridge, even dropping a house bassline in the middle of the verse as if it were nothing. It’s so much fun that you might not even notice the overwhelming doubt seeping into Midwxst’s voice halfway through the song: “Never come in class, don’t come in class; remember to hide from the classroom in the bathroom, ”he sang just for a moment before singing about getting back in the Benz for another ride. In Midwxst’s hands, his vulnerability becomes his greatest strength.
Momentum is the name of the game with Midwxst, and for the first two-thirds of the EP, each track slams into the next, increasing the dial more and more. A longtime follower of Pi’erre Bourne (especially for his keen sense of smooth track transitions), Midwxst is experimenting with a few Playboi Carti-style tracks throughout Back to action, some landing better than others. The “Star” produced by vvspipes and the “Slide” with Ericdoa exploit the same creepy, cringe-like model that Carti solidified on. Red Lotta Whole, a mode that suits Midwxst’s maximalist impulses well. The same cannot be said of “LA” and “Made It Back”, which are softer, TLOP-y synths let Midwxst dry, her effusive voice limited from being as punchy as it could be.
The EP kicks the door with a lot of energy, but in the end you can feel the inevitable sugar crash setting in. It’s refreshing to hear Midwxst firmly assert how fundamental Soundcloud rap has been to the soul and language of hyperpop, without losing the charming, open-hearted irreverence that made the genre such a breakthrough. At Back to action, Midwxst takes one step closer to mainstream, shaping current hip-hop trends to fit his hyperactive outlook. He may have started the year by twiddling his thumbs, but now he looks more confident than ever.
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