It’s a prison inside my mind.
Fuck, 2016 is weird.
Part of the reason I kan’t bother keeping with the Kardashians is that, unlike other socialites, reality show messes and famous-for-being-famous cultural curiosities, no one in that family has really tried dabbling in music (yet) like a Paris Hilton or a Courtney Stodden or a Heidi Montag — aside from Kim Kardashian‘s “Jam (Turn It Up),” which remains ahead of its time.
When Kylie Jenner debuted the Spring Breakers/”Bitch Better Have My Money”-ish trailer for her new lip glosses at the beginning of April, I was distracted: not by those lips, nor the glosses themselves, and not even because of the “like literally so cute” moment — but the hypnotic, stuttering Kiiara-jacking song accompanying Kylie and her troupe of bad bitches and their glossy vengeance.
Conveniently, the song popped up on Soundcloud the day before: “3 Strikes,” by something called “Terror Jr.” A brand new group with minimal visuals and an air of mystery that just so happened to launch the same day as this commercial? At first, blogs buzzed that it was Jenner herself doing the sing-talking, like a flashback to the pre-Bionic panic of iamamiwhoami possibly being Christina Aguilera. (I’m still sad it wasn’t.)
If that was truly the case, I was fully ready to stan hard for Miss Jenner and get a King Kylie tattoo or three. But no, sadly, ’twas not — well, maybe.
As it turns out, Terror Jr. is a “dream pop supergroup” signed to producer Felix Snow‘s Effess Records, featuring a mystery singer named Lisa. The group is backed by the same producers (Snow and Campa) who work with Kiiara. Therefore, the whole Kiiara-biting sound makes a lot of sense. Then again, we still have no idea who this “Lisa” is, so…technically, it could still be Kylie Jenner? It’s not…but it could be. (It’s not.)
Anyway, this song! At first, I thought maybe I’d be over it quickly, but…nope. I listen constantly, still — it’s got that effortlessly cool, endlessly repeatable appeal, a blend of Kiiara’s “Feels” (my other favorite new-ish song) and The Weeknd in a dark, gloomy, trap-tinged downtempo haze of feelings and drugs and sex and torture.
Lisa — IF THAT’S EVEN YOUR REAL NAME — sounds like a detached robot, strung out and stretched across the chilly synth sounds. In fact, it’s possibly what I’d want a Blackout follow-up to sound like in 2016. (In my world, it always comes back to Britney — know that.)
Luckily, “3 Strikes” isn’t a one-shot deal: the mystery group returned with a more bubbly concoction called “Sugar” last week, another trap-lite serving of hi-hats, finger snaps and breathy, chopped and screwed vocals that stutter and speed up at random, all layered on top of a loop that sounds like an adorable anime character trapped in the machine.
At heart is a seemingly cute enough tale: “Sugar in my eyes / I think I’m gonna take the flight and come see you / And we can kick it ’til the sunlight.” Not sure if “playing in the snow like it’s Colorado” is a reference to, uh, another kind of snow. Actually, is this whole song about drugs? Unclear, but it — along with “3 Strikes” — sounds like we’re listening to the future.
So thanks for bringing Terror Jr. to us, Kylie Jenner. I, like, literally love it.