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Track Review: Hatchie ‘Keep’

California beach dream pop meets high school party.

Jasmine-Kay Johnson

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If the genre existed, “Keep” from Hatchie’s 2019 debut album Keepsake would be a chart topper for “California beach dream pop.”

It uses reverb similar to that on the 2010 Best Coast track “Boyfriend,” along with bold drums and upbeat guitar. These combined musical tools help Hatchie reimagine the same West Coast pop that makes you want to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in the summertime with the windows down. 

When you consider the movement of the song over its almost five minute duration, you may recall a Friday night high school party. The night typically begins on a strong note with you getting ready with friends and sneaking a sip or two of something cheap.

The song mimics this as it opens with dark synth, guitar and loud drums, instantly transporting you back to 80s pop. 

Then there’s the party itself, complete with even more cheap alcohol, awkward dancing, and brainstorming for a convincing lie to tell your parents when they ask why you missed curfew.

The music slightly quiets down when Hatchie first comes in, but the excitement kicks back up right before the chorus where lagging electric guitar get its moment to shine before the boastful drums make their return. She sings “But you keep your cool, any color/ I’d be a fool for any other.” 

The song’s only downfall is that the lyrics are somewhat difficult to understand. The loud instruments and vocal modification create an interesting contrast, but nearly drowns Hatchie out. It really does the song a disservice because the lyrics are quite introspective and sort of grim.

The mismatched lyrics and sound create yet another layer of contrast. In fact, the first verse reads “If you’d said I’d still be here a year ago/ I would have told you telling lies is bad for souls/ Imagine all the stories left untold/ If we’d kept our wildest dreams on hold.” 

It may not be a stand out song under the oversized alternative umbrella, but it does showcase Hatchie’s musical talent and consideration for mood. She creates a sense of nostalgia on this closer that even current high school freshman will recognize when those four years come to an end and they walk away from their final party sweaty and satisfied.

Be careful before pressing play on this one though. Just as quickly as the noise morphs to silence when you walk out of the party, the song quickly kicks off at max volume.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Jasmine-Kay is a senior at the University of Missouri studying journalism with an emphasis in magazine publishing and management. She is an editor for the Genius Knowledge Project and posts her own music-related writing on her website (jasmine-kayjohnson.com). Her hope is to obtain a master's in music business from NYU after undergrad.

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