The modern age is full of the mundane, all too easy to tumble through life in whatever way is most convenient, catered by algorithms and, since the outset of COVID 19, protected by four walls most days. When there’s nothing new under the sun, songs like “CHIPS” feel all the more pertinent.
“CHIPS (ft. American Teeth)” begins with the sound of a button being pushed, quiet static filling space before near-accidental synth keys break the hum and usher in the song itself. It’s a small detail but is immediately reminiscent of the nostalgic tech of the 90s and 2000s, full of clicks and clacks and electric signals. Its absence in the song’s breadth following is almost missed, much like the simplicity of those older times now long passed. Royal & The Serpent’s wearing cooing covers youthful romantic iconography- lockets, strands of hair- like a plane lazily passing over fields full of abandoned houses. Her delivery is sparse, shining with slight autotune, somewhat removed yet never unfeeling. “CHIPS” feels like the often memed depression of the modern era in its sleekness, its coziness within the technological boon of the aughts that so dominates normalcy now somewhat stale in comparison to what could be.
Espousing this notion more clearly, the chorus repeats, “This life’s a sitcom, play pretend / Spend your money, say you love me / Let’s just kick it, kick it ’til we’re dead.” American Teeth’s dynamic and well-utilized performance fleshes out these sentiments even more: “When the medication tastes like hell / I’ll be there to save you from yourself again.” The song often feels like a love letter to finding connection within the depressive nature of the collapse-centric themes of today, and its aching acoustic guitar and stop-start drum patterns help capture this sonically in delicate beauty. If visuals are your cup of tea, the music video is also delightfully gruesome- depicting Royal & the Serpent and American Teeth in full zombie makeup wandering through suburban squalor.
Words can do so much to describe a song, but this is certainly one to be felt. Luckily, it’s out now and streaming everywhere. Go on and give it a listen.
Review by Bobby Guard