The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No feed found.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.

Quadeca’s “SCRAPYARD” is a multi-genre culmination of a decade

Image courtesy of DeadAir
Quadeca (a folktronica lyricist)’s latest album release, “SCRAPYARD”, currently stands as one of the highest user-rated albums of 2024 on the music platform Album of the Year.

Benjamin Fernando Barajas Lasky, better known as Quadeca, shocked the world when he released his third studio album, “I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You,” on Nov. 10, 2022. Refining the sounds on his previous record, “From Me To You,” he reached number five on the rating platform Album of the Year (AOTY) for 2022. Before this, he was regarded as a naive internet rapper, so a chart-topping record was the last thing critics expected. Now, after two years since his last full-length release, he has seemingly captured lightning in a bottle once more with his latest mixtape/album release, “SCRAPYARD.”

The first track “DUSTCUTTER” is reminiscent of one on his previous album titled “house settling.” The first ten seconds start with an awkward oscillating string sound; once the drums and vocals layer on top of one another, however, the song meshes together, and intensity builds up throughout the first minute. Then, it seemingly collapses on itself, restarting its progression of intensity, this time with different lyrics.

Track two, “A LA CARTE,” is energetic but overall mediocre. Its repetitive buildups trick the listener into believing that there will be a beat drop just before disappointing them when the song ends with no significant change to the melody. Throughout the track, Quadeca maintains a dreamy tone that matches the sound of the short but snappy guitar riffs that make for a tolerable but forgettable listen.

The almost whiny vocals and repeating minor key chords on the guitar all make “PRETTY PRIVILEGE” scream out Midwest emo. The first half of the song doesn’t change much, but in the last 30 seconds, there suddenly comes a beat drop similar in style to another critically acclaimed industrial and experimental hip-hop producer JPEGMAFIA. It seems as if the prior majority was meant to build tension for this drop; however, neither part does this especially well, leading this track to be one of the weaker ones on the album.

Track four, “EASIER,” opens with a relaxing orchestral backtrack that slowly morphs into a country-sounding guitar beat occasionally intercut with different instruments and sounds. Halfway through, both Quadeca and the beat quicken while drums come in; he sporadically and melodically whines onto the beat as the song slowly closes out and fades back into a slow guitar melody. Formulaic and repetitive, “EASIER” holds the title for the most generic track on the record.

Glorious synths back Quadeca as he continues to talk about his anger, creating an incredible atmosphere that juxtaposes the gloom of the prior section.

The following song, “EVEN IF I TRIED,” begins with a dark trap beat with accompanying lyrics about being, “this close to the tipping point,” and that you, “better listen up and do what I insist.” Partway through, the beat cuts and switches to a melody that has a larger-than-life energy; glorious synths back Quadeca as he continues to talk about his anger, creating an incredible atmosphere that juxtaposes the gloom of the prior section.

The sixth song on the album, “WHAT’S IT TO HIM,” is one of the strongest on the tracklist where Quadeca manages to perfect his airy vocals on a hard-hitting beat. The track leads listeners through an ethereal experience. Nearing the end, the beat slows to a halt, leaving listeners with only the sound of the quiet instrumentals. The ensuing beat drop is similar to “wet dreams” by sundiver ca, an alternative psychedelic artist, leaving a lasting impression.

“U DON’T KNOW ME LIKE THAT” starts with small instrumentation and a lone, heavily distorted, vocal. Just like on track one, the intensity in the beat accumulates over time, but this time the vocals are more similar to RnB singer Brent Faiyaz than the previously referenced XXXTentacion. Despite improved production near the end of the song, the unbearable distortion at the beginning marks this as the worst so far in the album.

The song gives audiences the expectation that they will begin to hear roosters crow in the background due to its country-reminiscent melody.

The minute-long eighth track opens reminiscent of a retro game theme before Quadeca begins to airily rap on the farmhouse classic that is “I MAKE IT LOOK EFFORTLESS.” The song gives audiences the expectation that they will begin to hear roosters crow in the background due to its country-reminiscent melody. The track leaves much to be desired but is additionally unable to leave much of an impression at all on listeners due to its short run time.

“WAY TOO MANY FRIENDS” was one of five songs on the set list that had a music video produced for it. It is meant to “return in many ways to the classic Quadeca rap/hip hop thing but more in line with my recent production and songwriting sensibilities,” as stated in the description to the music video. While production is once again phenomenal, the lackluster chorus leaves this as a middle-of-the-road track.

“GUESS WHO?” is a disappointing tenth song with a boring and repetitive beat that oddly enough sounds like the theme for Lavender Town in “Pokémon Red/Blue.” Similar to the repetitive beat, the rapping on the track is also mind-numbingly tedious, with the only notable part being his repeated mumble-yelling of the phrase “guess who?!” combined with his laughable impression of $uicideboy$, a New Orleans trap duo. 

The eleventh track “UNDER MY SKIN” similarly doesn’t have too much distortion on the vocals, and once again can create larger-than-life energy by using heavy echo and layering vocal parts. The catchy chorus and the unexpected beat drop (located in the middle of a sentence) make this song a highlight of the album. Furthermore, the melody climaxes again near the end with added instrumentals, creating the same spacey atmosphere without being repetitive. 

“BEING YOURSELF” once again features a production based on the progression of intensity to a climax near the end. Heavy distortion on the vocals and the intentionally messy drumline create an incredible atmosphere within the latter portion, however, the buildup takes too long to reach the top of the metaphorical mountain.

Listeners can probably tell that the thirteenth track, “U TRIED THAT THING WHERE UR HUMAN,” would have a different energy than the others just from the title. The music video follows the joyful relationship between two girls. Ominously, just as the song reaches a climax, the scene cuts to one of the girls, alone, staring at the camera in silence as a falsetto vocal line is delivered, “It’s time to give up being human.” The odd production and vocals make this a notable and high part of the tracklist.

“GUIDE DOG” marks the beginning of Quadeca’s Ed Sheeran era, and is one of the tracklist’s weakest. The inexperienced pop singing is drowned out by the boorish beat, being nearly impossible to decipher beyond quiet out-of-tune mumblings. The sound quality is so abhorrent it sounds like the sounds were forcibly compressed.

“TEXAS BLUE” is arguably the record’s best. Featuring Kevin Abstract, a member of the band BROCKHAMPTON, the two create a unique ambiance on the album’s conclusive song. There is no distortion on the vocals, and the production is oddly simple compared to other songs. The way both artists bring variety without dramatic contrast is through the use of layering. Both artists take multiple recordings of the same lyrics, each with their subtle nuances. Placing the recordings on top of each other generates a heavenly chorus sung by a two-man choir.

For those already familiar with the folktronica/psychedelic genre, this EP may provide for a comfortable listen, and for others, it may serve as a good introduction to the scene. All in all, the tracklist stands high on album rankings, among critics and general listeners alike, leaving many anticipating where Quadeca will next go in his career.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

Information about our comments policy can be found here:
All tjTODAY Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *