This really does feel like the album Toledo wanted to make all along. There will, of course, be some pissed off Bandcampers left unhappy by the changes made to their revered original, but that was always inevitable given the sheer impact this album has had on people over the past seven years. It only proves the point further. This is a special album.
The differences between the two versions tells a story in itself. The 2011 version shows a teenager desperate to tell a story by any means possible. The lo-fi production was a result of Toledo’s lack of resources that he now possesses thanks to signing to Matador Records a few years ago. But the difference lies in more than just the sound. The arrangements of these songs, their structures, and the way they integrate together is an improvement in almost every way.
‘High to Death’ is a particular highlight – the atmosphere required to project the correct amount of emotion in this song wasn’t achieved until this new production. The snippets of the little girl shouting “let me out!” – which the Genius annotation helps me realise has an even more heartbreaking meaning – sends shivers down my spine, as does the extended version of ‘Famous Prophets’ with its new solo piano section and agonising climax. Even the removal of some elements tells a lot about how seven years can make a difference: Toledo took away the infamous ‘galvanistic’ explanation on ‘Nervous Young Inhumans’ after realising ‘galvanistic’ isn’t even a word.
The high energy cuts are more fun than ever. ‘Bodys’ has been converted into a perfect indie hit with a full-on dance beat and precise build-up and pay-off – unsuspecting whiffs of LCD Soundsystem are present. And the rising synth progressions in ‘Nervous Young Inhumans’ paired with the 16th note hi-hat rhythm make it impossible to dance to. But there’s still an undeniable dejection in the chords and melodies that conjure some contradicting feelings as you move.
The Car Seat Headrest project resonates with people for its clever and painstakingly relatable lyrics, its grand ideas on how rock music should present itself in the current milieu, and its care about the important topics and lack of care in the insignificant parts of life. The notion of relatability in music is often limited by many people to simply the lyrics connecting with people – but from experience with Toledo’s music, to me it’s a lot more than that. It’s the crucial combination of the musical aspects of instrumental arrangement, emotion in notes and chords, and meaningful lyrics that really help a song speak to me. In the indie rock world, no one is doing this in a more significant way than Will is; Twin Fantasy’s lasting legacy throughout the past few years, and the new legacy its now-completed form will have over the next, will only help prove this.