Cheap Cuts ft Pete Wentz, Check Your Phone
Pete Wentz’s emo poetry – those were the golden days. The monologues that would pop up angstily at the end of Fall Out Boy songs, bitter vocals over dark, clinking instrumentals, the pinnacle of the 2000s. The golden days have made a shining return, in the form of Cheap Cuts’ collab with Wentz: Check Your Phone.
Far from the melancholy passion of FOB’s spoken word sections, Check Your Phone is set over a rattling dance beat, complete with a cheerfully pulsing bassline and a jaunty brass section. The track is irresistibly boppy, an airy, humorous ode to modern life, iPhone sound effects jutting out, sitting in contrast to the big-beat style electro-pop backing – and Wentz’s vocals set the whole thing off to perfection. Where once his very voice was synonymous with dark, sideswept fringes and black biro scrawlings, on Check Your Phone, he’s luminously lighthearted. CYF is a glorious ball of self-deprecating irony, and Wentz’s delivery is suitably stoicly humorous.
The lyrics are pure gold – they’re so self-aware, their on-the-nose realness is so sharp it’s somehow funny and despairing all at once. Wentz’s cynic carelessness on lines like “the bees are dying off, its kind of sad” and “the polar bears are running out of ice, but hey, this photo got a lot of likes” means they avoid falling into the trap of feeling done – technology is bad blah blah blah, we’ve heard it all before, but never with such aptly apathetic dryness. The insistence of “wake up, check your phone” couldn’t be more of an uncomfortably perfect fit for lockdown’s monotony, as is “start a podcast, become a dj, try to fill the void inside” – situations that are blisteringly, hilariously familiar.
Wentz has suggested that if we remain in lockdown for six months, he’ll be making his own solo album – and if it’s anything like Check Your Phone, we are all over it. Wentz’s almost-panic on “but the battery’s died!” is as effective a critique on techno-culture as the likes of The 1975 could ever churn out, the whole track reminding us what a ridiculously great lyricist Wentz is – and we’d be blessed to see much more of it.
Check Your Phone is out now.