Vibing with outer peace


Outer Peace album, featuring Toro y Moi.

Toro Y Moi – Outer Peace


In a recent interview with Complex, Chaz Bear (Toro Y Moi) touched on the album’s title. While doodling, he explains, “I want it to sort of call to people’s attention the idea that we can’t just have peace inside, you have to have it when you go outside, in a train or a car, and you have to  be social… that sucks.”

Outer Peace is an extroverted album; an unashamedly pop/R&B turn for Toro Y Moi. Running a tight thirty minutes, it really leaves no room to spare. The album begins with “Fading,” which is full of massive vocal swells and an overworked drum machine leading the charge.

“Oh you, are something I feel

I can’t help but notice you

Feeling nothing now”


These are the first lines of the “Outer Peace,” an ode to how things blend together indicatin that you sort of have to fall into things. “Fading” is a really strong open, bubbling and popping all over the place. It’s loud and in your face, this sickeningly sweet track that will be contrasted later in the tracklist.

The energy fades right into “Ordinary Pleasure,” which opens with a bongo riff that quickly descends into a heavy filtered bass and dancing cymbals. A song about eeking out every last drop of pleasure from a bad situation, the catchy chorus helps tie together the unabashedly fresh and smiley tone that’s being built across the album.

The next track, “Laws of the Universe,” was the only track I didn’t find worthy of note. The first three tracks carry the same sounds and atmosphere a little too much, and this track is where that becomes the most obvious. On an album that is only thirty minutes, though, there’s barely any fat to trim in the first place — I certainly see why this cut made the album, even if it feels a little bland.

There are a few standouts from “Outer Peace” that I’ll probably be listening to all year, and that really pull the album above and beyond what’s expected of it. For example, “Freelance” was released last year as the lead single, and I played it almost every day for a week; it’s varnish and shine didn’t wear a little once I went through the whole album. Lyrically and sonically, this track stands a head above its musical peers.


“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”


Chaz manages to fit lines like this across a quick and scattered song that’s filled with auto tune and watery bass stabs. This song is a real achievement, amongst the best he’s put out in his eight-year span recording as Toro Y Moi.

A real foil to “Freelance,” ends on “50-50,” a slow and moody closer lamenting the constant back and forth relationship he has with a lover. While this song is a little corny, and has this pushed #vibe mood, I absolutely love it, and the second verse is my favorite part of the whole album. Again, simplicity reigns supreme here: the lyrics are nothing unique, but have such a great polish and packaging to them I can’t help but feel attached.

Across the whole project, I was most surprised at how much I resonated with and fell in love with the lyrics. In an album that feels so desperate to be listened to and moved past, Chaz doesn’t waste any energy on what he says. Simple as they may be, there’s plenty to go off of, and they’re a big highlight for me. Most notably, Chaz makes direct reference to his contemporaries and influences throughout the album.

Back on “Ordinary Pleasure,” he lifts lyrics from Ariel Pink’s “Round and Round.” He’ll go on to shoutout James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, as well as a few others. These little musical “in-the-know” moments help add replay value and little lightbulb moments to an album that feels very incohesive.

This album isn’t trying to be the next “OK Computer,” or “Dark Side of the Moon,” or whatever “modern classic” you can shove into another album review. It’s thirty minutes of really fun and exciting songs that make dragging your ass through -20 degree weather feel kinda like summer for a little bit, and I love that.

There’s a smile on this album, and a real lack of pretension that I don’t think should go unnoticed. There’s no real cohesion, no real concept or structure to these ten songs: they start and finish, come and go. You can’t think-piece or brainstorm your way around it, you just play it and feel better. A lot better.