NEW WOW – New Man
by Jonas Polin (Cultural Anthropology/Theater), published May 6th 2017
Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!
Catchy. Not a word I use often, but it describes NEW WOW’s debut mixtape perfectly. I’ve had every single track stuck in my head at some point today, and that’s including the spoken interlude. Get your deliberately contrasting patterns on and pump this hyper-modern 2017 indie-pop mixtape into your ears.
NEW WOW is comprised of producer Murray Sandmeyer and vocalist Pam Stravitz, both current Northeastern students. New Man features verses from Julie Reina and wordsmith Joseph Kim, also current Huskies. Full disclosure: Sandmeyer is a close personal friend, but no friendship is strong enough to make me listen to a mixtape nine times in a day if I don’t want to.
New Man starts off with a bang with “Can’t Remember Anything (feat. Joseph Kim).” In a standout among standouts, NEW WOW paints a picture all-too-familiar to college students: waking up hungover after a blackout in an unfamiliar location. The repeated titular chorus pitches up and down, evoking the haze and time dilation of the morning after a wild night. The production is melodic with a steady beat but switches up frequently and without warning, letting you bob your head along while also sending it spinning. Kim’s verse is emblematic of his carefree yet precise approach to wordplay. “Can’t Remember Anything” is an excellent start to an excellent mixtape.
With New Man, NEW WOW successfully executes the delicate balancing act of making a mixtape that is equal parts cutesy and badass. In “Last Chance,” Stravitz sings, “If you break my heart, you will die” with the most angelic of intonations, and the subsequent gunshot and scream are easily missed if you don’t listen closely. The mixtape’s production shows its PC Music influences with its rapid-fire treble while evoking hip-hop with its aggressive percussion and solid bass. New Man heavily features vocal modulation, which, to quote Sandmeyer, is “a very 2017 touch.” NEW WOW embraces the now with open arms.
New Man is definitely a mixtape, as opposed to an EP or LP. Some of the tracks feel unfinished, as if they needed a bit more tinkering. The super-cute “Be With Me (feat. Julie Reina),” for example, feels like it has all the makings of a standout track, but it ends abruptly after just over a minute. Additionally, NEW WOW definitely could have let loose a little more. New Man is a solid debut, but it feels a bit pastel at times. The delightful bonus track “Give You Up” sounds like it’s just a few steps away from going full gabber at times, and I wish it had.
All in all, New Man is an impressive first mixtape. There’s room to grow, but for now we can all enjoy blasting it alone in our rooms and dancing in our underwear.
Recommended Tracks: “Can’t Remember Anything (feat. Joseph Kim)”, “Be With Me (feat. Julie Reina)”, “Give You Up (Bonus Track)”