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Standout Track: No. 3, “Safe,” which takes the Erasure 2.0 indie-electro of the 2000s to an uncharacteristically dark place. The song, from the pseudonymous producer and singer, is at first svelte and impressionistic, but takes a straightforward lyrical turn and a discomfiting musical one: Over serrated Auto-Tune tears, Risk laments: “It’s when you think that you know somebody/that you open the door, it’s already too late/By the time you think you know somebody/you’re left with nothing but a hole in your heart.”
Musical Motivation: Infidelity is probably the best guess. “It’s about trusting people,” the 29-year-old Petworth resident says. “That’s when they can take advantage of you.” But lyrical perspective aside, Risk isn’t the one who’s been wronged. “It’s weird,” he says. “Sometimes you might hurt somebody else, and you might write about how they feel about what you did. It’s not as much about them but the wrong you did. You’re the actual villain.”
Aaaaaallviiiinn!! But the ominous tone didn’t come from the lyrics. “I wanted to do something dark—like Se7en or a David Fincher movie or something like that,” he says. “The music I wrote first, and it was really abstract. I always thought about getting a female vocalist or a rapper, but everyone I sent it to was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do with this.’” He ended recording his own vocals, and later in the process pitched the main melody up an octave, for an effect that’s both ghostly and whimsical. “I think of them as Alvin and the Chipmunks in the choir. If there was a video of it, I think that’d be pretty funny: a knock-off Alvin and the Chipmunks.”
Update, Sept. 3, 2013: A downloadable copy of the track has been removed at the request of Alvin Risk’s lawyer.