Channel Awesome
Advertisement
Astronaut in the Ocean

POP SONG REVIEW Astronaut in the Ocean.jpg

Date Aired
July 20, 2021
Running Time
16:47
Previous Review
Next Review
Website

Brilliant logo flashes on screen

Todd (VO): This video is brought to you by Brilliant.

Todd plays "Astronaut in the Ocean" on the piano.

MASKED WOLF - ASTRONAUT IN THE OCEAN

A pop song review

Todd: I've been doing this job for a long time. And, you know, I've been pretty successful with it. So, lately I've just been kinda looking back at it and wondering... how?

Screenshot of Todd's YouTube page

Todd (VO): What am I good at exactly? What do I have going for me?

Todd: Well, I think I'm pretty good at delivering lines into a microphone.

Video of "Whoomp! There It Is" OHW episode

Todd (VO): I've got solid comic timing. Decently witty, good editing skills. A striking visual gimmick that helps me stand out even though it doesn't really make any sense.

Todd: Truly enviable ability to power through [screenshot of CNN article "YouTube burnout is real. Creators are struggling to cope"] the burnout that this website inflicts on all its creators. [back to Todd] Yeah, I got a lot going for me. Which is good, it helps me make up for the many things I lack. The most obvious being that I have terrible taste in music.

Clip of The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey - "Closer"

Todd (VO): I think I'm pretty entertaining, but uh... If you wanna know what music is actually good, you can go to Fantano.

Todd: Or... I don't know, read? [screenshot of Pitchfork home page] Read reviews like people use to do. Do those even still exist? I don't know. Just go somewhere other than me.

Clip of Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar and Giveon - "Peaches"

Todd (VO): I only keep up with modern music enough to crack jokes about Justin Bieber. I have no confidence in my takes holding up.

Todd: Especially my takes on hip hop, which... have been tragic, let's just say it.

Clip of Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert - "Bad and Boujee"

Todd (VO): Around five years ago, I kinda stopped feeling mainstream hip hop. And I started drifting away from it, which... is not great for a professional music critic. Not listening to the most popular genre of music.

Todd: I started feeling bad about that, so the last couple years, I've actually kinda forced myself to listen to it more just to feel less out of touch. And uh... you know, I think I've made progress.

Clips of Lil Baby ft. EST Gee - "Real As It Gets"...

Todd (VO): I don't hate Lil Baby anymore. Although, that might just be because he's gotten a lot better. [...and Pooh Shiesty ft. Lil Durk - "Back In Blood"] I can confidently say that I like that Pooh Shiesty song, but I wouldn't try to explain why.

Todd: Let me put it like this: I have finally picked up a taste for mumble rap, but I have not yet stopped calling it mumble rap. We'll get there.

Clip of Masked Wolf - "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): The point is, I don't like feeling this out-of-touch. So, when I heard a new rap song that clicked with me instantly, I was ecstatic. It was something called "Astronaut In The Ocean" by a new rapper called Masked Wolf.

Masked Wolf: When these people talk too much

Put that shit in slow motion, yeah

I feel like an astronaut in the ocean

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean" lyric video

I heard it and my brain just lit up. Like, that flow, that nasty guitar on the beat, I was immediately into it.

Todd: And I was not surprised at all when it started really climbing the charts. [image of Obama's summer playlist] Barack Obama just recommended it on his summer playlist, high praise. This song could have legs, we could be hearing it for a long time. See, I feel good about this song.

Todd (VO): Cause I'm still kinda insecure about my poor track record for predictions, so I'm always proud when I get one.

Todd: And I feel good for other reasons too. One of my biggest flaws as a critic is that I am very slow.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): I have to hear a song or a record, like, a hundred times before I've decided I like it or not, or have any kind of useful take on it. But I was very quick with "Astronaut In The Ocean". It only took me one listen for me to decide that I liked it.

Todd: And it only took me three listens to realize: [sighs] actually I don't know about this. For me, that's progress.

Todd (VO): So what even is this song? It's from a guy named Masked Wolf, a rap name that I'm going to assume he picked when he was 10.

