Album Review: Various Artists - PC Music, Vol. 2
By Jonathan Fuchs, Music Director
[PC Music; 2016]
Key Tracks: “Super Natural,” “Hi,” “Broken Flowers”
PC Music is a label like no other. Founded in 2013 by producer A.G. Cook, PC Music’s roster is filled with sugary, experimental pop music that bends the aesthetic of mainstream pop through squeaky synths and glitchy, repetitive and high-pitched vocals. Even though they’re as serious as any other label, PC Music has never felt like one. Instead they feel almost like a movement, a sub-genre so hard to describe and recreate, they stick to themselves, as a clique blankly looking at everyone admiring them and their material.
Last year, the label released PC Music, Vol. 1, which, although at times was really annoying, was a great compilation, introducing every new listener with what the label’s top artists were all about. PC Music, Vol. 2 aims to do the same, but introduces some new artists and shows the label through a cleaner, yet even more experimental, approach.
Like the last volume, this compilation begins with the sweet, upbeat sounds of Hannah Diamond, who has two separate contributions to the album. Her first, “Fade Away,” is fun and catchy, but still pretty bland and overproduced compared to the rest of PC Music’s discography. Her second, “Hi,” is a far better track, featuring cute lyrics about middle school-esque romance and excellent production from A.G. Cook.
The standout artist on PC Music, Vol. 2 is hands down Danny L Harle, whose tracks “Super Natural” and “Broken Flowers” are incredibly catchy and unforgettable. “Super Natural” is the best track of the 10, with incredible vocals from Carly Rae Jepsen and in-your-face production that will immediately make you want to dance. “Broken Flowers” is almost like a Disclosure track made for a candy shop to play over and over again, with its sugary 90s techno sound and fun, extremely repetitive vocals.
The strangest tracks on the compilation are “Poison” by GFOTY and “a new family” by Felicita, which feel almost too experimental for PC Music. “Poison” hits you fast, feeling like a fight breaking out at a rave inside of a sketchy punk club. Its Aphex Twin-like percussion takes you by surprise, and the loud, chanted chorus “Drink it all up, drink the fucking lot / It was all a lie / I’ve been killing you all of this time” is haunting for a party track. “a new family” almost feels like a track made by The Body. The abrasive track covers new ground for the label, as it’s drenched in jaw-dropping screaming and excessively distorted synths. The two tracks are good, but don’t match anything the label has released in the past and feel odd.
With PC Music, Vol. 2, the label really screams to the public that they want to take themselves seriously as both a label and a movement in the world of experimental pop. All of this compilation sounds good, but it can sound a little too repetitive and underwhelming, especially coming from a label that feels so different from everyone else.