It’s a little bit of a relief when I know exactly what song is going to represent an artist for the decade. Barring a last minute 2019 LP (which could happen – they teased that an album is coming ‘soon’), they’ve only released two albums in the last ten years – 2011’s mesmerizing Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and 2016’s fun-but-cheesy Junk. The former has more hits than the latter, but regardless of the presence of other contenders like ‘Midnight City’ or ‘Steve McQueen’, there was little question in my mind that ‘Wait’ was going to be the obvious choice all along.
And it’s for good reason. ‘Wait’ is an absolute gut punch; an emotional wrecking ball that achieves astronomical poignancy with only skeletal lyrics. Chants of “no time” make up the chorus, lending this dreamy, electronic atmosphere a sense of existential urgency. With those two words, I immediately feel like my life is waning and that I need to get out of this chair and go do something meaningful and impactful. It’s downright compelling, and the climactic shouts of “woow, woow” echo across the wide-panning reverb like desperate wails into space. Frontman Anthony Gonzalez delivers the vocal performance of his life – he sounds sad, contemplative, visceral. At the same time, he seems to say everything without really actually dictating much at all. It’s a stream-of-consciousness rambling – a word here, a phrase there, but no overt narrative. This leaves “Wait” open to emotional interpretation, offering us a planetarium while allowing us to interpret the celestial bodies.
This playlist has been – and will continue to be – comprised of a lot of songs that convey emotion. ‘Wait’ might be one of the few songs that merely evokes it, slowly drawing it out of listeners without communicating very much in particular. It’s a cathartic experience, and one that no fan of music should go into 2020 without hearing.