Overthinking: Twin Fantasy
Hit up anyone into the indie music scene and they will either swear by the name of Car Seat Headrest, or tell you to stay away from them. Starting as a one-man project by Will Toledo, the band now has 4 members and struck fame with their 2016 album “Teens of Denial”. But before this very “immediate” album which deals with a lot of problems in at once, Will Toledo came out with another, what some people call it and I believe, Masterpiece. Twin Fantasy.
At its base, Twin fantasy is about a very localised area of problems. It’s about finding someone very relatable, coping with the conditions keeping them away from you, coming in terms with your sexuality, depression, and many other related themes. Above all it’s about accepting yourself as you are and coming to terms with your current conditions.
But lets overthink a little, because art is not only what the artist wants us to know, but also what we choose to perceive.
Throughout the entire album, Will Toledo refers to a “boy” whom he is romantically interested in. This person, according to him, is his “Twin Fantasy”: a perfectly relatable person, a twin about whom he can only fantasize about. Now, let’s think a little differently. Outside the things that everyone else is thinking. What if this “boy” is not a separate person at all? What if this person is just Will, himself? While lines throughout the album do definitely suggest the existence of a second person, many other parts can be thought of as Will talking to himself.
A person very rarely has one single strong personality. Our mind is divided into several parts thus inducing the creation of multiple personalities, which if uncontrolled can lead to the creation of more than one person within a single being. What I am talking about here is not only a split-personality disorder, but believing the fact that another person exists outside our being while they are a fragment of our very imagination. Will has not reached this point as of yet, but is very near. This can be suggested by the lyric from Beach Life-in-Death.
“ I don’t want to go insane
I don’t want to have schizophrenia”
Will is self-aware enough to accept the existence of another person within himself. For him this person has existed within him for a long time, and he treats him as some friend of his. This person is exactly like him, because he is him. The only difference is their state of mind and personalities. The album is all about connecting with this person inside you. We all have such a person within us. To Will, this person is someone perfect for him as he is someone extremely similar to him. But this perfect picture is slashed through once our person realises that he is not capable of reaching certain goals in his life. Because when he fails, they both fail. This conflict about self-deprecation and self-acceptance is prevalent throughout the album. For example, let’s take the song Famous Prophets (Minds).
“ Apologies to future mes and yous
But I can’t help feeling like we’re through
The ripping of the tape hurts my ears
In my years, I have never seen anyone quit quite like you do”
“ Don’t get too impressed
You might lose your breath
Don’t predict your death
’Cause I like you the best”
These lines can be seen as depictions of self-deprecation and self-acceptance. And these are just a few examples of such. The song “Stop Smoking” serves as a small piece to a certain person, telling them
“Stop Smoking. We love you. We don’t want you to die”.
While the song “High to Death” says:
“Keep smoking. I love you.But I don’t want to die”
Thus suggesting the first song was more of an demand from people around him, where “We” refers to these people. While the second song clearly states what he wants to do, even though he is aware and afraid of the consequences. In exactly these ways the album successfully captures the perfect essence of troubles faced trying to find oneself and coming to terms with one’s current condition.
Ofcourse, whatever I said is nothing but a stretch which Will probably never even thought of. But that is just one of the ways I perceive the album. If you haven’t heard Car Seat Headrest yet, please do. Teens of Denial may be the best album to get introduced to the band. I would not suggest Twin Fantasy for a first listen, since its production value is very low, and to an outsider it may seem like it was recorded through a tin can.