Skylar Spence, “Prom King” Review

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By: Brie East

Music Reviewer


Artist: Skylar Spence

Album: Prom King

Label: Carpark Records

Release Date: September 14, 2015


I feel like we’ve reached a point in music history where we realized that disco is a good thing. 2015 has brought in an influx of albums that have embraced the long-ignored genre, but none of them have done it quite like Prom King, the debut album by Skylar Spence.

Despite being only 22 years old, Ryan DeRobertis (the man behind the name) has made an album that transcends decades, including elements of disco, house, club and funk in his sound. Formerly performing under the name Saint Pepsi, Spence has graduated from Bandcamp and has found a new home in Carpark Records, sharing residence with Speedy Ortiz, Toro y Moi and Cloud Nothings.

Songs like “Affairs” seem pulled straight out of the 80s while “Can’t You See” has echoes of “Music Sounds Better With You” by Stardust. The album is packed full of funky bass lines, synth noises and booming drums. Prom King is a musical exhibition that beckons forth images of dance clubs, 70s-era flare jeans and fashion shows. While the albums still has instrumental tracks like “Ridiculous!” and “Bounce is Back”, Spence is making an effort to flex his vocals, something not present in his past musical efforts.

“Fiona Coyne,” named after the iconic Degrassi character, is the stand-out song of the album. First released in 2014, the song is an ode to the character with lines like “My love’s on the silver screen / She’s always playing make-believe.” DeRobertis, in an interview with Interview Magazine, says that the ‘album is sort of about the narcissism that comes with nostalgia.’ This mindset is present in “Can’t You See” where the chorus is directed to his reflection in the mirror. The album also seems to explore nostalgia through an outsider’s lens; how can one be nostalgic for an era that never lived in?

Formerly reigning as a prince of vaporwave, Skylar Spence has made considerable growth from his roots. The album title fits Skylar Spence like a crown.

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