Cut Through The Noise: Tyler, the Creator, Phoenix, Clairo, Metallica


Modesty Manion

Welcome to “Cut Through The Noise,” an entertainment column from the St. Louis Park Echo covering new music releases. Every week, a different Echo staffer takes on the role as writer, reviewing recent single releases from a variety of artists.


Tyler, the Creator — “DOGTOOTH” ★★★★★

Fair use from Genius

“DOGTOOTH” was the first song released from the deluxe version of Tyler, the Creator’s 2021 album, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST,” called “CMIYGL: The Estate Sale.” In the lyrics, Tyler talks a lot about his respect for women and his love for the women he was in relationships with. He sings, “I don’t want nothin’ in return, except for some her time and all her love, that’s my concern,” a truly endearing line about his passion for his partner. He also touches on how a woman’s sexual past is not important to him, and how many men criticize women’s bodies while they themselves don’t take care of themselves. Tyler additionally discusses the importance of family to him, with the line, “If you don’t know my grandma name, then we ain’t really dogs.” The song itself is a bit different from some of the other songs on the album, to me, sounding closer to the vibe of “IGOR.” It doesn’t have the bossa nova feel that many songs from “CMIYGL” have, and both the vocals and background vocals are akin to those of his 2019 release. There is an emphasized piano throughout the song, an element found in many Tyler songs throughout his career. Overall, this song sounds a lot like Tyler’s past work, which is why it works so well. Tyler effectively applies important topics to his classic sound, which produced another great song.


Phoenix, featuring Clairo — “After Midnight” ★★★★☆

Fair use from Genius

Before listening to this song, I had never heard of the band Phoenix. However, when I saw that their new single, “After Midnight,” had a version that featured Clairo, I knew I had to give it a listen. This song is very poppy, upbeat and summery, making the listener want to get up and dance. To me, it sounded a lot like a song from Coin, HUNNY or any other indie pop band with that similar vibe. “After Midnight” is also similar to an 80’s pop song (specifically “Modern Love”  by David Bowie), with a fast tempo, ‘A-ha’-like drums and a vintage-sounding guitar riff. Clairo’s vocals mesh well with the singer from Phoenix’s, and her solo in the second verse allows her talent to come through. Clairo’s soft voice juxtaposes the fast, in-your-face melody, but in a way that works really well. The lyrics of the song are pretty figurative, with short lines that are a bit hard to decipher. From what I can tell, “After Midnight” is about overwhelming feelings that come from reliving a past relationship. Phoenix and Clairo sing, “Enough said, enough sense, it’s unconventional, when the sun is almost gone, it’s not enough,” evoking the feelings of realization one might get when they realize a relationship is over before they’re ready for it to be. They’re thinking about how things used to be, before realizing that it’s all over. This feeling is conveyed in the line, “That’s what we’re like in broad daylight, soon, you’ll realize it’s after midnight.” Despite the sad lyrics, “After Midnight” is a fun song that definitely deserves a listen.


Metallica — “72 Seasons” ★★★★☆

Fair use from Genius

Metallica’s “72 Seasons” is one of four songs released prior to that of their upcoming album of the same name. Metallica is a thrash metal band, and this song is a good exemplification of that label. In my opinion, “72 Seasons” is a typical thrash song — it’s good, but it’s nothing mind blowing. I am a relatively new metal listener and by no means do I claim to be an expert on the genre. Although, as I have listened to a bit of the thrash big four (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer), I have a general sense of what this type of song is like. The introduction of the song is interesting, with a fast background guitar and crashing symbols underneath a distorted lead guitar riff. Then, the song breaks into a more combined, fast paced version of the intro. There are three main melodies present throughout the song, which transition back and forth. Each varies in intensity, speed and guitar riff, which aids in keeping the song from becoming repetitive. There are three guitar solos that break up the song, with the third being my personal favorite. The vocals of James Hetfield are aggressive, but again, nothing atypical for a thrash metal song. “72 Seasons” is a whopping seven and a half minutes long, although there are many Metallica songs that are the same length or longer. The lyrics seem to be about how the protagonist is coming from a place of trauma and anger, and is having trouble coming to terms with their reality and their future, which they begin to realize has been predetermined for them. Overall, while this song is not Metallica’s best, nor the best of the singles from “72 Seasons,” I do like this. I appreciate the interesting transitions and cool guitar solos.