REVIEW: TENUOUS, ELECTROPOP FROM A BOSTON APARTMENT
Tenuous, the electro-pop project of Boston Conservatory student, Reinier Potgieter, struck me upon first listen. Tenuous’ self-titled debut was released just a few days ago, on November 5, 2017, and I have had it on repeat ever since. The lyrics from the album’s first track, “jerry,” are from a poem in Potgieter’s poetry book Bad Boy: A Collection of Poems. However, such lyrics are not sung, but are rather generated through the robotic voices of Text to Speech programs. An album almost all instrumental, such voices appear only on three tracks: “jerry,” “words,” and “blue socks.” After my first listen of “jerry,” I immediately recognized the source of the track’s lyrics, because I had the opportunity to read the aforementioned poetry book, and “jerry” was a poem that had resonated with me. Potgieter writes,”jerry is a simile./a tree without bark, flogged by harsh gusts./jerry is a one-winged bumblebee collecting disability checks.” The opening lyrics allow the listener to understand that Jerry lives a life of dejection; however, provides hope, when it is stated that “I am not jerry…/I can change the world…/but do I want to?/I don’t know.” Such lyrics are relatable, in the matter that it is understood that one’s potential is infinite; however, sometimes it is simply difficult just to get out of bed in the morning.
As I continued to listen to the rest of Tenuous’ self-titled release, I was immediately drawn to the instrumental “waiting to die.” I am brought a nostalgic feeling from the track’s synth leads, reminiscent of childhood Summer days spent playing fourth and fifth generation video games (Super NES/Nintendo 64).
The album ends with “blue socks.” The track’s instrumental contains electronic drums, and synthesizers that make the listener want to dance, and provide the finale of the album with a sense of hope. From “jerry” to “blue socks,” there is a shift from a feeling of hopelessness to one of hope. Potgieter ends the album with the lyrics “I love all of you./you mean the world to me./please be patient./I am trying./I will be there for you one day.” The text to speech lyrics and the electropop instrumentals of the album allow the listener to embark on an emotional journey, from anguish, to contentment, which is very comforting. There will always be a light.
Check out Tenuous’ self-titled release, which clocks in around 22 minutes, as well as Potgieter’s book of poetry.