I don’t know a single thing about music theory.
Sure, I played viola in fourth grade for six months and I did choir in high school, but if you held a gun to my head and asked me to define “chord progression” or tell you what a “syncopated beat” is, it would be the end of me.
I’m a simple man: I hear a funky little sound, I listen to it nonstop for three weeks, I forget about it. One such sound I discovered in 2018 that I’ve yet to shake is an instrumental band called Polyphia. They’re phenomenal, and I would like to recommend them to anybody with ears.
According to their Wikipedia page, they are progressive rock, math rock, funk metal, progressive metal, and electronic rock.
As a total layman, I don’t know what any of that actually means. But going by a layman’s understanding of those terms, metal is too angry to be accurate, prog rock is too reminiscent of dad music, and math rock doesn’t really indicate what the music will actually sound like.
Instead of attempting to describe the vibe of Polyphia’s incredibly varied discography
— a futile task — I’m going to pluck out a few song recommendations for any mood you could possibly be in.
If you want to hear something that sounds explicitly and supernaturally evil, check out “G.O.A.T.” It’s an overtly religious tune. It’s music for Hell’s waiting room. It’s a demon’s theme song. Judging by the music video, this was the goal.
If you want to sound like you’re heading into Bowser’s Castle while you’re on your way to class, give “Look But Don’t Touch” a listen.
If you live in, say, Colorado, and want cool video and audio to play in the background while you hang out with friends to celebrate Earth Day, check out “The Worst.”
If you want to watch the band’s grandma-sonas have an old-fashioned tea party, but with alcohol instead of tea, interspersed with shots of a grandma shredding it on guitar, check out the music video for “40oz.” It’s par for the course for Polyphia’s music videos to not have anything to do with the sound or song title. It’s also normal for the videos to not make any sense at all.
If you like words in your music, listen to “So Strange (feat. Cuco),” which has a repeating little chunk of lyrics. People who know music terminology might call it a chorus. Or maybe just a repeating verse. I don’t know the difference.
If you hate songs that don’t make sense, perhaps the only song where the title, sound, and music video are thematically consistent is “Nightmare.” Take a wild guess as to what it’s about.
If you’re tired of Lo-Fi Chill Beats to Study/Relax to, but want something to put on when you have to get 200 pages of reading done, check Polyphia out. They have hip-hop, they have more metal-y sounding songs (not a fan), they have pop, and they have whatever the fuck their latest album, “New Levels New Devils,” is doing. “Saucy” is a good representation of whatever the fuck “New Levels New Devils” is doing.
If you’re looking at this catch-all picture I’ve painted and are wondering what such a musical amalgamation would sound like, there’s one way to find out.