• Zim Ahmadi

[TRACK REVIEW] 'Hollywood' - Car Seat Headrest

Hollywood gets a bashing by Car Seat Headrest’s post-punky tirade


The music video is animated by Sabrina Nichols

GENRE: POST PUNK / EXPERIMENTAL RELEASE DATE: 16 APR 2020


Although most of their prominent work has gained a large cult following due to their lo-fi aesthetics, Car Seat Headrest’s single ‘Hollywood’ shows more clearly than ever that their horizons are much broader. In fact, all of their latest singles have shown that (except for maybe Martin). And if you listen to their album, Making a Door Less Open, which is already out, you’d see an array of influences come together in a way that makes me think of Postal Service but wilder on the electronics. But I’ve only listened to Make the Door Less Open once and I’m not finished with the review for that yet. I still wanna talk about this single though. I think ‘Hollywood’ is a great centerpiece to represent Car Seat Headrest’s transformation, mainly because it’s slightly janky, but pairs up the scathing lyricism well with some new sounds for the band. Although Hollywood is not the danciest cut in the album (with other tracks more anthemic for Will Toledo’s new look which now includes a gas mask and a Hazmat suit), it’s definitely the band at their most overtly irate. The robotic delivery of the lyrics alternating with grating shouty vocals about the darkside of Tinseltown is the embodiment of the bipolar nature of the new Car Seat Headrest. It comes off amazing to me, as Will Toledo angrily dismantles the eponymous exploitative fantasyland (“Hollywood makes me puke” will be a lyric that will stick with me for a while for just being the right amount of ridiculous). He said in a press statement: “There’s this terror you’re going to lose the fantasy, and you’re going to have to face the facts, and some people will do anything to avoid facing that. It’s about that fear and the pain of being subjugated to someone else’s fantasy against your will, and it’s all tied together under this banner of this physical location of Hollywood that we all know about and dream about, but none of us really want to think about what is going on behind the scenes there.” It’s not just the subject matter of the song that’s enticing. For a pretty straightforward guitar riff, the instrumentation is freaking catchy. There’s a lot of sass in here that’s filled with the kind of stream-of-consciousness performance that keeps things interesting, (“You got a face that you think//Will last as long as the sphinx”). The song gradually becomes darker with the last verse pointing towards Hollywood’s paedophilia scandal. ( (“12 year olds on pills waking up in beds with big producers/I can make you famous/I can make you something”). The whispered bridge is a great break before the song runs on its post-punk engine yet again. ‘Hollywood’ is also reminiscent of some of the tracks from Twenty One Pilots's latest album 'Trench', so I kind of get if some people think it’s a little too self-indulgent or superficially edgy. But I think the substance that Will Toledo brings to his songwriting still shimmers through this new sound. Making A Door Less Open is out now:


RATING: 4 / 5


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