Albums only mean anything if you want to live inside them, deep inside the universe that they construct with every chord, every synth plugin, every percussive thump and bang, every emotion distilled into lyrics. If listening to Tommy Cash’s ¥€$ doesn’t make you want to join the Cult of Cash, the Kingdom of Kanye East, the Empire of Estonian Elegance - then I’m not sure what to tell you. Maybe you need to drink more water, put down your Wi-Fi-enabled device, or find a horse to ride.
Tommy himself would probably agree with the horse riding advice. Back in May, he spoke to us about his horse’s penchant for McDonald’s hamburgers, and in keeping with his equine affinity, there’s a song on the album called “HORSE B4 PORSCHE.” It’s produced by PC Music’s A.G. Cook, who also masterminded the sound of “MONA LISA,” “COOL 3D WORLD,” and “DOSTOYEVSKY.” The two previously linked up on his single “Pussy Money Weed,” the video for which has garnered 5.5 million views and counting, and the attention of Rick Owens, who used an extended instrumental version of the song in his SS19 Mens presentation at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Tommy Cash ended up opening the show; his runway debut.
As a result, Rick Owens is a guest artist on the project, delivering some of the hardest bars of 2018 in a delicious deadpan drawl. If Rick Owens saying “fuckboy” on “MONA LISA” can’t convince you to give the album a spin, then I’m not sure what will. As for Cash, he’s serving maniacal cackles; a Danny Brown-reminiscent, impassioned, shrieking, lyrical delivery.
Maybe the fact that Amnesia Scanner put together the intro and outro of ¥€$ will do the trick for you. Or perhaps Boys Noize’s blown-out bass bliss is more your cup of tea. A prime example of the aforementioned bass bliss being “VEGETARIAN,” where Tommy Cash asserts, “I don’t want no beef I’m vegetarian,” over an ominous synth orchestra and kick drums that are like canons going off, packing such a powerful punch that you get transported to a Thunderdome gabber rave circa 1997.
Speaking of nostalgia-inducing electronic subgenres, if it’s nightcore you’re after, “X-RAY” is the track for you. Another PC Music golden boy, Danny L Harle, produced this one, along with the impossibly ethereal Caroline Polachek as a co-writer and vocalist. Not into the rapid fire, rainbow-colored explosion of synths and booming kick drums? Maybe you’ll be charmed by Cash’s Russian tribute to Scatman John’s 1994 hit “Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)” in the intro. And lest we forget the official music video, in which Tommy Cash plays the role of a cult leader with healing properties; a role that is probably closer to truth than fiction.
Whereas many musicians can get unintentionally overpowered by the shine of the other artists they choose to work with, the stars in Tommy Cash’s collaboration constellation twinkle together in strange harmony. Charli XCX’s autotuned croons on “COOL 3D WORLD” sound right at home amongst Cash’s “Vroom Vroom” proclamations (a clever nod to Charli’s iconic 2016 EP) and the serotonin-inducing liquid squeaks and squelches of A.G. Cook. Likewise, “BRAZIL,” featuring the explosive, São Paulo-hailing rapper MC Bin Laden, just works. Tommy Cash lets the MC do his thing in Brazilian Portuguese for most of the dancehall-inflected track, adding the occasional enthusiastic adlib, and just one verse in English.
Although Tommy Cash has indubitably gained many fans due to his absolutely insane music videos, ¥€$ is proof that he’s so much more than dropping bonkers visual accompaniments to equally bonkers singles. He’s here to encourage us all to stop taking ourselves and everything so seriously. In the process - through Rick Owens saying “Necromantic savage,” Tommy assserting things like, “I'm your daddy, just like Darth Vader” and “Run with the Aquaman, I could eat a kiwi,” over beats that refuse to look any which way except straight into the eyeballs of an optimistic future - we just might glean some serious truths about the cosmos.
Have these words adequately convinced you of the genius that is Tommy Cash? If your answer isn’t a resounding “¥€$,” I hereby order you to go find a horse to ride immediately.