Todd: And he was correct to, because that's a super cool name. [stock image of...] Fuck yeah, wolf wearing a mask, awesome.

Masked Wolf: What you know about rolling down in the deep?

Todd (VO): He is, in fact, a white guy which... partially explains why I, the "Still defends Macklemore" guy, took to him. He comes to us from [image of...] Australia, which does not have a [album cover of Iggy Azalea's The New Classic] great track record of exporting rappers.

Todd: But who knows, maybe that helps him.

Clip of Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy"

Todd (VO): He's not the worst Australian rapper I've heard. Nor even [image of "This Is The Kid LAROI" Spotify playlist] the worst one charting right now.

Todd: The bar's been set pretty low for him.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): The song's two years old, but only took off this year because time has no meaning anymore.

Masked Wolf: I've been going right, right around

Call that relay

What's made it so popular? Uh, I would credit that beat first, personally, I love that guitar sound. But also his flow is pretty attention-grabbing.

Masked Wolf: Put this shit in a frame, better know I don't blame

Todd (VO): He seems pretty skilled in a show-off-ey kinda way. And that hook is very catchy, I love that imagery.

Todd: Yeah, I was really feeling it. Until I noticed this.

Masked Wolf: She say that I'm cool

I'm like "Yeah, that's true"

I believe in G-O-D, don't believe in T-H-O-T

Todd: [record scratch plays] O-okay. [puts away the record that was playing] What the fuck was that?

Masked Wolf: I believe in G-O-D

Todd (VO): Am I listening to Christian rap? Did I get tricked into thinking I was listening to something cool...

Todd: ...and it turns out I'm listening to this?

Clip of DaSaints - "Crank Dat Holy Ghost"

DaSaints: Jesus Christ up in my life

Now I got to sacrifice

Then I (Yule) crank that holy ghost

Todd (VO): Ha, yeah, but seriously.

Todd: What was that?

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): If you keep up with this shit at all, you already know this line because it was immediately infamous. Because what fuckin' mainstream rap song, like, the kind you're supposed to play on the radio for normal adults to listen to. What song like that...

Todd: ...boasts about believing in God!?

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean" lyric video

Todd (VO): And to be clear, I don't mind that he believes in God, or loves God, or raps about God [clip of Chance the Rapper live performance] Plenty of rappers give props to the big man upstairs. [clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"] But bragging about your belief in God? Nooo, no, no, no. I have too many bad memories of [images of three girls reading bibles..] youth group kids with [...car sticker that says...] "Real Men Love Jesus" stickers. Trying to get me to join up, cause [...sign that reads "the cool church"..] their religious beliefs actually makes them super cool. [...and t-shirt with a dabbing Jesus that reads "Jesus Is Cool"] No, no, no, no, that is a line I do not cross.

Todd: The line right before this is about a woman telling him how cool he is.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Masked Wolf: She say that I'm cool

Todd (VO): Sure, bro.

Todd: You got as much as one brag in, and then you immediately disproved it.

Todd (VO): But more importantly...

Todd: You don't believe in T-H-O-T, huh?

Masked Wolf: Don't believe in T-H-O-T

Todd (VO): I'm gonna assume that means he prefers godly chaste women. But who knows, maybe he doesn't respect the sluts he sleeps with. Either way, it's not good.

Todd: Like, this is weird to say, because hip hop is not, like, progressive now or anything like that. But that kinda disrespect feels weirdly dated.

Clip of Megan Thee Stallion - "Thot Shit"

Todd (VO): Like, the hottest rapper alive literally just released [single cover for...] a song called "Thot Shit".

Todd: No one's impressed anymore that you don't love them hoes.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): But, you know, one line doesn't ruin a song, right? Maybe I'm reading it wrong. Maybe that just means he doesn't believe in using demeaning names for women, I don't know.

Todd: So, I'm more than willing to let it slide. Or at worst, let it be a black mark on a song I liked otherwise.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean" lyric video

Todd (VO): But it was a bad enough lyric that it forced me to wonder: "What the fuck am I listening to?"

