On Sept. 27, Marc E. Bassy released 14 new tracks on his album “PMD.” The Bay Area singer-songwriter’s first independent album follows his departure from Universal Music Group this past July— a record label famous for representing top artists, including Drake, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift. Bassy started his own label, New Gold Medal, under which “PMD” was produced and distributed.
Infused with hip hop beats, smooth R&B melodies and heartfelt lyrics, “PMD” is an ode to this generation’s lack of connection. It features a myriad of artists, including blackbear and Mozzy, and balances themes of love, sex and loneliness in the context of a rapidly evolving and technologically wired modern culture. “We live in a world where everyone is more connected than ever but feels more lonely than ever, and that’s just the interesting thing to explore,” he wrote on his website.
The album opens with “Jump for X,” a melancholy collaborative piece with Syrian singer-rapper 070 Shake that verbalizes the internal doubts Bassy faces as a member of his generation. “You thought the kids that were raising these new blocks / Would change the world, be the brains, let’s walk by 2Pac / Instead, we talk about nothing but these ooh wops / Chasing bread only focused on making the crew pop,” Bassy declares, chiding the modern meme, social media and pop culture trends as evidence of modern youth’s faltering potential. His sharp words are superimposed over a somber piano melody, which is later accompanied by a deep, electronic synth beat once 070 Shake begins her featured verse. Overall, the song is a candid awakening to what Bassy wants his listeners to take away from “PMD”: his perspective on the plights of young people today.
The album continues to unpack Bassy’s experiences with love and contemporary relationship norms from multiple angles.
“NASCAR,” currently one of the album’s most-streamed tracks on Spotify, draws a metaphor between a passionate lover and a fast car. “Fast car, she a NASCAR for me / Always wanna change-up sides / Ooh, baby girl, gotta slow down / Before we drift off too far.” Bassy playfully teases the subject of his adoration while conveying the thrill that she brings. The warm, electronic beats exude an aura of a blissful summer, and the lighthearted, evocative lyrics immerse the listener in a rose-tinted narrative, almost as if they are in the car, riding right beside the enamored couple. These optimistic and catchy features serve the song well in skyrocketing it to fan-favorite status.
In “Crash and Burn,” Bassy is again speaking to a lover, but this time coaxing her to join him in falling apart. Bassy builds anticipation by detailing multiple references to the pastimes he and his lover enjoy as their relationship disintegrates. “You the fire, I’m the smoke / I been sippin’ from the bottle / I’m a little too faded...” he sings in one verse, later adding, “Blacked out every time that you kissed me / It’s the way we can repeat history.” These hazy but sultry anecdotes eventually culminate in Bassy’s declaration: “Girl, we got some dangerous minds / Every time we bring them together / Nothing can take us off this ride / Maybe we’ll crash and we’ll burn together.” The electronic ad-libs and clear guitar melody coalesce in a relaxed and mellow vibe, thereby masterfully expressing the casual nature of the relationship.
However, “Where We’re From” stands out. In this piece, Bassy fights for his lover to stay, as he pensively laments his unrequited feelings in a solo serenade. Set in a smooth and sensual R&B slow jam made complete with background accents by a reverb guitar, the song’s musical ambiance is the most stylistically unique out of the otherwise high-tempo tracklist.
Throughout the album, Bassy’s vulnerability and passion emanate from the dynamic acoustics in every song.
In both the themes it tackles and the musical elements it incorporates, “PMD” is a complex, multi-layered product that reflects Bassy’s contemplations during a transitional phase of his career.