Way back in January of 2020 I came across a low quality live performance of 100 gecs’ “hand crushed by a mallet” in an Instagram post with Patrick Stump’s vocals singing the intro lines. As most people know, Patrick Stump is the lead singer of Fall Out Boy and at first I thought it was just a remix intended for the show, but I found out soon after that there was an official page for the song on the Genius Lyrics website. That’s when I found out that apparently 100 gecs were releasing a remix album of their first record, 1000 gecs, and honestly, I didn’t know what to think. “hand crushed by a mallet” is easily my favorite song off of their debut record and it’s one that I still listen to at least once a day. A short while goes by and I admittedly forgot about it but right before it completely vanished from my mind they released the remixes of “ringtone” and “gec 2 U”. At that point, I considered this Fall Out Boy remix a possibility but months went by and I still hadn’t heard anything. All I still had was a bootlegged version on Instagram.
But then comes July 2020.
Almost a full six months after I heard this initial snippet and a few other remixes, 100 gecs announces the official remix album titled 100 gecs and The Tree of Clues with remixes comprised of various artists, unreleased songs and live performances. I lost my marbles. Literally. I couldn’t believe it was actually real and I anxiously waited for the July 10th release date to finally hear the official version of the “hand crushed by a mallet” remix along with the rest of them. I stayed up until midnight, and to my dismay the album wasn’t up yet. And then my Spotify stopped working. To say I was bummed is an understatement; i know it sounds corny but I had waited so long for this and I just couldn’t handle the disappointment. As I was nervously refreshing Spotify and incessantly clicked the refresh button, the album showed up a few minutes after midnight and I got it to work. I click the play button as fast as I could.
The song was uploaded to YouTube as well and I read a comment saying something like how this song sounds like walking through all the stages at Warped Tour in 2011 and that’s probably the most accurate description. The song features not just Fall Out Boy but also Craig Owens and Nicole Dollanganger, with each part flowing seamlessly from the one to the other. As different as these artists might be, they all compliment each other very nicely on this remix and I don’t think it could have been any better produced. It opens up with Patrick Stump’s vocals singing “I was dying to find a way to kill time” paired with a simple bass backing, smoothly transitioning to Craig Owens’ heavier part with a metal inspired guitar backing. Nicole Dollanganger comes in after that adding a lighter touch to the middle of the song, before Craig Ownes comes back in to end the song off in typical pop punk fashion with heavy instrumental and screaming. Ladies and gents, it truly doesn’t get any better than this.
This song is one of the craziest things I’ve probably ever heard considering how tame my music taste actually is and this is something I probably wouldn’t even have liked just five years ago. I’ve found that experimental music is either boring or over the top and I’ve never been able to find the balance in between until I came across 100 gecs. And what I’ve found that really makes their music work is the structure of their songs, especially this one. Balance is the thing that keeps this song from like sounding like a jumbled mess where each part never lingers on for too long and each artist sounds like their genuine selves. Even thought they kept all of the original lyrics and melodies, and we still have aspects of the original experimental pop sound, there are also parts of this that sound like 2005’s Fall Out Boy, elements of Craig Owens’ upbeat rock sound and Nicole Dollanganger’s ambient and soft vibe. Many times with covers or remixes, the artist who is covering the song will try too hard to fit in with the original, thereby losing a semblance of their own originality. But this one is especially very cool because it avoids that catastrophe completely and it’s amazing to hear how it sounds like a little collage of each of these four artists. What I also find very interesting is just how well produced this is considering many artists struggle with the production aspect on their own songs without any features, while this one has three and doesn’t sound disconnected even for a second. That is not an easy accomplishment but 100 gecs makes it look so simple.
A few other remixes I particulaury enjoyed off the record were “stupid horse” with GFOTY & Count Baldor and “gec 2 U” with Danny L Harle.