by Tirhakah Love (@GoonTherapy)
Oscar Vega’s “Back” has all the structural components of a modern trip hop love ballad but the simplistic songwriting hinders it from becoming anything more. The Weeknd mercurial ascension convinced pop artists that trip hop is an easy entry into mainstream music. And while trip hop encapsulates a distinct period in popular music–one that highlights the ascension and significant contributions of producers beats/instrumentals–finding the sweet spot between lyrical mystique and minimalism has proven difficult (ex: Lana del Rey, FKA Twigs etc.)
Vega’s “Back” suffers from simplistic and contradictory lyricism, magnified by the stripped down sound canvassed by its producer, Mantra. Vega, in his refrain, “Let’s go back…Living tomorrow, today,” is a terse flagellation of the present without really characterizing the past he wants to go “back” to. This trip hop record, though stifled by a schematic structure and black and white lyrical stylings, is bolstered by Mantra’s atmospheric tones but not much else.