Todd: So after that, I started listening more closely, and... whoo boy, I just don't know if this thing holds up.

Todd (VO): Ok, let's start with the title.

Masked Wolf: I feel like an astronaut in the ocean

Ok, what does that even mean, "I feel like an astronaut in the ocean"?

Todd: Mr. Wolf was kind enough to leave [screenshot of "Astronaut In The Ocean" comments section] an explanation in the YouTube comments under his own video, where he says it's about feeling out-of-place. You know, "Fish out of water", "Astronaut in the ocean".

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean" lyric video

Todd (VO): That's not where you belong, Mr. Astronaut. You should be in space.

Todd: I'm not sure that metaphor holds up, exactly.

Clips of an astronaut training...

Todd (VO): Astronauts train underwater, [...and footage of a space shuttle water landing] they get back to Earth by landing in the ocean.

Todd: But you know what, fine.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): He said that's what it means. It's what it means. It means being out-of-place.

Todd: [beat] Ok, I did not get that at all.

Masked Wolf: Energy up, you can feel my surge

I'ma kill everything like this purge

Todd (VO): There's no other lyric in this chorus about feeling lost or feeling out-of-place.

Todd: Through most of this, he sounds confident and in-control.

Masked Wolf: When these people talk too much

Put that shit in slow motion, yeah

Todd (VO): See, he shuts people down when they talk too much. So... No, if that's what he wanted the song to be about, it's not coming through at all.

Todd: So instead, I'm gonna tell you what I got out of it, which is... that I thought this song was about being high.

Masked Wolf: When your brain goes numb

Todd (VO): Like, all the imagery is about feeling spaced out, like, you're floating around. Astronauts float, you float in the ocean.

Masked Wolf: Put that shit in slow motion

You know, slow motion, brain going numb.

Todd: So yeah, that's my interpretation, it's about drugs. Or at least, it's about being in a state of mind that resembles being on drugs. I think that makes more sense. But, that's still weird.

Todd (VO): Because this is not, like, a spacey, vibey song.

Masked Wolf: In a frame, better know I don't blame

Everything that I say, man, I seen you deflate

If anything, it's a- it's a headbanger. It's almost a jock jam. [clip of Lost Angeles vs. Houston MLB game] Mike Trout is using this as his walkout music. [clips of Kid Cudi - "Day 'N' Nite"...] This is not, like, a Kid Cudi beat under this. Or [...and "Sicko Mode" by...] like, a Travis Scott track.

Todd: Although he might be trying to trick you into thinking Travis Scott is involved.

Drake: Astro

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Masked Wolf: Astro

Todd (VO): Saying "Astro" right at the beginning. Cause it's an astronaut, righ- yeah, I know what you're trying to do, bro.

Todd: My point was, I don't know if my drugs idea makes perfect sense. But that's what I think it's about. Maybe it'll make sense if we look at the the full verses.

Todd (VO): And by "the verses", I mean "the verse". This song blew up on [clip of a video from...] TikTok at the beginning of this year before crossing over to radio. And like all TikTok songs, it's very short. Only the one verse.

Todd: So it can't be that complicated. So let's check it out.

Masked Wolf: Ya'll don't really know my mental

Let me give you the picture like stencil

Todd (VO): Yes, the picture like stencil. I am ready to get...

Todd: ...the picture like stencil. Let's go.

Masked Wolf: Fallin' out in a drought

No flow, rain wasn't pouring' down

See, that pain was all around

See, my mode was kinda lounged

Better know I don't blame, everything that I say

Man, I seen you deflate, let me elevate

This ain't a prank, have you walking on a plank, la la la la la

Todd: [beat] What?

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean" lyric video

Todd (VO): What, what? What did any of that mean? You'll have me deflate and walking a plank?

Todd: Who's "you"? Who are you even talking to?

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Masked Wolf: La la la la la

Both hands together, God, let me pray

Todd: No, we're not doing any more prayer shit.

