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The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

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It’s time to Part Ways with “LOVE + POP Pt. 2”

The “tiktok-ification” of art may be Current Joys downfall
Photo Band Camp
The album cover of the Current Joy’s “Love + Pop Part 2.”

Nick Rattigan, the face of the group project Current Joys, released his new album in early May 2024. Although this is his new work, Rattigan has released a wide discography throughout his long time in the indie music scene. Rattigan’s Indie Rock classics such as Blondie and A Different Age have dominated Spotify playlists and social media videos for years.

Alongside Current Joys, Rattigan is in the punk-rock band, Surf Curse. Joined by Jacob Rubeck, Surf Curse recorded Freaks, their biggest song in their first album, Buds. Although coming out in 2013, is only now amassing international popular, garnering over 1 billion views on Spotify in 2024.

It is without understatement that you have heard and even enjoyed his music. His original sound was based off the lack of it; simplicity was emphasized in his original and most popular tracks. In fact, most of his original songs, such as Blondie and Motorcycle can be replicated with only an amp, guitar and looper pedal.

With all being said, Current Joy’s new sound is vastly different than the original that thousands had fallen in love with. In 2023, Nick Rattigan released LOVE + POP Pt. 1, followed up by LOVE + POP Pt. 2 in 2024. Although the first part was a big shift in sound, LOVE + POP Pt. 2 is completely unrecognizable.

LOVE + POP Pt. 2 starts decent enough, with songs such as “Chain” and “Talk to Me.” The beginning tracks set up the new and rougher sound of Current Joys, comparable to rough punk and mumble rap, while still supplying the listeners with a strong and familiar energy.

One example is Always Midnight, which is certainly a highlight of the album. The track is dedicated to that clean and soft-spoken Current Joys energy from the early 2010’s, utilizing soft-spoken vocals and an emphasis on background orchestra. With that being said, “Always Midnight” is the only song which hails to this original sound of Current Joys.

After the track “Carti”, the album fails to expand upon this newly-setup sound. As the album continues through its rather short 27-minute runtime, Rattigan’s instrumentation and even lyricism falls apart. Songs instead come off as lazily put-together, audibly displeasing, and worst of all, boring.

The main example of this is “Luctus Mane,” which consists of Rattigan screaming his heart out for 3 minutes and 40 seconds. Rattigan rambles on of his woes in a screechy tone, while ugly instrumentals pair unsupportively with the vocals. Paired with the pleading nature of the rest of the album’s lyrics, “Luctus Mane” comes off as a cry for help.

Nick Rattigan’s music and even his portrayal of himself has changed since his debut tracks released almost a decade ago. Artists do change with time, but usually for the better, yet Rattigan’s musical prowess can be compared to the deteriorating capability of an old amp.

Of course, one could blame the spread of TikTok to be at fault; with the introduction of short-form content, with songs that succeed with simpler, shorter-form structures, artists have been taking advantage of the system. Musicians are rewarded to make simpler, more memorable tunes by creating hooks or rewarding choruses. Or maybe the system has been taking advantage of the artists?

Regardless of social media’s possible impact on Rattigan’s work, his new album still comes off as poor-quality. Because of this, many long-term fans may feel alienated by this new sound. With Current Joy’s new genre being so unrecognizable to his new work, some fans may go into his new music expecting something familiar, while getting something completely different in return. This, at least for me, caused a disconnect between the listener and the artist. Some suggest a new project name for him to fall under, (Lil Ratty?) which would allow Rattigan to try something new out without it garnishing the Current Joys name.

Although art is always art, I cannot get behind Rattigan’s new work; LOVE + POP Pt. 2 comes off as creatively deprived, boring, and even a terrible cry for help to the audience.

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About the Contributor
Jordan De La Cruz
Jordan De La Cruz, Staff Writer
Jordan De La Cruz is a junior at Robinson and a staff writer for Knight Writers. This is his first year on the staff. A true artist, De La Cruz partakes in many artistic hobbies including playing drums, guitar and even painting. "Anything creative I love to take part in," De La Cruz said. With an affinity for editing videos and having already written a few full-length stories, De La Cruz's passions for newspaper extend beyond the class. He felt joining newspaper would benefit his interests and wanted to expand his already formidable writing abilities. "As a writer I felt like this would be a super fun way to expand my influences with writing but also with the video editing," De La Cruz said. "I already have a good past in video editing that I think doing more of it would be great." While De La Cruz enjoys the opportunity to express his writing abilities, video creation is another thing that drew De La Cruz to newspaper. He looks forward to making content for the ongoing "Man on the street" videos under the Knight Mic series. De La Cruz looks forward to being able to build on the foundation left by previous classes and hopes to expand the coverage of Knight Mic videos beyond pep rallies and RHS sporting events. "I'm excited to be a host, be able to put my charisma on the screen," De La Cruz said. "Just being able to make videos with two friends of mine, I'm really excited." Never staying in one school for long, De La Cruz looks forward to finishing his final years at Robinson and leaving his mark on the school as a Knight Writer. "I used to move every year, but this is the only time I'm going to be able to finish the next three years at the same high school," De La Cruz said. "I'm super hopeful ... [that] I'll be able to have some sort of mark on the school." (Profile by Yesenia Rosario)
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