The digicore scene’s two biggest rising stars aren’t yet distinct enough to complement each other in interesting ways.
Ostensibly, Glaive and ericdoa recorded part of their new EP, then i’ll be happy, back in January at a sleek North Carolina Airbnb that fans quickly dubbed the Hyperpop Hype House. The final product makes that label feel like a misnomer. This music might soundtrack a hype house, but it rarely sounds like hyperpop. Instead, it’s frustratingly safe and directionless, the growing pains of two ascendant teenagers reconciling their digicore roots with new musical interests.
Over the last couple years, the digicore/hyperpop scene has come to understand Glaive and ericdoa as future stars. At their best, they blend genres with the fluency of international pop icons and the unhinged creativity of young, online artists, matching stadium-sized hooks about breakups to SoundCloud-native flows. In their beats, produced by a rotating cast including Whetan, glasear, and youngkimj, the guitars swing into EDM drops and the drum patterns switch up almost obsessively. Both signed to Interscope, Glaive and ericdoa currently sit somewhere between the online underground and the charts, poised for a real crossover.
After a few fleeting moments on loosies and posse cuts together, then i’ll be happy marks the duo’s first extended collaboration. While compelling as solo artists, Glaive and ericdoa aren’t yet distinct enough to complement each other in interesting ways. They both sing in a similar nasally shout and write in angsty aphorisms. Their chemistry occasionally comes to life, like when Glaive seamlessly passes the baton to ericdoa on the enveloping opener “naturale,” which charts how the pair are navigating life after a bit of fame. And the way they harmonize “men-tal! an-guish!” on the following song recalls the stronger moments on ericdoa’s 2020 album COA.
The bigger issue is that their individual artistic tics seem to be dissolving. Songs like Glaive’s “sick” and ericdoa’s “sheaskedwhatmylifeislike” became digicore canon not because they hopped genres, but because they sounded like SoundCloud rappers drawing outside the lines. then i’ll be happy resorts to blatant chameleonism: The middle stretch doles out three sterile, paint-by-numbers pop songs, the worst offender being “pretending,” which sounds like Big Time Rush karaoke. All their songs are short, but this one bizarrely fades out after barely a minute and a half, like they just didn’t care about it anymore. New fans might not sense anything wrong, but to digicore diehards, these songs suggest the grimmest possible artistic trajectory: a descent into the grey mush of bankrolled, “genreless” artists.
Fortunately, the EP closes with its two strongest songs, the singles “cloak n dagger” and “fuck this town.” On the former, Glaive hurtles through four-on-the-floor madness and gated drums as he barks one of the most spiteful hooks he’s ever written: “Fuck you! I hope you rot in hell/I know you never cared, but I’m still doing well.” “fuck this town,” meanwhile, slinks through darker, dancier rhythms, with a perfectly dejected chorus mixed so that it flashes like strobe lights over the drums. In these Glaive and ericdoa songs, you can hear a kernel of the scene that birthed them: off-the-cuff arrangements, confessional writing that could be read as rap or emo, thoughtful genre explorations that subvert norms instead of succumbing to them.