Toro y Moi: Outer Peace Album
By Anahi Anaya
Toro y Moi, otherwise known as Chaz Bear, is an American artist who experiments with different sounds and produces a variety of unique albums. He recently released his sixth studio album, “Outer Peace,” and is receiving extremely positive reviews. Through a myriad of psychedelic and funky sounds, he creates semi-danceable music. Yet, with his negative lyrics and sad undertones, he juxtaposes the melodies and leaves listeners perplexed over what the album’s purpose is. When questioned about this by the website Illroots, he said “When it came to making this record, I was really just sort of thinking about who I want to talk to. I think something I realized was that I relate mostly to other creative type people who are sort of just dabbling in everything, not just one particular craft. I felt like that song was sort of the main theme of the record, of like wanting to connect with other people who have a creative goal. Some of the themes in the song are primarily about how technology can be a tool as well as a weakening to our creativity. We all just present ourselves to be a certain thing. Technology is no better or worse than actual life itself.”
His album begins with the hopeful song “Fading,” one of the first pieces he wrote after a short break. Although the track is about the unavoidable and gradual ending of everything, Bear reminds his listeners to have faith and continue working. This song is followed by “Ordinary Pleasure,” where Bear contemplates the effects of falling out of love, leading to meaningless pleasures and a bland life. The piece has a 90’s tone with playful and groovy sounds. Chaz Bear also celebrates failures and their role in personal growth, uniqueness, and character in his piece “Laws of the Universe.” This is followed by a collaboration with ABRA in “Miss Me,” a song about getting your love back. The following pieces are “New House,” “Baby Drive it Down,” and “Freelance,” consisting of psychedelic melodies and life lessons.
Chaz Bear goes more in depth with his difficult life as an upcoming artist in “Who Am I.” He talks about his issues with finding an identity or role in the world. He does not know who he is or who he is meant to be, if he is meant to be anyone at all. The song is reflective and vulnerable but has a beat that one can dance to. Next in the album is another collaboration where talks about wanting to cruise in a classic car, a completely different message from the previous piece. The song, “Monte Carlo,” features WET, another upcoming artist who discusses the boringness of public transportation and the desire to travel. To conclude his album, Bear collaborates with Instupendo for his song “50-50,” where both artists stress the importance of both their music and relationships. Bear says that he would die for his lover and his work, but that he struggles balancing the two. With this lack of balance he is doomed to fall.
Chaz Bear’s album is confusing but artistically clever. He uses the juxtaposition of sounds and lyrics to confuse listeners, furthering his point about the lack of clarity in his work and personal life. For Chaz Bear, life is essentially a confusing road, full of ups and downs, with no real direction. He expresses this concept throughout his pieces in a story-like manner. Today, he relishes in the success of his album and is looking to incorporate a greater diversity of sounds. Although he is most popular for his contribution to the chillwave movement in 2010 and 2011, he is expected to become a bigger part of the music industry and psychedelic world.