Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is a textbook mixtape band. Their albums—as one whole entity comprised of individual song cells—present a pleasant albeit borderline-bland experience. And most of those individual cells, the songs, don’t stand much of a chance solo…except for those mixtape gems. SSLYBY’s latest, Fly By Wire has two of those.
Mixtape gems (for those of you unversed in this mystical existence) are songs from mediocre records that, when expertly placed in a playlist of much better songs, epically soar.
I wish The O.C. was still on—for many reasons, but mostly because music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas put insane knack to the ultimate test with its soundtrack. She yanked shiny cuts from otherwise meh records—The Vines’ “Ride,” Mojave 3’s “Bluebird Of Happiness,” for crying out loud Puddle of Mudd’s “Away From Me.” Now, who can name the albums any of those first called home? Alright.
“Loretta” is the first golden track. Upstroke acoustic guitar and cheerfully adolescent lyrics glide around the garden of ooh ooh oohs. Patsavas might’ve stuck it behind Ryan Atwood as he tried to attractively lay out a new J. Crew get-up over a $900 chaise lounge. Or perhaps it would bubble from Summer Roberts’ bathroom as she expertly applied Too Faced Lava Gloss Super Glossy Eyeliner. It’s poppy, adorable and heaves an empathetic high-school sigh. Ugh, teenagedom.
More sensitive and heartbreaking, “Bright Leaves” slings drama and feels over its proverbial shoulder, robed in Louis Vuitton’s initials and those little swirly things. The song meditates on mismatched religious affiliations in a relationship, but ignore that and you can apply to anything sparking romantic rumbles (perhaps you are two are just from different worlds). It’s soft, harmonic and heartbreaking—echoing actual The O.C. soundtrack pick Death Cab’s “A Lack Of Color.” You might need a hug now, am I right?
So I applaud the record, even if the whole thing isn’t world-upheaving. Those standalone tracks make it worth a whirl. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Creating an awesome song ain’t easy, and SSLYBY blessed us here with two. If I were to rate just those two songs as a sparse single and B-side package, it’d probably rhyme with the second syllable in “divine.” Which they are.
Perhaps next time we’ll see an album-packed with mixtape gems, but until now, we’ve got what we’ve got.