When 19-year-old Kei Wells finally decided to share her bedroom musings in the form of her debut single "Alligator" earlier this fall, we were immediately taken by its honesty and feel-good vibes. Expressing her inner thoughts and taking shots at her own running fears, her debut opened up the door to more than just fruitful opportunity. It swung the door wide open to a rising fanbase that shared her insecurities and used her words as fodder for self-improvement. An act that Wells herself attempts in her latest effort under the animated moniker Dad: "Smash Bros".
"Smash Bros" is a brutally honest lyrical haven that disguises its savagery with a gentle guitar-plucked indie pop production. Just like its crisp and indulging bass, Wells packs a punch with her cutting words, turning her waning self confidence into a blatant celebration of her newfound strength. "IRL I'd say I hide my feelings a lot," she confides. "I say sorry way too much and probably need to take an online course on 'how to build confidence'. I wrote this song about Smash Bros (s/o Masahiro Sakurai!!) because sometimes it feels like that game is the only thing that can get me out of my head. One second I'm S.A.D. girl, the next King Dedede and nobody (not even my own self-doubt) can f*ck with me."
As the new year (hell, new decade) looms over us, the desire to change and find the best version of ourselves to bring forth to this next chapter grows with each passing day. A feeling that isn't lost on Wells. To celebrate the release of her empowering track and all the fruits it will bear in 2020 (including a debut EP), she curated an exclusive playlist for EARMILK. Named for her resolute pride in gaining independence—from a dead town, an unbalanced relationship, and even her own insecurities—it highlights the songs that made her into the artist she is today- and who she hopes to bring to the new year.
Ren - "idc"
I love Ren so much. idc is an anthem for me this winter. She doesn't take shit from anyone and I put this track on when I need a confidence boost.
Role Model - "that's just how it goes"
It's about needing to move on. I relate.
Benee ft. Gus Dapperton - "Supalonely"
This song was me earlier this year before me and my dude split. I'm working on my self confidence now and doing better…. But it's a struggle: I'm a lonely bitch.
Deb Never - "Same"
Perfect for when I'm in my numb feels… which happens daily. We're only human, right? I love Deb. so. much.
The Beatles - "Carry That Weight"
I got this lyric tattoo'd on me this fall. Sure, maybe it was actually a Cowboy Bebop reference, but the song still hits home to me. I'm obsessed w/ nostalgia and we grow from our experiences so I think internalizing and learning from our past is a beautiful thing. I'm not ashamed of where I came from or where I'm going. I'm gonna carry that weight.
The Smashing Pumpkins - "1979"
This might be my favorite song of all time. My parents used to listen to this when I was a kid. It's nostalgic and timeless. It's literally the sonic incarnation of my "happy place". Helps me look back and look forward at the same time. I was listening to this a lot when I was writing Alligator.
Arlo Parks - "Sophie"
I looooove this track so much. It's a hollow flex song and I feel like everything I'm writing embodies that rn.
tobi lou - "Buff Baby"
Someone made a mashup of my song Alligator and Marceline from Adventure Time. It was probably the single most flattering piece of fan art I've received yet cause I would KIIIIILL to be as dope as her. This track's a little over a year old but it still slaps as hard as when I first heard it. S/o to Tobi Lou this is a masterpiece. If ur an evil witch, I will punch u for fun.
Gallant - "Panasonic"
First verse and G drops the line "My girl left me 'cause I didn't show her as much love as my Sega Saturn" That alone puts this track in my top 10 of 2019. This song's kinda about temptation but for me it's mostly the isolation that I can relate to.
Jessi Blue - "Frank Said"
Honestly I wish I wrote these lyrics. They're perfect.
Dad - "Alligator"
This is my first track. Shameless self promo but it fits the theme so f*ck it.
Roy Blair - "YOU WEREN'T ENOUGH"
This song hits just right.
gabriel black with phem - "dead yet"
This song feels like when you realize the magic left a while back and you were too stoned to realize. I love it.
beabadoobee - "Disappear"
She's sad about the love being over but I think it's ok to be both sad and know it's the right thing. It's that bittersweet.