It seems like a fair number of producers have recently found inspiration in adorable, rosy-cheeked, all-consuming love. Ryan Hemsworth released a mix about “kissing, cuddling, feeling hurt, feeling happy and other feelings.” Saint Pepsi started singing and his first lyrics included the line, “I’ll give my world to keep that girl right next to me.” And PC Music artists like A.G. Cook and GFOTY have opened up a giant door for sugarcoated works of gooey heart-shaped plasticity. That’s not to say there’s not a self-awareness, or a lurking sense of dark pessimism running through all these tracks, but there’s still a strong case to be made for blatant, un-self-conscious sex music.
Brooklyn DJ LSDXOXO’s first full-length project is called w h o r e c o r e, the follow-up to 2013’s S O F T C O R E EP, and it opens with a track about murder. Okay, it’s not quite sexy, but there’s something powerfully cavalier about a dark narrative wrapped up in tongue-in-ear lyrics. The track features rapper BbyMutha (once called “the Lisa Frank of trap”) ping-ponging over a haunting beat with a nursery rhyme-esque flow and juxtapositions like “broken condom/broken heart.” From there, things get less creepy and more freaky, like on the amniotic Maenad + Heathens (Interlude), which uses a ripped-open sample of the obscure hornball Baltimore club track My Coochie Drives You Crazy.
Throughout the album, LSDXOXO unpacks sex in music—and its simultaneous potential to inspire both mass popularity and concerned hand-wringing—by taking big, Top 40 hits and reworking them into stuttering, convoluted heavy club bangers until they’re barely recongnizable. IndustrySexxxxxSlave borrows the line “be my sex slave” from Rihanna’s Cockiness and loops it over and over until it becomes just another noise in a textured mix of mouthy slaps, yawns and tailed synth claps. Drake’s Nothing Was The Same cut The Language shows up at the end of Maenad + Heathens (Interlude), wherein Drake sounds exhausted by his own sex appeal. *SadEmoji* parallels Lee Mazin’s grind theme Back It Up with an audio clip of a couple fighting, crafting an eerie complacency under the track’s sexual overtones.
But the strongest tracks on the album are the ones that feature guests who can work with the flesh-obsessed aggression and overwrought tension of LSDXOXO’s beats. Like on Perfect (written by Le1f), in which Rahel assumes a kind of fantastical appreciation for her lover over a slow, engorged beat. Or when NJ rapper Cakes Da Killa spits breathless verses and coos through the harsh knife-gleam synth flare on Bind That Bitch.
There’s a lot at play here, and many, many elements—musical, cultural, nostalgic—to consider. Or, you can choose not to consider them and w h o r e c o r e will still provide you with a solid bundle of lip-licking seduction cuts with an underlying sense of unease for when you don’t feel like just cuddling under the covers.