At one point on his new single, “I Wanna Slam My Head Against the Wall,” 16-year-old Glaive swoons sweetly for serotonin. “I need you bad, you know it,” he sings in one of the track’s more traditional pop moments, complete with a shimmering acoustic guitar. It’s a good example of everything there is to like about Glaive, who started making music shortly before the pandemic started last year. He has a way with clear-eyed vulnerability. The song’s title, long and unwieldy as it is, couldn’t be a better description of the way things feel right now.
More specifically, Glaive singing the song’s titular chorus over the dreamy maximalist production that many now describe as “hyperpop” is exactly how it feels to be alive in 2021. “I Wanna Slam My Head Against the Wall” is sincere in the way some of the best emo songs of the aughts were. The final line of the chorus — “I watched my idols fall, I might just еnd it all” — sounds like something you’d swear you heard in a Cursive song. Glaive belongs to a generation coming of age in an era of political rage and alienation. Most of his music, and accompanying videos, were made during the pandemic. Like the emo bands of the early 2000s, it’s a cohort accustomed to the emotional effects of both national tragedy and political incompetence.
“I’m on the brink of insanity inside my own home,” Glaive raps in a warbled mumble. The sugary-sweet electronics of modern pop music — much of which comes thanks to the late pioneer of hyperpop, Sophie — are cranked to 11 here. The drums shake like a game controller, somehow visceral, digital, and tangible all in one. Glaive’s voice sounds mutated like a recording of music playing out of computer speakers. It’s all bookended by the kind of pleasant-sounding acoustic guitar plucking you might expect to hear at a Starbucks.
As such, “I Wanna Slam My head Against the Wall” manages to ease you into its universe, and it’s sure to be a crossover moment for Glaive and his hyperpop contemporaries. And rightfully so — though it’s music created by and listened to by young people, there’s a profound maturity present. Just being able to clearly articulate how you feel is more than most adults can do.
Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.