Get Refreshed: The Unreal World of zootzie, The Real World of glaive, and raegun Responds With Ease

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here

Cover by Nick D’Apolito

Preface: In Memory of Lucas Foster

This column is not the place for mourning, but it certainly is the place for memorializing. So much has been said about the impact of Lucas Foster – a beyond-exceptional writer who suddenly passed away this weekend – by so many others far closer to him; as a longtime admirer of his work, craft, and overall presence in the grander music blogging space, however, I feel as though I have a necessity to extend my greatest gratitude for what he was able to do during his short, yet remarkably resounding life as an equal-parts human being and master of their craft. 

Be it subconsciously or direct as can be, reading the work of Lucas whenever I could inspired many of the undertakings I went through in my much more active blogging days. He was the ever-true root that others, and even he himself, grew out of as this online blogging landscape blossomed more and more over time. By extension of this notion, it would be difficult to dispute that anyone shined brighter than he once reaching the surface of it all, and for that, we all owe him the proper respect and admiration for countless amounts of content that will absolutely never cease to exist.

zootzie: “myself”

Tell me if you’ve heard the following statements in any place at any time: “Zootzie created this shit,” “Zootzie is the most influential artist in the scene,” “Nothing would be the same without Zootzie.” 

The shared commonality of these types of statements and many others like them reveal the obvious: zootzie is an incredibly important figure. But I feel as though whenever people make these types of statements, they fail to fully grasp what they’re actually saying. Because zootzie’s forceful influence doesn’t just end at “creating a scene” or “creating other artists.” No, zootzie is far more than a “scene influencer” by itself; they are genuinely one of the most impactful, integral, and immensely important figures throughout the entirety of modern music; I have no issues whatsoever in making such a statement, I’m really that confident in it. 

And really, how could I not be? Their storied discography already backs this up beyond a shadow of a doubt, but if the music itself along with their image-based aesthetics don’t do it for you, their first foray into the world of music videos will convince anyone of the validity of such a statement. 

The video pairs with one of zootzie’s most resounding singles in the form of “myself,” and the surrealistic nature of said track is illustrated in one-to-one correspondence by its visual counterpart. With no set direction thematically, yet a crystal-clear endpoint making itself apparent from the jump, it’s a confounding piece of art in all the best ways imaginable. That sense of confoundment is certainly backed up by the CJ808-produced track itself, which sees both acts in their own right dazzling in ways only they could ever do.

Both elements combine to prove that a figure like zootzie isn’t just “yesterday’s most influential artist,” rather, they are still presently moving forward with a progressive attitude about them that absolutely surges through a video such as this. Pay your respects first, and send this deserving talent to the forefront of our current landscape immediately after.

Helix Tears [feat. emotionals + blxty]: “myself”

Editor’s Note: This week’s column features two separate features for two separate tracks both called “myself,” and this just occurred to me as I’m finishing up these final edits. Insane…

As far as the digicore landscape is concerned, no single collective can better lay claim to the title of “all-star team” than Helix Tears. Sure, rosters from the likes of Co-op, Graveem1nd, and more than a few others give them a run for their money, but it’s pretty difficult to compete with a group of over 20 members who have all made their presence known within the scene in one significant way or another. Plus, the blackwinterwells-founded collective has been around for quite a long time all things considered, and they’ve never fallen out of step in regards to their preeminent status over the scene itself. 

If not for their resounding cypher tracks that work to incorporate the best of each contributing member in one single place, tracks akin to the recently released “myself” would best represent what this group of talents offer from a stand-alone perspective. This track features a quartet from the roster – emotionals, blxty, Taylor Morgan, and 4evr (with Garden Avenue’s sittingduck joining in on production with the latter two) – who all display their own unique talents in a seamlessly constructed manner. 

They do so by crafting together a serene r&b-adjacent cut that sees its blissful production from Taylor, 4evr, and sittingduck matched in one-to-one correspondence by emotionals and blxty’s gorgeous sentiment-driven vocals. It’s a track that exudes just as much versatility as it does pure focus — a dynamic that the entirety of Helix Tears have come to master at this point. 

