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100 Gecs is Changing The Musical Landscape (Whether You Like It or Not)

A closer look at the effect 100 Gecs has had on the music industry through their experimental style.
Photo by Povar211 is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Since their debut in 2019, 100 Gecs have been seen as the pinnacle of irony and peak meme culture. Their brand has always been to repurpose the scraps of dead sub-genres generally deemed as “corny.” The death of popular musical trends, which can be prompted by the decline of a genre’s respective trademark artists, over-saturation, or a combination of both, leaves only hardcore fans to salvage anything left. Because of a genre’s newfound “corny” status, many fans who stick with it refer to it as a guilty pleasure, usually forming a sort of cult fan base.

The peer pressure of reforming popular customs is something that plagues anyone and everyone; music is no exception to this. After the release of 100 Gecs’ debut “1000 Gecs,” a short, yet beautiful disaster of memes and resurrected genres, the reputation of the duo stood as an inside joke. Their image dwelled in irony, marking anyone who finds any genuine enjoyment as a target of ridicule. However, after their big break on TikTok, I’d soon find myself in that same boat, wondering why I wanted to embrace their hypnotizing chaos. After all, according to Laura Les of 100 Gecs in an interview with The Guardian, “We’re not doing this to be ironic. The opposite resonates as really true.”

Rock im Park by Stefan Brending is licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Though I could aimlessly ramble about the deeper meaning of a song called “stupid horse,” let’s be honest; the cacophony that is 100 gecs isn’t for everyone. The intro to their debut, “745 Sticky,” features obnoxiously giddy autotuned chipmunk vocals that lead into a full-out dubstep drop at the end. If that’s someone’s first impression of 100 gecs (which is for most people), that alone might be hard to swallow.

Despite the mixed reputation of 100 Gecs, however, the quality of their artistry shouldn’t be overlooked as “ironic.” In fact, I’d argue the duo is pushing the envelope and defying popular culture as a whole.

For most artists, it would be counterintuitive to revive something that most people wouldn’t voluntarily listen to in the present day. To give an example, “Billy Knows Jamie” is, perhaps, one of the most faithful 2000s inspired tracks on their project “10000 Gecs,” a revived monster crawling out of its grave to lay waste and destruction with its nu-metal, Limp Bizkit-esk sound. “money machine,” their big break that would blow up on TikTok, is an homage to 2010s campy pop that wore its flamboyant personality on its sleeve, mixed with modern-day trap and distortion coming from the depths of an unforgiving beast.

In the end, none of this should work — yet, as of Sept. 15, 2023, they’ve amassed over 1.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Even if this fanbase is a niche, the size of their following is enough to say that they’ve started a movement. Despite every possible odd working against them musically, their influence is felt and changes pop music as we know it. Their existence alone is a rebellion against societal norms, let alone their overwhelming success. So if it works for you, it works. If it doesn’t, it probably never will. But while 100 Gecs isn’t for everyone, the way they’ve changed the musical climate and the perception of it is indisputable.

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About the Contributor
Evan "Gummy" Ochoa, Specialized Journalist
Evan "Gummy" Ochoa is a senior at CHS who's in their 5th semester of Journalism. Gummy finds passion in dissecting pieces of art, specifically music. In their spare time, Gummy is an artist themself, producing, writing, and composing their own music under the moniker GVMMY, as well as plays in a jazz band as a drummer. Other hobbies include being a camp counselor, doing DJ gigs at private events, and recording music with other local artists.

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    River RountreyDec 14, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    I unironically love 100 Gecs