That Kid Shows His Softer Side on 'Comedown'

That Kid Shows His Softer Side on 'Comedown'

by Jon Ali

First comes the crush and then the comedown, at least according to a two-part story from "America's favorite twink" That Kid. On his 2020 mixtape, Crush, the hyperpop star first emerged as flashy and irreverent — a Y2K-inspired marvel who wasn't shy about running his mouth and casting spells on lovers.

With his debut EP, Comedown, available everywhere, That Kid returns just as boy obsessed, only this time around he shows how scoring your crush doesn't always go as planned. He described both Crush and Comedown as "sisters" on Twitter, and it's clear as to why.

On tracks like the teary-eyed "Was It Something That I Said" or "Watching Me," That Kid trades in the carefree, dance-driven tones of Crush for a darker undercurrent that breaks into newer, sophisticated territory for the rising artist: it's moodier, emotional and, coincidentally, crushing.

"One thousand 'sorries,' but I don't think that can save us now," he begins on "Was It Something That I Said," packed with trap-heavy production. "Alone together and our silence makes me wanna shout/ I just wish you would talk to me/ Tell me, are you gonna leave?"

Where Crush introduced That Kid as assured and glossy, the cracks in his character are more human and earnest throughout Comedown. "I'm a very optimistic person by nature and can always find the silver lining, but I'm just kind of sad all the time," he admits. "This time I really let that bleed into the music."

And while That Kid reveals his more personal side on this project, not every song is drowned in sadness. There's still plenty of fun to be had, with the horned-up lead single, "Cobra," and killer diss track, "Jealous," which is undeniably his most fiery That Kid performance on the entire EP.

With each project, That Kid only continues to add more depth and dimension to his shiny pop persona, and the internet darling dives even deeper with PAPER, below.

How would you say you've grown musically since the release of your debut mixtape, Crush?

I've always been really open to exploring new sounds, but I've really been pushing myself to keep branching out and trying new things. I don't think anyone was expecting a song like "Carlos" or "Jealous" from me.

How do you describe Comedown in a few words?

Sparkly, angsty and angelic.

With the imagery alone, there seems to be a darker, more moody approach this time around. Was that the space you were in while creating this EP?

A lot of my close friends know this, but I'm actually really sad most days. I'm a very optimistic person by nature and can always find the silver lining, but I'm just kind of sad all the time. This time I really let that bleed into the music.

Were these songs made around the same time? They feel like they were meant to be together.

The project developed over time. I make a ton of music and when I start to put together a project, I pick the ones I feel work with each other. With this EP, I really focused on picking the songs that had a softer side to them.

Was it scary letting fans in a bit more?

Yes and no. I used to talk a lot more about how I was feeling online, but over the years I've become more quiet about that kind of stuff. It felt a bit strange to put so much of me out there on this project, but it was also relieving at the same time.

Do you think your fans feel more connected to you now?

I think it made a few of them more curious about me as a person, as opposed to just the image I present in my music and online. It seems like I share a lot of my life online, but I'm actually a pretty private person as well and don't disclose a lot of personal stuff. This project allowed them to see a different side of me, which might be a bit more human.

What song is the most personal to you and why?

Probably the title track, "Comedown." It's about an ex I had a super tough time getting over. It wasn't until I made the song that I finally was like, "Time to move on with my life, that's over." It was a song I needed to make to get closure.

What's the story behind "Jealous"?

It's a diss track, actually. I got this great beat from Umru and at the time I was really annoyed with someone. It's a pretty long story, but I just felt like, "Fuck it! I wanna talk some major shit on a song!"

Mission accomplished. Are there things that genuinely make you jealous?

I'm not really a jealous person. To be honest, I really only pay attention to myself. I guess whenever someone I'm dating or into is flirty with someone else, but that's all I can really think of.

You explored more visually for the first time with a "Cobra" music video. Are more visuals coming for this project?

Maybe. As much as I'd love to, it is a bit of a challenge to do videos as an independent artist. I'm still funding everything myself when it comes to music. That's a big reason why I did webcam videos for so long. I definitely have ideas, though.

Unlike Crush, Comedown has no features on it. Was that the intention from the beginning or more natural?

It was just natural. A lot of these songs are about actual life experiences for me and I think it would've felt odd.

If you could have a feature on one of the songs, which would it be and who'd contribute?

I don't think I'd put anyone on these songs, honestly. I can't really hear anyone else on this batch, but maybe ECCO2K or Bladee? I think they could work pretty well on some of these songs, possibly.

You're not so afraid to call out specific names in your music. Are those characters you've created or real people?

Asia's real. We've been best friends since we were seven. I'll let "Carlos" be a mystery. Some are just characters: for example, Sarah from my song "Boost Mobile" makes a return in "Santa Monica."

Will we be hearing more about them in future projects?

I'll definitely keep name dropping people, It's fun. There's actually a song I made over the summer, called "Dear Sarah," that explains the entire beef with this random character. It's a really funny song.

What are you most proud of with Comedown and how do you feel yourself moving forward from here?

I'm proud that I managed to do something unexpected sonically with this project. I'm always happy that I was able to deliver such an intensely visual project this time around. I know my next move will be a couple singles, possibly, and a big mixtape next year. I started working on it back in June. It's more pop leaning and I'm really excited about it.

Photography: Christopher Vu
Photography assistant: Brian Vu
Makeup: Makeupbynimai
Styling and editing: IDNINEONE