on the right track: baths – plea

one of most pleasant surprises of the summer for me has been the debut album of 21 year old (soooo not used to artists being younger than me. when did that shift happen?) will wiesenfeld, aka baths. residing somewhere in the gray area between dubstep and chillwave, cerulean is a dreamier, sunnier alternative to his other los angeles-based, beat-driven contemporaries (imagine flying lotus’s cosmogramma if he came back down to earth). strong though it is as a whole, the undeniable highlight of the record, and a song i’ve been listening to nonstop since i heard it, is the affectionately, appropriately titled “plea.”

over a rewinding backbeat and brittle guitar line, wiesenfeld repeats his simple desire for someone to “please tell me you need me” with the kind of wobbly, achingly beautiful vocals that made those early passion pit recordings such a wonder. that this refrain is directed towards a man and punctuates such haunting declarations as “love, this is a dark world” and “we’re still not valid” renders it all the more heartbreaking, especially coming from an artist recording right in the thick of all of the prop 8 power plays and protests.

there are other songs on cerulean that seem to reflect this feeling of love defeated (see “♥”) and defiant (ditto that empowering “it take a lot of courage to go out there an radiate your essence” sample in “maximalist”). however, placing “plea” after those songs in sequence snaps them into sharper, sadder focus, packing the album as a whole with an even more poignant punch. even if such politically minded interpretation is wholly coincidental on baths’ part, that doesn’t take away from the track’s timeless sentiment or earworm melody. either way, “plea” only becomes more wrenching and wonderful with each passing listen.

hear it for yourself, then grab the rest. it’s a must have.

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