The context that a song is first heard in, where the melody imprints itself on your brain, is critical to what the listener takes away from it. YouTuber Nathan Zed has an excellent video on this, and I’ve definitely noticed this effect when revisiting songs I would listen to a lot at a specific point in time. “White Roses” by Charli XCX will teleport me back to my freshman year dorm with its blend of introspection adventure, and songs I don’t even really listen to can be fun just by how they work in the context you heard them. “My Wife & 2 Dogs” by Quinn XCII isn’t a song I particularly enjoy but what I did enjoy was the trip to the lake with my friends when I first heard it and it’s a fun, bouncy pop song, perfect for that experience.
“Menace”, a bonus track off Rezz’s excellent album “Spiral” that was dropped several months after its release date, needs the right context to really be appreciated. I follow Rezz on Instagram and her feed is filled with pictures of her strobe-filled arena performances, and I don’t see this hitting as hard as some of her other songs in that context. There’s no specific part I can point to as “the one”, a perfect hook that meets the crowd’s energy at its summit with a catchy riff or a resounding stomp. The drop doesn’t really distinguish itself from the rest of the song, it adds a kick on every beat but it doesn’t do a lot to really heighten the intensity.
But if you’re not at an arena or a club, but rather trying to grind out a paper at some outrageously late hour, definitely give this a shot for your study playlist. The metronomic synths and squelchy soundscapes are both fun and invigorating, a steady march that makes you want to be productive. It’s not just good for study playlists either, there’s a subtle 80s influence in the bridge that toes the line of cheesy power ballads but stays true to its dubstep roots.
This is all to say that I can’t recommend “Menace” for every situation. It’s not the perfect club banger or if you’re looking for something with a strong hook. But if you like a danceable slow burn or something to vibe to alone, well have I got a song for you.