Masked Wolf: I've been going right, right around, call that relay

Pass the baton, back and I'm on

Swimming in the pool, Kendrick Lamar, uh

Todd (VO): Call what relay? And [stammers] pass the baton to you, I guess. And you're swimming.

Todd: You pass the baton [image of a relay race handoff] when you're running, not swimming. Also, why are you swimming?

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean" lyric video

Todd (VO): And why are you in a pool? Are you the astronaut in the pool now?

Todd: And when you say swimming, are you literally swimming? Or are you...

Clip of Kendrick Lamar - "Swimming Pools (Drank)"

Todd (VO): ...drinking too much, like in the Kendrick Lamar song you're referencing? What did...

Todd: ...any of that fucking mean!?

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Masked Wolf: I've been going right, right around, call that relay

Todd (VO): Going around? It's written like a pun, but the punchline has no setup.

Todd: I'm going around so much, you can call it a relay race.

Todd (VO): But I don't know what going around actually refers to in the first place. You can't play on the double meaning when you don't have a first meaning.

Todd: [exhales] Okay.

Todd (VO): When I don't understand a rap song, most of the time it's just slang I don't know.

Todd: Maybe this all make sense to the Aussies.

Screenshot of Genius homepage

Todd (VO): So in that case, I'd go to genius.com and read the explanations. But, [scrolling down "Astronaut In The Ocean" Genius page] in this case, even there, the annotations are... pretty sparse. Does not give me a lot confidence that there's any more to understand, but I really wanna know what this means.

Todd: So, I have to do what I normally wouldn't do and listen to the actual artist and what they actually have to say about it. Ugggh.

Clip of Masked Wolf Genius Verified interview

Todd (VO): But anyway, here's what Mr. Wolf has to say about it.

Masked Wolf: I was very, uh, scared maybe is the right word, to release a song about something so real.

Todd sits in confused silence

Masked Wolf: You see it in other times, like, they talk about, like, metal depression and stuff. But I truly feel it's like a craft to be able to relay these types of meanings and lyrics with a banger.

Todd (VO): Depression. So this song is about depression.

Todd: I would never have guessed that in a million, trillion years.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): Ok yeah, I guess there is a bit in there about feeling low.

Masked Wolf: See, that pain was all around

See, my mode was kinda lounged

Didn't know which, which way to turn

Todd: And then I guess the rest of it is about how he overcame his depression by being an awesome rapper.

Masked Wolf: Energy up, you can feel my surge

I'ma kill everything like this purge

Todd: No, that's not the same thing.

Masked Wolf: Even if I don't get paid for progression, I'ma get it

Todd (VO): I just assumed it's about being a great rapper who's gonna disprove the haters just like every up-and-coming rapper writes. He's talking about how this is about something real, but nothing about this song feels real.

Todd: I'm not even calling him phony. I'm-I'm saying that nothing about this song solidifies into anything concrete, it's all abstract.

Todd (VO): Even the G-O-D, T-H-O-T stuff doesn't really come back. Maybe it'd be better if it would, at least I'd understand what that's about.

Masked Wolf: What you know about rolling down in the deep?

Apparently he means that, like, in the depths of depression. That's what the ocean represents.

Clip of Genius Verified interview from earlier

Masked Wolf: Depression, that mental side of being down in the rough in life

Todd: I would never have gotten that.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): It doesn't sound like he's fighting anything that dark.

Todd: It certainly doesn't resemble...

Clip of...

Todd (VO): ..."Swimming Pools" by Kendrick Lamar, which he references and does sound like being depressed. [clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean" lyric video] Like, even in the couple bars about how he's fighting a low point.

Masked Wolf: See, that pain was all around

See, my mode was kinda lounged

Todd: You mode was lounged? That doesn't sound depressed, that sounds relaxed.

Masked Wolf: What you know about rolling down in the deep?

Todd (VO): What do you know about rolling in the deep?

Todd: Rolling in the deep generally means something good. It means having lots of friends or money.

Clip of Adele - "Rolling In The Deep"

Todd (VO): I know that because I had to look it up when Adele got big.