A Reintroduction To The Real World By glaive And Friends

Going to start this one off with something of a controversial statement: 2020 kinda sucked. Because I have no need to elaborate on that, let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment and delve into one of the only good things to arise from this infamous year — that being the rise of online-centric music scenes like hyperpop, digicore, and plenty more that surrounded them. While their rise was fascinating to no end, perhaps their only downside was the simple fact that these scenes had their growth affected in numerous ways due to physical limitations and restrictions alike that were imposed by the ongoing worldwide pandemic at hand. 

These barriers kept our favorite rising artists within these scenes to an individual basis, at least in a physical sense. Digitally, they were still as collaborative as can be; but honestly… that just made collaborations from a visual standpoint that much more desirable for us fans and admirers of their work and chemistry all the same. 

Well, with his brand new video for “detest me,” glaive finally gave us the moment we’ve been waiting for. The pop prodigy brought together the likes of ericdoa, midwxst, aldn, and others to create a momentous visual experience together for the 15-year-old’s latest outstanding single, and it’s almost too good to be true in seeing these artists all on-screen together as they are. Given that we’ve been ever-so-segmented by Discord channels, Twitter interactions, and FL Studio sessions, this was a necessary breath of fresh air, and one that I truly think we should all be so thankful for considering just how long it took to reach this point, not to mention the trials we had to endure to make it all happen.

raegun: “silver lining”

The description for rising teenage pop talent raegun’s latest single “silver lining” reads as follows: “they said raegun f*** it up sis!!! so i did.” For anyone else, this statement might sound a bit overzealous at the very most, and perhaps strikingly overconfident at the very least. But let it be said that, yes, this magnificent star-in-the-making did indeed fuck it up in this instance — a feat that’s nothing new for someone as consistently brilliant as she is. 

With this go-around, they’ve catapulted their pop prowess to its loftiest heights yet, all the while creating a downright addictive experience that has the potential to last a summer’s worth of repeated runtime; it’s that effective as a pure pop offering, plain and simple. It not only features one of the most memorable hooks that the entire digicore scene can call their own this year – what with its tried and true counting motif serving as its base – but also easily raegun’s most impressive vocal performance yet — one that sees their breathy output interlaced with clear-cut and smooth harmonies and other background embellishments alike.

These elements combine to prove just how promising an act like raegun is moving forward throughout this year and beyond. Only time will tell how quickly a track as spotless this will be topped, but one thing is for certain in that sense, and that’s the fact that it will happen sooner than we all might expect given how rapidly she’s been impressing with each successive release. 

Dada Continues To Do Everything Right

The concept of “versatility” is honestly pretty tired out at this point in regards to assessing songs and artists alike; it should be made clear, by the way, that this is currently being said by someone who is the most guilty of this problem at hand. I hope the reason behind it is more so attached to the exceptionally apparent trends of limitless creative freedom and exploration that online musicians have fostered for themselves today, and less attached to me being a lazy music writer. The more I think about it, I’m sure it’s a telling combination of both. 

That being said, can we please just push the cliches to the side and give credit to such an entirely diverse act like 1dada4ever? Because it really seems like with each distinct sound he takes on – of which there are so many at this point – they do so with such natural grace and effectiveness all the same. It doesn’t matter what the sound, style, or genre is, whatever is put on Dada’s plate in a given moment, he goes to work and eat it up in stride. 

Time and time again has he displayed this notion with his consistent output, most recently doing so with the forceful trap experience brought to life via “wraith.” This track features three straight minutes of exhilarating energy at the hands of Dada himself and the instrumental provided by the duo of venexxi and skfusion. Those two laid the groundwork, a fittingly intense one, at that, for Dada to embellish on via his striking combination of entertaining lyricism, engaging flows, and the captivating energy of a performer ready to rock an entire arena’s worth of fans. 

Now think about how such a description sounds — it comes off like Dada is all about this intense demeanor and nothing else. A further dive – and quite the shallow one all things considered – into his discography will immediately spell out the opposite viewpoint; this remarkably gifted creative is just as effective of an artist in the realms of r&b, pop, and other adjacent lanes as well. What does this mean for their career? It means that we’re looking at one of the best-equipped acts for modern superstardom in every single light imaginable. That day will certainly come soon enough for Dada, and it’s moments like these that prove the validity of such a claim.