Gallatin sophomore Chris Bottone recently released his debut mixtape “The Disappointing Tape” on Feb. 2, under the stagename Hi, I’m Chris. Joining the collective of artists who publish their work online for free, Hi, I’m Chris introduces the world to his music through Soundcloud.
His extended play grabs the attention of listeners much like the basement attracts the ignorant victims in low-budget horror films –– you know that something bad is probably lurking, but you simply can’t help yourself from a little exploration. “The Disappointing Tape’s” cover art depicts Bottone slumped over in a dormitory bathtub, and although off-putting at first, the visual works with the self deprecation aesthetic that Hi, I’m Chris curates. So click the play button and let this journey begin.
The inaugural seconds of the opening track “Front Porch Steps/EIEM,” which features a tired, uninspired ukulele, set the stage for what will be a vocally rough and rhythmically challenged extended play. The flow of Bottone’s spoken word seems unrehearsed and unenthusiastic, which furthers his irreverent I-don’t-care-what-you-think vibe heard throughout.
We eventually say goodbye to the ukulele, and the big production takes over; here, there is an immediate shift. Bottone does not suddenly gain the vocal capabilities of the late Whitney Houston, but rather he becomes more creative with a sudden shift to a more upbeat and fun production.
Bottone experiments with eerie harmonies. “The Disappointing Tape” transitions from purely apathetic to somewhat optimistic with wandering synth lines and bouncing beats.
However, the lyrical content does not align with said optimism. At first, the narrative of the songs seem to portray a longing for acceptance and companionship, but our protagonist, Bottone, instead turns to substance use and an eccentric, newfound admiration for pineapple soda.
Of the four tracks that make up “The Disappointing Tape,” “Penny Loafer Blues” is by far the most impressive. For one, the song title is creative. The chorus intoxicates our ears with a nonchalant too-cool-for-school attitude, and the production is reminiscent of a Khalid meets Quinn XCII wannabe –– meant in the most endearing way possible.
Choosing to listen to a mixtape with a name like “The Disappointing Tape” is the epitome of jumping into uncharted waters with either eardrum deafening sharks or sultry, songstress sirens. But Bottone’s extended play leads to a different underwater grotto.
Although the vocals are rough at times and the lyrics may come across as one large pity party, the production is lighthearted. Bottone’s ability to experiment with his voice and unique concepts and themes give “The Disappointing Tape” a major Sour Patch Kids vibe –– first, it’s sour, then it gets sweet, but when the sour comes back, you kind of like it.
Kudos to Hi, I’m Chris for “The Disappointing Tape’s” originality and accomplishing one of the more obscure, individual sounds right now on Soundcloud.
Check out Hi, I’m Chris’s new single “I’m Not” here.
Email Michael Muth at [email protected]