Controlled Explosions: We Have to Talk About Good Game

By DJ Jelinek

Dissecting Good Game’s 2018 EP “Good Luck Have Fun”

I found Good Game hiding in the depths of my Spotify Discover Weekly. Their top rated track, “Cheating the Nasa Space Physical,” snuck its way into my speakers one day while doodling in my sketchbook. It was my first impression of this self-described “Gender-Euphoria” Math-Rock/Pop Club. 

From the jump, Good Game ricochets your head off of the instrumental with mechanically incredible skill. The vocalists keep you busy by waterboarding you in the washing-machine of convoluted lyrics in this full three minute and twenty-seven second song. Needless to say, it’s very aptly named – fuck, now I’m hooked. I think the point that caught me off guard was the fact that they only have seventeen-thousand monthly listeners on Spotify currently.

With a sound this underrated, I had to venture into Good Game’s latest official release: their difficult-to-follow 2018 EP “Good Luck Have Fun.” Addy Harris has the easiest vocals to spot, with Brock Benzel pumping in extra vocals as a treat. Nate Sherman injects another into the mix, while Dan Getty takes up the drumset. The team is rounded out by Chance Wells with a deep bass guitar. Benzel also did the mixing, mastering, and guitar for this release. The EP was “recorded and engineered underneath a skyscraper” by Daxa Angresh (quote their bandcamp).

Geez, Good Game. That’s a lot of fuckin’ utility.

I’ve been finding it difficult to put into words exactly what “Good Luck Have Fun” is to me. It’s one of the reasons I’ve put off this review. It’s a bright and open presentation, but the feeling I have left after is only empty. For the sound that’s produced I don’t feel empowered, honestly I just want to give my Grandma a hug after listening to this. Behind childish auxiliary, a bright guitar, and airy vocals is anxious nostalgia. “Good Luck Have Fun” makes me feel uncomfortable in the best way possible. This EP feels like a mask; what are you hiding from me?

Good Game creates a sound that conjures imagery of a beautiful partly-cloudy sky demonstrating the massive expanse of their environment. It’s like watching a paper airplane flutter wildly out-of-control on a windy day. There’s amazement, but also a sense of apprehension. Directionless and out of control. It’s hard to understand in the moment what you’re experiencing, but when you take a step back there’s a lot of detail you have yet to uncover.

I think the most interesting aspect of this work is the lyric writing. It makes my poetry brain go brr. To reiterate, these lyrics are incredibly convoluted. Good Game weaponizes confusion against the viewer to amplify themes of self-worth, productivity, and the passage of time. “Good Luck Have Fun” loves to question typical societal institutions and norms: the American dream, sleep regulation and disorder, time management, and mental health. These are mostly concepts that can’t be described with concise statements through a simple two-and-a-half minute song.

They tackle qualitative ideas with quantitative semantics, which serves to add to the confusion. Words like “crystals, symmetries, prolificity, lust indeterminate.” Mostly terms relating to science and math, specifically geology. To couple this idea, the cover, shot by Brock Benzel, is literally a window with general mathematical equations on it. Maybe that’s why each work feels so off putting to me. How do you describe feelings using terms relating to calculations and categorization? I suppose that’s also a question to ask western medicine about, but I’m far from a psychiatrist.

“Why don’t you write a song about it;

that’ll really change things, won’t it?

Won’t it?”

You also gotta love self-deprecating writing: it really shows off the modesty of these artists and their battle with self-worth. Good Game has been the perfect band to satisfy my recent genre craze. Along with my ever growing love for Math-Rock, I’ve been addicted to small artists recently. I love seeing the underrepresented perform their work, they always have something more interesting to say compared to mainstream artists.

Good Game is like a rocket: a controlled explosion blasting off into the stratosphere through blue skies reaching something-or-nothing. In the best way possible, it’s okay to feel stupid when listening to their work. Not every bit of art has to make sense. Sometimes, in the moment, it just feels right. What is Good Game to me? Honestly, they seem like just a bunch of burnt out star-children from Pennsylvania.

Keep an eye out for Good Game and any future tours that might come through your city. Last year, an upcoming album was teased back in March. As of RIGHT NOW they’ve dropped this statement on their most recent post: “Prepping for the last couple recording sessions for the album.”

Favorite track: First Snow

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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