Todd: Like, "Astronaut In The Ocean" isn't even one of those...

Clip of Outkast - "Hey Ya!"

Todd (VO): ...classic upbeat songs with depressing lyrics. [clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"] It's an upbeat song with nonsense lyrics.

Todd: I hesitate to compare any rapper to...

Clip of "Ice Ice Baby" by...

Todd (VO): ...Vanilla Ice, but it does remind me a little of "Ice Ice Baby".

Todd: The more you listen to it, the more you realize this guy just isn't in control of his words.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): Like, even in the chorus, which is the best part.

Masked Wolf: What you know about rolling down in the deep?

When your brain goes numb, you can call that mental freeze

Yeah, you can call it that.

Todd: But I don't know why you would.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean" lyric video

Todd (VO): Cause that's not what it's called. It's called "brain freeze".

Todd: It's not even a play on words, it's just the wrong words.

Clip of Genius Verified interview from earlier

Todd (VO): Ok, on further research, he talks about his influences. [screenshot of article discussing Masked Wolf's influences] Eminem, Hopsin, Joyner Lucas.

Todd: Yeah, these are all artists designed to appeal to old-heads. So... yeah, that explains why I took to it at first.

Clip of 42 Dugg and Roddy Ricch - "4 Da Gang"

Todd (VO): My favorite rap song of the summer is that Roddy Ricch one that sounds like it travelled here from 1988.

Todd: But even for a guy like me with old-fashioned taste.

Clip of Eminem ft. Juice WRLD - "Godzilla"

Todd (VO): I look at guys like Hopsin or recent Eminem, who's trying way too hard to be clever.

Todd: At least he's trying.

Clip of...

Todd (VO): "Astronaut In The Ocean" isn't at all. It's basically all flow, no lyrics.

Todd: In fact, more than any rap song, it reminds me of...

Clip of "Can't Stop" by...

Todd (VO): ...a Red Hot Chili Peppers song. Where you just enjoy the vibe and you make yourself okay with the fact that the lyrics were chosen for their cadences and consonance. And not because they actually mean anything.

Todd: Which... you know, I don't know, I guess there's nothing wrong with that.

Clip of "Astronaut In The Ocean"

Todd (VO): Look, I don't know if ["Three Wolf Moon" image with wolves replaced with Masked Wolf] Three Wolf Moon here is gonna have any legs as an artist. [back to "Astronaut In The Ocean"] Maybe he will, maybe he won't, I don't know. I think this is one of those hits that started to get really grating to a lot of people. But I don't think it's terrible. Like I said, I did take to it at first, I still really like that beat. But the lyrics are just so shaky, I just don't know.

Todd: So what's my final verdict on this song? [sighs] I guess I would say that Masked Wolf makes me feel like an astronaut in the ocean. What does that mean? Whatever you want it to, apparently. You figure it out.

Gets up and leaves

Masked Wolf: I feel like an astronaut in the ocean

Todd: Ha ha, by the way. Since reviewing music is my full time job now, I've found I need something to do while sampling all the latest hits for work. And since that leaves me with a lot of downtime while I'm checking out new music, I have spent a lot of that time doing puzzles. And hey, maybe you'd also like something to challenge your mind while you enjoy music. If so, can I borrow a moment to talk to you about...

Logo for...

Todd (VO): ...Brilliant. [videos of various Brilliant games] Brilliant is a hands-on problem solving website with all sorts of interactive puzzles, so you can learn about math, or science, or coding. It's a great way to pick up new skills. So if you wanna sharpen your skills with these subjects, or if you're just tired of sudoku and you just want something else fun to do. You can learn more by going to [URL appears on screen] brilliant.org/ToddInTheShadows and sign up for free. And also, the first 200 people who go to that link will get 20% off the annual premium subscription.

Todd: Thank you for watching and have a good day. [snaps, then fade to the end credits]

Closing Tag Song: David Bowie - "Space Oddity"

THE END

"Astronaut in the Ocean" is owned by Elektra Records

This video is owned by me

THANK YOU TO THE LOYAL PATRONS!!

Advertisement