Seeing as we’re spending much of this January issue celebrating Iceland’s 2015 in music—a vintage year, by any standards—we thought it fitting that our Track Of The Issue should be, in fact, our Track Of The Year.
The fact that Vaginaboys’ quietly astounding torch-song “Elskan Af Því Bara” (“Baby, Just Because”, in English) sat lonely and unlistened to on YouTube for almost a year before it went suddenly viral is oddly fitting. It’s a particularly virulent earworm of a track, combining a languid rhythm and sparse synth arrangement with an affecting, pitch-shifted, delay-swathed, vocodered lead vocal to create a sense of mournful, disconnected melancholy.
And forget the language barrier. It’s a testament to the quality of the song that the emotions are transmitted to the listener whether they can understand Icelandic or not, as proven by the positive reaction of the international press to Vaginaboys’ Airwaves appearances.
The track also has impressive cross-genre appeal. As Grapevine music critic Davið Roach presciently noted back in December: “No one had a clue who they were, but everyone fell in love all the same… their unique brand of ice-cold, sexy, 808 auto-tuned R’n’B resonated in hip-hop and indie circles alike.”
Track of the issue, and track of the year—good job, Vaginaboys! We’re glad we put you on the cover! Twice! Happy 2016!
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Vaginaboys: A Rush Of Blood To Your Genitals
It was just spring that Vaginaboys burst onto the scene from out of nowhere. All of the sudden, their breakout hit “Elskan af því bara” (“Baby Just Because”) started spreading across Icelandic social media circles at an alarming rate. No one had a clue who they were, but everyone fell in love all the same, their unique brand of ice-cold, sexy 808 auto-tuned R’n’B resonating in hip-hop and indie circles alike.
MEET THE NWOIHH!
The Vaginaboys representative I spoke with insisted on wearing a white mask throughout our Skype meeting. His camera was pointed at an extreme angle, so I could barely even see his eyes. “I don’t want people I don’t know to know me, you know,” he says.
The record opens with “Þú ert svo ein,” which literally opens with the line, “Ha ha ha/Vagina Boys/Ha ha ha ha ha ha,” thusly training its ironic eye onto itself in a swiftly expanding black hole of “Is this something I am actually listening to right now?” But here’s the catch: it’s not a joke. At all.