I told David I’d get this review into him within the week, and well, it’s been almost two weeks now. Been going through a period of personal upheaval. PC Music, the greatest label of the decade, has signed a new artist, called Planet 1999. They are a band, they’re French, and there’s three of them. Along with the announcement of a new artist to the roster, of course they had to release a single, too. It’s two minutes and 15 seconds long and called “Spell.” I perform some preliminary research to get the review-writing juices flowing. I usually like to go to Genius and check out the lyrics. Personally, personally, I hate lyrics—if they seem good enough to look up, I’ll look them up and read them. I can’t imagine wasting my time listening to them as they are sung. Music, personally to me, personally, is meant to wash over you and access the parts of your brain that are usually clammed up shut during your daily word-listening life. Lyrics can very well add on to this experience, but usually, usually, they detract. I appreciate it when, on arriving at the Genius page for Planet 1999’s new single, “Spell,” I am met with a sea of square bracket question marks square brackets—[?]. I imagine the frustration of the Genius contributor, listening to the song on repeat, (as I am now), struggling to place intelligible lyrics from within the gibberish. The one clear ringer he (or she, but let’s be honest—he) recognizes for a fact is the refrain, “under your spell, under your spell, under your spell…” “Spell” is not a song with lyrics, but incantations. This Genius contributor is typical of the modern, massively online individual. That which can be appreciated can be assigned into discrete subreddits, onto either side of the Twitter debate du jour, or, especially, reprised as an identity. What you consume can say a lot about you, you know. The type of music you dig. And if you really like it, if, say, you are just a really passionate person—well, then you create a Genius account. Gorgeous mumbling. Like Playboi Carti, and the whole new generation of rap that treats lyrics like placeholders. And the new Kanye, songs left unfinished like visible brushstrokes. It’s “stylistic,” yes, but it also represents a process, something greater, something grander. After another day as the experiencing subject of a life—the daily grind, as it were—I collapse quite literally onto my mattress on the floor. I have been in love before, once. Love, with a capital L, and all the etymological and, quite frankly, Freudian, baggage it carries—but I believe I have been “under the spell” of many a man, woman, in my time. Humans are mythical animals, we love them, yes, but more than anything they leave us spellbound, no? We loft the great men of history up towards religion. Beautiful women pose existential threats. Atlas shrugs. You cannot write an essay on a beautiful woman, you have to paint her, good sir! Likewise, cogent philosophy, even mystical exegesis, seem to sputter out relatively quickly. Music, meanwhile, holds psychic power of some sort, the power to clarify experience—it circumvents the ostensibly “uncomfortable” arenas of questions, which actually provide us the comfort of control, of retrofitting experience into phrases, even open ended ones. What I mean is, music doesn’t ask questions and it doesn’t answer them; music doesn’t even understand such a concept as a question, and music doesn’t “understand” anything; it is. So perhaps it is the artform closest to math, as some suggest, but I liken it to painting. Especially the abstract ones, maybe, but also the big Boschian ones, the ones you have to stand back from and let wash over you.