We are perplexed. The Tonemamas like to think of ourselves as pretty put-together, coherent humans who can form an articulate opinion just about anything, but again…this song perplexed us.
It starts with Frat Mouse, who are they? Their biography offers a one-sentence answer: “three teenagers from the San Fernando Valley who disappoint their parents.” We see. Not much there. Who/ what is “grant wasserstein” the title of this track? And why is it not capitalized? No answers available there.
And then the actual track: a short 1 minute and 32 seconds with only four lines of lyrics: “I don’t smoke anymore/ I don’t have time to play guitar/ I miss my friends/ I miss my room.” This is all we’re told. The music doesn’t tell us much more – it’s a simple acoustic ballad with guitars, emotive vocals and a very, very raw production. Raw enough that the Tonemamas usually would press skip, and yet we find ourselves pressing repeat over and over again.
Is it the laden innocence of a simple story about a couple of teeangers feeling nostalgic? Is it the effective use of a back-up crowd that mirrors an effect of a bunch of people singing with no worries around a bonfire of some sorts? Is it the lead singer’s mature and gut-wrenching tone singing what seem to be such frivolous lyrics?
Once again, we are perplexed. Moved, yes. Captivated, surely. But most of all…perplexed. In 2020 where our brains forget one thing after a minute after ingesting any piece of information, if an artist can nestle themselves so firmly in our brains, well…they did something right. Frat Mouse, you’ve won us as fans – perplexity and all.
Best listened to: Referencing our own visual listening experience, we suggest around a bonfire somewhere in the wild with a bunch of friends
Listen for this moment: 0:38 when the longing wails of a crowd mirror the lead singer…it haunts in a way we don’t understand but it’s strangely beautiful