Willie Reviews Remington Super 60’s “Fake Crush”

Willie Reviews Remington Super 60’s “Fake Crush”

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Norwegian indie pop group Remington Super 60’s new single “Fake Crush” twists maudlin pop into a real emotional release. Here’s RPM’s review:

The infectious retro cool of “Fake Crush” feels like a product of the ‘60s by way of the ‘90s. This makes sense, considering Remington Super 60 started in 1998—in looking backward for their primary influences, they found a hippie style, which itself distorts the straight-laced attitudes of formal romance. It’s around this time each year that we force those kinds of fossils back into popular life. The sentimental songs before the late ‘60s carried the baggage of process and order, a grab bag of emotions. By playing with those tropes, we get to see what happens when courting tunnels inward, uncomfortably. The unhurried but achingly passionate sound remains hard to fake, but “Fake Crush” falls into the niche easily.

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The enjambed line structure of the lyrics supports a breakage between personal experience and formal retelling. Rupturing this key element makes the song’s lyrics malleable, multipurpose, and evasive of a romantic truth. As a nod to the bare-bones feelings expressed in a romance, the melody slides up and down on single syllables, using the smallest possible units of construction. Breaths separate these sounds into irregular fragments, so we hear “I got a fake crush / on you and I / don’t know / what I should do.” It’s not so much about a subtle changing of the meaning (there’s little possibility for that in the lyrics), but it adjusts the spill of the sentence. “On you and I” falls out quickly, while “don’t know / what I should do” gets more time.

Around this accelerating and decelerating narrative, the guitar and bass sway between two chords, always in a calm holding pattern, supporting the whims of the vocals. This is the shell of the song, one that allows the listener plenty of space to dig out a nook for themselves. The dreamy bent is the only part of the style that the 1960s couldn’t have helped with. What could be confused for an obscuring gesture is instead one that gives the track its central energy. Pushing back against clear sentiment, the haze surrounding the story renders it believable and honest.

Christoffer Schou and Elisabeth Thorsen of Remington Super 60, photo from Christoffer Schou.

And while it’s definitely a dreamy trip round and round, it has its moments of unmistakable decisiveness. After the second repetition of “I close my eyes / I see your face,” the speaker says “and you’re so beautiful.” This humble line briefly lifts the song into a major feel. It’s a fleeting feeling, but one legitimized by the chord changes around it. A similar thing happens between the two-part phrase “it feels so warm, but still so cold.” Whether a tongue-in-cheek emotional thrashing or a real expression, it colors each phrase with an obvious smile or frown.

A clue to this track’s ambitions comes in the bookending fade-in and fade-out. While the latter is an appropriately vintage production technique, fading in and entering in medias res gives the impression that this song will keep kicking indefinitely. The boundless edges help it out, placing it nowhere in particular and allowing it to take place wherever and whenever we imagine.

Score: Using tracing paper on your eyelids to copy down all your memories.

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