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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

arts music review

COLUMN: Left at London ushers in a funky fresh sound with ‘Transgender Street Legend Vol. 3’


The artist Left at London has long been known for her contributions to internet comedy. As the mastermind behind numerous viral Vines and Twitter posts, much of her fame can be attributed to her social media presence.

Though Left at London, formally known as Nat Puff, may be more recognizable as an internet celebrity, music has been her primary work for almost a decade. Her first EP, “Youth Group Computer,” was recorded while Puff was still in high school.

In the following years, Puff continued to garner attention from her music and social media following. With the release of “Transgender Street Legend Vol. 1” came her breakout hit, “Revolution Lover.”

Four years later, the series became a trilogy with “Transgender Street Legend Vol. 3.” This newest installment manages to take Left at London into novel territory while retaining the signature bedroom pop sound of her previous work.

The EP begins with “I’m Not Laughing Anymore,” a tune that, structurally and tonally, lines up with Puff’s track record. Sonically, however, it makes some departures. The song begins with a stand-up-comedy style introduction, opening on “stop me if you’ve heard this” and going on to describe a man’s entrance into a bar where he sees his therapist.

The first verse and chorus have the narrator reminiscing on their woes before returning to the joke-style monologue. The beat heavily features hip-hop drums and bass while a chorus sings background vocals and a distorted guitar riffs over everything.

It’s a gritty sound with more groove than a typical Left at London song, which works to excellent effect. The “joke” being told in the song ends with the man being checked into a mental hospital and his therapist charging him a no-show fee. Although it’s presented in a comedic format, the song isn’t humorous as a whole, but the ending adds some fluff to the song’s darker themes.

The groove continues with “SHH!,” which features comparably orchestrated instrumentation and rhythm. The tune opens with two-voice bass chords joined by similar hip-hop drums as the verse comes in. The cymbal-led beat and sparse harmony keep the sound dry during the vocal sections, but an interlude after the first chorus mixes things up, with a legato bassline underneath guitar chords and voices.

“Make You Proud” is the song on the EP that most calls back to Left at London’s previous music. As the lead single, the song doesn’t exactly capture the sound of the EP as a whole, but it will likely please the ear of those who have historically enjoyed Puff’s music. It starts with an echoey piano arpeggio under the featured artist, TYGKO, who lays down a muted rap verse.

When Puff comes in at the chorus, the beat becomes textbook Left at London, replete with warbling synths and a strong backbeat. As the title implies, the lyrics deal with Puff’s struggle to make those around her proud and the rapid passage of time.

With only five songs and a runtime just over 15 minutes, “Transgender Street Legend Vol. 3” doesn’t leave itself much time to make an impression. However, its brevity adds to its strength, making it a short burst of concentrated quality. With a newfound groove complementing Left at London’s layered sound, Puff combines humor and strife to create a set of songs that are equally heavy and upbeat. As short as it may be, this EP is some of her best work yet.

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