Scuba “Talk Torque”
For all the debate over the merits of Scuba‘s stylistic shift over the past year […]
For all the debate over the merits of Scuba‘s stylistic shift over the past year or so, there’s no denying one thing: the man isn’t going about it in a half-assed fashion. More than a year removed from the release of Adrenalin, it’s clear now that the record marked an important turning point for the UK-bred, Berlin-based artist. Where he was once known as a purveyor of dark, brooding beats—a reputation earned on the back of both his own output and that of his Hotflush imprint—Adrenalin found him heading toward lighter sonic pastures, and doing the seemingly unthinkable by toying with trance. The change was surprising at the time—and not appreciated by everyone (although we here at XLR8R quite liked the record and ultimately named it the third-best track of 2011)—but what’s perhaps even more surprising is how Scuba has subsequently stayed the course. If anything, he’s moved even further into pop territory, first with his Personality LP, and now, with a one-sided single, “Talk Torque.”
Plainly said, there’s nothing particularly subtle about “Talk Torque.” While its breakdown isn’t quite as epic as the one found in “Adrenalin,” it’s still prominent, and when a song’s key vocal refrain is an endlessly repeated loop of a diva wailing, “I’m your fantasy,” it quickly becomes apparent that the artist isn’t making something for those seeking nuance. Bouncing along on a bassline that wouldn’t be out of place on a Crosstown Rebels record, “Talk Torque” is essentially a pop-dance cut, one with bright synths, big builds, and clear allusions to late-’90s/early-’00s trance and progressive house. In truth, there’s not a whole lot to the song—it’s light, euphoric, and undeniably functional, but it’s also eminently forgettable, which is perhaps why it works so well. Like most pop music, “Talk Torque” isn’t meant for the long haul; this is music for the masses, something that will rile up dancefloors for a few months before being cast aside and largely forgotten. Oddly enough, what is interesting about the song is that its creator is someone who once seemed to be more or less devoid of big-room aspirations. Without question, Scuba has changed—at least from a stylistic standpoint. (His notoriously curmudgeonly public persona appears to be intact.) Only time will tell if the transformation is permanent, but in the meantime, he’s making tunes that are undeniably fun, even if that’s all they are.