The original “Gooey,” Glass Animals’ most popular song on Spotify, (though “Black Mambo” has stolen some limelight since being featured in an Apple commercial) is pretty much perfectly hip. It’s a piece that sounds like it’s being boiled in a cauldron. Not energetic, but it ramps up progressively from start to finish. Like a glugging vat of hot tar–bubbling lava in a volcano even–rather than a saucepan of boiling water. The vocals are mostly indiscernible, yet discernible enough that you can sing along while guessing to your best abilities. I know the words “peanut butter” and “tipsy topsy” are in there somewhere. Dave Bayley, the vocalist, sings in a sort of elevated whisper that’s secretive yet authoritative. As if he’s telling you your own secrets.
The album version is fantastic, but I’m beyond addicted to this “stripped” version. There’s just a lot going on in the original. It sounds, as the title suggests, very gooey. Almost underwater–gelatinous. This “stripped” version is, as expected, much crisper. And, well, it’s cool. The drums are more staccato, as is the strumming of the guitar. The bass thumps rather than booms. It just feels cleaner, and while the original inspires viscous languor in the listener, this song is the type that you put on to promote productivity, sitting at your laptop with a million things to do.
Specifically, the guitar-pattern seems slightly varied from the first “Gooey.” At the start of the chorus (0:50, 1:59, 3:03), when the guitar is strumming on the downbeats, it creates a bit of friction against the underlying bass-pattern. This friction drives the song forward.
The original slows you down, this one wakes you up. And it’s also a lot easier on your speakers.
Artists releasing stripped or acoustic versions of their hit songs after their albums have been successful isn’t unusual or new, but Glass Animals really crushed it. Particularly with “Gooey.”