TRACE’s Newest Single Turns Pop Music Tropes Into Something So Much More

It’s not just whispers and “streambait.”

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

This week: “Anxiety” by TRACE (Ultra Records, 2018)

Why we’re into it: With this self-reflective track, TRACE takes some of the most overused pop music sounds and turns them into something quite spectacular.

Trace—stylized TRACE—is no stranger to the world of music. With a solid repertoire—”Side Eye” is a standout—she also has a musical pedigree: Her mother is known as the “The Streisand of Saigon.” It wasn’t until college that Trace crowdfunded enough money to release her first EP, Low. Since then, she’s only grown in her art. “Anxiety” is proof of Trace’s musical maturity, a force to be reckoned with.

There’s only the softest of introductions, just a bit of acoustic guitar to set the tone—calming, settled, and secure. Her vocals slide in softly, and as the song progresses, so does a creeping sense of urgency. As she continues, the guitar begins to gain more of a beat, and her talent as a producer and lyricist radiates. “Creeping through the doors/And under all my sheets/I can never sleep/It worries me,” she sings over a breathy mix of her own vocals and electronic chimes.

“Anxiety” isn’t catchy right off the bat, but that’s what makes it so remarkable. Rather than trying to create “streambait” with a plain “whisper pop” song, she takes the best bits of the modern pop fads and molds them into something raw and personal. And the cherry on top? With the release of “Anxiety,” TRACE partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to help raise awareness for mental health issues, and is donating some of the proceeds of her “Anxiety” merchandise to the organization.

So on the Friday before the Christmas shenanigans begin, and at the end of a long and even more insane week in politics (and that’s saying a lot), steal some time and revel in a track that’s simple and sweet. And if this recent release is any indication of what’s to come, there’s a lot to look forward to.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest