REVIEW: Maryze "Experiments" with Y2K nostalgia
The Y2K revival is here. Baby pink velour tube tops are being placed front and center in thrift shop windows, Britney is free, and Euphoria is convincing everyone that putting rhinestones on your eyes never stopped being a good idea. As popular as the style of the 2000s has become, we’re in the early stages of the resurgence of true Y2K music. Timbaland, The Neptunes, and will.i.am were the producers of the era, spearheading a now-nostalgic sound that mixed R&B, bubblegum pop, and rock. Hits llike “Maneater,” “I’m a Slave 4 U”, “Hollaback Girl,” “Fergalicious,” and “Don’t Cha” showcase the staples of the genre: Sultry vocals, drum machines, and production bits inspired by Eastern music. While Doja Cat and Olivia Rodrigo are bringing back some aspects of 2000s pop, this lane of polished dance pop has still been left mostly untouched.
Montreal-based artist Maryze is looking to lead the charge. Inspired by Britney Spears and Nelly Furtado, as well as modern hyperpop, her latest single blends the new with the old. Laced with a Neptunes-esque beat, “Experiments” is a breezy R&B track that begs to be played on a summer day. About wanting to “let it go” with a partner who you trust to please you, the “experiments” in question are definitely of a physical nature, and Maryze delivers the right kind of silky vocals to go with her subject matter. Like the lovechild of Ariana Grande and Nelly Furtado, she rides the beat with an airy ease.
What seals the deal on the single for me, your resident Buzzkill pop-head, is a vocal run at the end of the first chorus. To the uninitiated, it’s a pretty flourish on top of the other sonic layers, like the twinkling synths toward the back or the jazzy Cowboy Bebop-y guitar lick. For those of us more than a little obsessed with pop history, you’ll recognize the run as being suspiciously similar to the one in “Señorita,” by an early-career Justin Timberlake. Whether intentional or not, it makes my nostalgic heart beat just a little bit faster. It’s a delightful addition to a track so clearly influenced by 2000s pop.
However, “Experiments” isn’t just a throwback track. You’ll also find those aforementioned synths, which would make as much sense on a Caroline Polchek record as they would here. They, as well as the slightly glitchy production toward the end of the track, prevent the song from ever feeling dated. It’s a little too slick to truly be from 2004, but maybe that’s a good thing.
If “Experiments” makes you want more, you’re in luck: Maryze is dropping a full record in May, called 8, for you to indulge in. In the meantime, the video for “Experiments” is out as well, and you can watch it here: