When you listen to music, what is the first thing you listen for? Sure, we all try to listen from a macro perspective — yet everyone’s ear is drawn to something different. For some, it’s the lyrics. For others, it’s guitar riffs. But if your ear is naturally drawn to bass lines, Blu DeTiger’s debut album How Did We Get Here? is for you.
Growing up in a New York City household full of artists, DeTiger has always been destined for greatness. And when she’s not playing bass, according to Vogue she’s “the coolest DJ around.” But her career didn’t break onto the international scene until just last year, when she started posting bass covers of pop songs to TikTok. She’s been releasing music since 2019, which led to her departure from NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. But the 21-year-old took until March 5th of this year to compile her first full-length album.
The highly anticipated project, paired with her continued uploads of bass playing, helped her gain a following of over a million fans across platforms. In addition to showcasing DeTiger’s sheer talent on her instrument, there are seven new songs, each with its unique aura. Although the lyricism and song production are a bit generic for this writer’s taste, that doesn’t detract from the fact that this energetic album had a lot of work put into it.
The first two tracks, “Figure It Out” and “Vintage,” are upbeat, resembling indie group HAIM’s music without losing their classic DeTiger flair. Unfortunately, lyrics such as
I’m a vintage girl hangin’ with the flashback kids
I need a vintage boy for my outfit
lack sophistication and are but a different twist on the same story audiences have heard ten thousand times. On the other hand, DeTiger’s bass lines and octave jumping still get caught in your ear in spite of the dull musical elements that surround it.
Criticisms aside, the album really picks up with “disco banger but you’re crying in the bathroom.” In this instrumental piece, the bass becomes a melodic instrument, raising DeTiger’s playing to a whole different level. Discussing the album with Rolling Stone, she said: “I was really thinking about how much I miss dancing and how much I miss listening to disco music.” That nostalgic feeling certainly comes through, reminding listeners of times when they were able to go to clubs and parties pre-pandemic. Crying in the bathroom probably isn’t evocative of happy times — but at this point, even bad memories feel like good ones.
The final three songs promise new life to fans during a turbulent transition from winter to spring. But instead of looking to the past, “Cotton Candy Lemonade” makes one hopeful for the future. Perhaps it’s the magic of the dream-pop guitar riffs, similar to the work of Boy Pablo and Hippo Campus, both highly regarded for their summery sounds. But this particular track makes you want to hop in your car and go on a sunset drive — like, right now. Intricate bass lines from DeTiger sneak in while you fantasize about being able to stick your hand out your car window again. And tastefully, she makes you hate the fact that it’s only March.
In How Did We Get Here?, DeTiger reminds us of the past and gives us a glimpse into the future. And yet you still have to ask yourself where you are right now. Does DeTiger want to show us that the past is behind us and we are responsible for shaping our own futures? After all, she told Ones to Watch that one of her goals is to “inspire and empower girls to express themselves and be whatever they want to be.” As a female bassist in a male-dominated field, she wants to change the way people look at her. This album is proof that she’s on the right track. Whether you’re a bassist or not, DeTiger’s work and goals are inspiring.