By: Thomas Holton
22-year-old TRACES is a singer-songwriter from San Diego, California, who’s just released the first three songs off his upcoming debut album 6HRS. A concept album set over a 6-hour sleep cycle, these first three tracks, titled as “0000-0600,” are an excellent preview of the themes explored on the full record.
The opening track, “6HRS,” is a meditative ballad that builds beautifully around a series of cold, wobbly vocal samples. We get thrust immediately into a space of vulnerability, where TRACES shares his inner monologue with us, one whose self-loathing and confusion will sound familiar to many of our own. TRACES’ voice is light and pure, juxtaposed with the somberness of the production.
From here we transition into the thumping “NIGHT TERRORS,” which sounds like the feeling of claustrophobia in the middle of a club. It’s here we learn that TRACES’ dissatisfaction isn’t just contained within himself, it also stems from the world around him. He critiques hype culture and the constant overload of content we consume every waking hour. TRACES feels like there’s no escape from this, not even in sleep. The blaring horns, reminiscent of the ones on “Blood On the Leaves” by Kanye, capture this frustration perfectly. The temptation of falling too deeply into this anxious web is overwhelming, a phenomenal line being, “Don’t you want to say that you should’ve known better?” The song’s music video accentuates the themes of consumerism and overstimulation through a series of rapid-fire clips from television and pop culture. TRACES questions what all of this content amounts to if it’s inevitably forgotten.
The third and final track, “NO VACANCY,” combines the introspection of “6HRS” with the layered production of “NIGHT TERRORS.” TRACES uses the metaphor of leasing out rooms in his house to illustrate his incapacity to let others grow close to him. Over whizzing synths, he sings of abusing substances through manipulated vocals. “There must be more to life than coping,” he says, perhaps trying to convince himself of this just as much as the listener. Even a simple line like, “The roof’s on fire. No place like home,” resonates deeply, and shows the place of desperation TRACES finds himself in, unable to find an escape from the sensory overload of day or the inner turmoil of night.
The rest of 6HRS is set to drop later this year, and if the first three tracks are any indication, fans are in for a concept album full of introspection, social commentary, and diverse production. Check out the songs here!
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