Posted by Christopher Will on 01/16 at 04:51 PM
Eric Frederick may have started Wallpaper. as a mocking depiction of pop music, but his quirky lyrics and exceptional production have elevated the project to levels far beyond playful satire. While Frederick is the sole producer behind Wallpaper., he’s created an alter ego - the sleazy Ricky Reed - to commandeer the vocals and lyrics. Frederick intertwines funk and soul with muscular synthetic loops and off-the-wall beats, while his other self, Reed, spins tales of excess, booze, parties, and women with a mixture of low, gritty rapping and singing.
Wallpaper. began in 2005, when Frederick decided on a whim to take musical refuge from his prog-rock band Facing New York, and began to spoof pop and dance music. He took inspiration from Afrobeat, and musical icons like Snoop Dogg and Prince. He quickly began gathering a legitimate fan base after releasing his self-titled debut in the spring of 2006. Two more EPs and an album later, he is well on his way to becoming a burgeoning name in pop music, beyond his initial intentions of parody. He has pegged several million YouTube hits with his music videos he’s produced for Cee-Lo Green, and he recently inked a deal with Epic Records. With his major-label debut on the horizon, and with such a diverse and fantastic repertoire of musical talent at his disposal, it’s safe to say you’ll be hearing Ricky Reed’s raspy voice on the airwaves in the very near future.
While Wallpaper. could be broadly defined as “electro-funk”, Frederick/Reed refuses to confine himself to a particular genre. Each EP and LP he delivers, particularly his most recent release, #STUPiDFACEDD, is a conglomerate of pop, electro, and hip/hop that plays out like an auditory buffet, allowing the listener to sample from multiple genres and musical styles. His biggest hit, the title track from #STUPiDFACEDD, encompasses everything Wallpaper. is about in a hilariously sublime three minutes and four seconds. The song opens with a banging dubstep beat that segways into a dirty, nasty bass line, as Ricky Reed raps out lists and plans with a kind of casual growl. Though Reed’s rapping comes off as a bit monotonous at times, it co-exists exceptionally well with the ludicrous synthesizers, fuzzy claps, and the taunting “na-na-na-na-na” that rides in the background of the chorus.
“#STUPiDFACEDD” is certainly the strongest song on that album, but the other tracks each shine in their own unique ways. “Okay” is an apathetic view on fame and fortune, complimented with a listless dubstep-inspired drop that parallels the song’s concept perfectly. “2 Pair Of Shades” is driven by grungy power-pop, and “1234” is an up-tempo acoustic jam that belongs on a summer road trip play list. The second single from the album, “F*cking Best Song Ever,” sparkles with a Latin-dance groove and a chorus that’s engineered for the club floor. “Butt2Butt” could give Big Sean’s “Dance (A*$)” a serious run for it’s money, and “Shotgun” is one of the strangest compositions in modern dance. Finally, “Broke Again,” featuring underground rapper K Flay, could easily pass as the musical lovechild of Passion Pit and Kreayshawn. Plenty of songs on his previous releases also have that same inescapable musical distinction. Past hits like “I Got Soul, I’m So Wasted” and “T Rex” crunch with funk and disco, powering through their respective verses and choruses with a solid R&B backbone.
Lyrically, Ricky Reed wastes no time with painstakingly emotive ballads or wounded love songs. His lyrics are carefree, light-hearted, and fun. When he can’t find the words to describe something, he makes them up. The most obvious example is with “STUPiDFACEDD”, which he pronounces as “stupid-face-ded,” a term that means being heavily under the influence. On “Okay,” he literally adds suffixes to words to make them rhyme: “Pushing a 79’ beamer, full of gasoline-er, stop at Dairy Queen-er…” On his track “Blake Griffinin,” an ode to the basketball star, he repeats, “Blake Griffinin, I’m Blake Griffinin” in the chorus. While “Blake Griffinin” is obviously a verb describing someone with masculine, athletic prowess, the lyrical liberty he takes using that term is both comedic and impressive. Of course, if you’re looking for deep, introspective, personal lyrics, Wallpaper. is not the artist to listen to. However, if you’re looking for entertaining, funny songs with unorthodox production and incredible dance potential, then Eric Frederick/Ricky Reed is your man. Or….men I suppose.
With his rise in popularity, his spot on MTV.com as one of the “2012 Artists to Watch,” and his Epic Records deal, Wallpaper. is set to change the face of 21st century pop for the better. You can find all of his albums and releases on iTunes, and I strongly suggest purchasing his #STUPiDFACEDD EP.
Also check out amazon.com for a selection of Wallpaper.‘s music.
Author: Christopher Will
Bio: Christopher Will is a junior studying Communications and English at Penn State. He enjoys scouring the internet for the latest pop music news and gossip, and loves sharing new music with his friends and peers. Some of his favorite artists include Breathe Carolina, Fun., Childish Gambino, Gotye, Yellowcard, and Robyn.
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