Local Music Reviews
Songs From A Broken Laptop
Silver Cup = Mitski (Remi Wolf + Grimes)
Songs From A Broken Laptop is the first full-length release from indie-pop group Silver Cup, and as the title suggests, the album is saturated in electronic, experimental and lo-fi sounds. Producer and backing vocalist Logan Nelson, alongside lead vocalist Hadley Nelson, expand on the layered synth and dance-pop beats of their previous TikTok-viral single releases, embracing the digital theme of the album with glitchy soundscapes and distorted electronica. As a concept album, Songs leans into the cinematic, showcasing the theatrical and classical music backgrounds of the SLC-local sibling duo.
The Nelsons’ unique vocal pairings and introspective lyrics champion the album. Logan’s pop-punk adjacent verses ballast Hadley’s otherworldly and ethereal refrains. On the lead-in track, “You Can’t Handle It,” his verses are emotional pugilists: “Daddy taught me a few tricks about this masculine fight-or-flight situation / Just to beat the shit out of your inner kid.” These lyrics—which are partly sung, partly chanted over persistent guitar strumming—contrast the ending of the song, where Hadley’s catchy and repeated “Next to someone I don’t ever want to hurt again” opens up the poignant orchestral floodgates to the rest of Songs.
Silver Cup refers to Songs as a “mixtape.” Influenced by early hip-hop and R&B records throughout, Songs has every bit of the retro feel of mixtape subculture intertwined with the nostalgic experience of a time when laptops were significantly less advanced. Warped audio samples and layers of vintage synths in tracks like “Bluebells” and “Ren McCormack” plant the album’s inspirations in the ’80s and ’90s, but the infusion of the modern and chaotic technological world keeps each song fresh, futuristic and definitely suitable for a Footloose-style solo rager.
“2038” and its subsequent track, “Mid-Tape Meditation,” provide a clear conceptual interlude for the album. Again, the duo’s unique vocals establish the mood. “2038” uses both distortion and gathering, textured arias to illuminate the anxieties surrounding the mounting capability and disorder of the digital world. This ambient anxiety is reflected in lyrics such as, “I don’t wanna be some old tool to use / Like water through a clenched fist” and “So do I go ‘til I break / Just repeat, resync, operate,” revealing the melancholy of technological impermanence. “Mid-Tape Meditation” uses low-fidelity recording techniques under Hadley’s soft-spoken guided meditation, providing an antidote to the apprehension of “2038.” When Hadley invites the listener to “allow my voice to be your guide away from the chaos” and bids us to breathe, jangly instrumentals overtake the sensory experience of inhaling and exhaling. The tension between the human experience and the isolating landscape of technological advancement is released.
Blending both digital and analog experiences across Songs From A Broken Laptop gives the album depth throughout. Though parts of tracks such as “Away,” “Kill for You” and “Olly Olly Oxenfree” feel primed for quick video clips, Silver Cup’s ability to dig deeper into the sustained project makes this freshman introduction to the duo both memorable and immersive. The mix of these viral-bound sound bytes woven through a higher-order thematic conceit amplifies the mixtape vision. Combined with the intimacy of the project as a whole, Silver Cup successfully explores the intersection of human emotion, technology and creative sound design. –Libby Leonard