Opinion | Bona Fide | “Outer Peace”

A review of Toro y Moi’s “Outer Peace”


Toro y Moi released “Outer Peace,” Jan. 18.

A staple of the ‘chillwave’ movement in 2010-2011, Toro y Moi lent a helping hand in the creation of the genre and, whether or not anyone has noticed, has been developing upon his unique style ever since.

A connoisseur in electronic pop, Toro y Moi’s eighth studio album, “Outer Peace,” stands on its own as club music with a message but lacks substance in the lyrical harmony.

Although a strong statement of self and surrounding climate, “Outer Peace” fails to break the barrier between listener and writer. Toro y Moi has the production to a T and the lyrics sometimes elevate “Outer Peace,” but his vocals sometimes struggle to reach through the electronic mania.

There’s a lot going on within each track and it outshines Toro y Moi’s efforts to incorporate strong lyrics. Although the lyrics don’t always shine, when they do, it is glorious and near perfection.

“Ordinary Pleasure” Flows with rhythm and rhyme. A funky bass line with an infusion of a throwback to the 70s and a jump forward to the 2070s, “Ordinary Pleasure” is perfect timelessness.

“‘Cause this world makes a lot of noise for me/Makes it hard for me to hear what I’m thinking/Sometimes I don’t understand what I say/So it’s fine if you gotta get away/Maximize all the pleasure/Even with all this weather/Nothing can make it better/Maximize all the pleasure”

Inventive and elicit production that is lively enough to hold its own, “Freelance” is the best song on “Outer Peace” and Toro y Moi writes lyrics perfectly fitting the vibe. This is where club music becoming lyrical is at its strongest on “Outer Peace.”

“Nothing’s ever worse than to work unnoticed/Freelance now, yeah I guess, you earned it/Life is only wishing we could load it/Level up, you’ve got to make a bonus/Mystic staring at his phone for oneness/Silver or black mirror, what’s the difference?/Imitation always gets a bad rep, man/Witches’ brew had me on the first sip, man”

A song of self celebration, “Laws of the Universe” illustrates the importance not giving a damn. Dance music for the end of the world, the song is a victory lap for Toro y Moi and his life thus far.

“For someone who understands/You should do it or drop/You’re like Prometheus and bob/You are your own boss/The laws of your universe/Decide who goes first”

Songs like “Miss Me” (feat. Abra), “Baby Drive It Down” and “50-50” (feat. Instupendo) are the weakest on the LP, although they hold true to their audience. These tracks fit well with the album, but lack strength and are cutting room floor material.

Toro y Moi’s voice is his own, but he hasn’t quite mastered his craft. Although “Freelance” and “Ordinary Pleasure” are some of the best-crafted songs I’ve heard from the genre, the album as a whole is missing a few pieces needed to be great.

Overall, Toro y Moi’s “Outer Peace” is a victory lap for a founding father of the chillwave and elevates the genre to a delicious satisfaction. Although some of Toro y Moi’s efforts in writing and a few tracks hold this album back from being great, “Outer Peace” is still a decently strong LP that is worth a listen, especially in a lively setting.