March 31st, 2016 was the day that Kylie Jenner premiered her new Lip Kit with a 3-minute YouTube video. Accompanying the video was a song that none had heard before – a song by the name of “3 Strikes.” With lyrics about a one night stand and features vocal chops reminiscent of Kiiara’s hit song, “Gold”, the song became quickly viral as immediately people tried to put a name to the faces, and a mysterious three piece group by the name of Terror Jr had been linked to the song.
The members of this shadowy, enigmatic, grape-obsessed (yes, grape) trio are Felix Snow, David “Campa” Singer-Vine, and a girl by the name of Lisa. Snow and Campa had met in 2014 through Twitter, but lost connection briefly after. The two had only reunited to produce “Gold”, the electronic-trap fusion track by aspiring electro-pop artist Kiiara, that climbed to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is probably familiar to many. The latter of the two was a former member of the Cataracs, a production group who were responsible for Selena Gomez’s “Slow Down” and “Undercover,” off of her debut solo album Stars Dance. Somewhere in between the release of “Gold” and the release of “3 Strikes”, Snow and Campa met with the puzzling Lisa to form their group. As for the identity of Lisa, that is widely debated.
So who the hell is Liza? It seems that there are a few substantial or plausible theories for who Lisa could actually be. Some theorists believe that Kylie Jenner is the pink-headed vocalist of the bunch (however, she has denied this). Others think it could be Kiiara. Others reached the conclusion that it could be a girl by the name of Lisa Vitale, whose covers of songs can be found on YouTube. Yet, others stand behind the thought that there could be multiple vocalists in the group, an idea that doesn’t seem to be too far fetched based on listening to their material. The group themselves have not been much help in unlocking the secret either. Campa has stated that Terror Jr is a social experiment, and “…a puzzle, and we’re gonna give out pieces with each song.”
Though there is not much concrete evidence found in the songs as of now, traces of substantial information can be found on the Internet. However, since it is the Internet, things must be taken with a grain of salt. Up until the week of them releasing their debut LP, Bop City 2: TerroRising, Terror Jr had been following only one person on Twitter. You know who that person was? Kylie Jenner. This could support the idea that she is in fact the lead singer, along with the fact that they emerged into the music scene because of having their song featured in her “Glosses” video. On genius.com, a lot of the Terror Jr songwriting credits are given to Lisa Vitale, which backs up the claim that she is the lead singer. However, it should be noted that information on genius.com could easily be edited. As of now, it seems as if the only people who know the truth are Felix Snow, Campa, and Lisa. Hopefully, we too can know one day (and since the band is planning on touring soon, that day may come sooner than we think).
Onto the important bit. Despite having 4 singles released prior, the more relatively noticeable one being “Come First” which peaked at #10 on the Billboard Spotify Velocity chart, the trio remained under the radar music-wise for a couple of months. That was until October 21, 2016 when the band released their debut EP, Bop City, which was later announced to be the first of a trilogy. The EP was a pulsing, auto-tuned, 8-track explosion of, as the title suggested, bops abundant with vocal chops and synth-dominant production, with the lyrics taking on topics ranging from sex to religion. Something to be noted is that the only two songs that cross the 3 minute mark on the EP are ‘Pray’ and the magical ‘Sugar,’ keeping their firm grasp on the listener’s attention span. “We’re not like the other ones / Sucking up to anyone,” they always find a way to challenge the norm and strive for authenticity, or a weirdness in their characters.
After a little bit of silence in the music department, the band resurfaced on May 4th, 2017, with the song “Caramel,” the lead single from their debut album, Bop City 2: TerroRising. The song reaches almost four whole minutes, comparing the troubles of the world that we get ourselves stuck in with a great analogy of caramel on a hot summer day. It also contains some politically charged lyrics (“Funny how religion’s so selective with love”), which was a first for the group. The second single from Bop City 2 was “Death Wish,” a happy-sounding song production-wise with twisted, Romeo and Juliet-esque lyrics.
Besides lyrical growth, Bop City 2 also demonstrates a little bit of progression in the production aspect, in the sense that actual instruments are used in some of the tracks (see: “Dead Girl Walking” and “Terrible”). Below, you can find some more essential tracks with brief descriptions to get you started.
This song is about two people who are interested in each other, but also have others who are interested in them. Lisa does not want to succumb to her temptations, even though they are ever-so enticing, because she fears it will damage her relationship with who she loves. The addition of the pan flute like instrument throughout the song is also a really nice touch.
I neglected to mention that in the period of time before the Bop City era, Terror Jr released a song on their YouTube channel called “Trippin,” which samples Jamie xx’s “Seesaw (feat. Romy),” which is one of my personal favorites out of all of their material. It’s a shame the sample within it could not get cleared, because I would have loved to have been able to stream it on somewhere else besides YouTube.
This is probably one of the more poppier songs Terror Jr has to offer in their catalog. The song structure is very basic (verse, pre-chorus, chorus), and Lisa even does ad-libs in the final chorus, something that had never been seen in a song by the trio before. In the song, Lisa talks about wanting to get “personal” with her significant other. They change her attitude, and get her high without the drugs.
This is one of the few Terror Jr songs that features the use of an actual instrument, rather than programmed ones, that instrument being a guitar. Lisa sings about how she needs her lover to be there for her, because she has problems she cannot handle on her own.
While these are some of the essential tracks this strange trio has to offer, I would definitely recommend checking out some of their other material. Be sure to stay tuned for Bop City 3 as well, because I, for one, am greatly anticipating it.