Baths’ new album Obsidian has a lot to write home about. From the spastic, haunting album opener “Worsening” to the gentle, yet still chilling album closer “Inter”, the album is ripe with fresh new digital chill-wave tracks that seem light and fun on the outside, but are quite deep and dark at their core. The reasons I am choosing to only write about “No Eyes” are two-fold. First: It’s my favorite song on the album. Second: It seems to be an unmistakably homage to another classic favorite of mine, “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails.
Will Wiesenfeld, the man behind Baths, had a near fatal brush with E. Coli that left him bedridden and out of touch with society and his music for months. Obsidian being a result of this shows us an introspective of what it was like for Will to be in this fragile, lonely, near suicidal state for so long, and it’s no pretty sight. In some respects it’s a hard album to listen to. It flashes through moments of what it’s like to be incredibly fed up with yourself and with life, and seemingly most of all, sex. All of this is sugar coated with Baths’ beats that disguise it as a lighter, digital pop album, but things obviously go much deeper than that.
“No Eyes” slips into the realm of almost coming to grips with the way of how pointless, anonymous, and even blacked-out sex works in his life and I think that could double for a lot of young adults. The incredible emotional disconnect people in general are able to have with sex is something that is increasingly becoming more evident in our society, although a lot of people would not like to admit that. Something has happened to Will in particular that has made him so numb to this experience that he just doesn’t care anymore who or what it is, just as long as he gets his “fix”. “It is not a matter of if you mean it/But it is only a matter of come and f**k me/It is not a matter of if you love me/But it is only a matter of my fix” he sings. These are some of the darkest lyrics I have ever heard on the subject matter, yet when I stop to think about them, I feel like it is strikingly poignant to the way a lot of humans think and function. From young to old, humans across the board act like this, but it’s hard for people to admit. It’s a depressing outlook on what is supposed to be considered a sacred and intimate thing. This is why it is even hard for Will to admit it. It’s not that he wants to live this life, as he points out “This isn’t the adulthood that I wrote”. But at this point he doesn’t care anymore. He doesn’t even care to make out ones face because as he says, “I have no eyes, I have no love, I have no hope”.
From the opening moment of the track “No Eyes”, there is an instant comparison that can be drawn from Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” even if you are only vaguely familiar with the song. This first derives from the beat. A single, distorted, cold, hard, industrial, beat that pounds on over, and over again throughout the entire song. This is a driving force behind both tracks and serves as a repetitive, rhythmic reminder of the subject matter. Musically, the similarities don’t stop there either, it is reminiscent throughout. The lyrics are also strikingly similar. Flawed existence, loss of hope, and sex being nothing more than an animalistic escape from reality are themes that surround both tracks. Where Will has lost his eyes, and love, and hope, Trent has lost his soul, his faith, and self worth. Yet both artists seem to find that the only thing that helps them get through each day is getting their fix. Whether Will intended for “No Eyes” to essentially function as the counterpart to “Closer” I don’t know, but I feel like it’s too close to be unintentional.
These are songs that some people don’t want to listen to because it makes them question human nature. It leaves you with the same feeling you get after watching A Clockwork Orange or Eyes Wide Shut. I think it’s incredible when artists are able to evoke these kinds of emotions from people. Especially when doing so with such an infectiously lovable beat or style that if not careful it almost blinds the listener (or viewer) to what kinds of questions (philosophical, spiritual, or physical nature) are being addressed.
Song Rating: 11/11