Washed Out

Mister Mellow

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After the release of Washed Out's 2013 album, Paracosm, Ernest Greene took a step back to reconfigure the direction the project was headed. The chillwave sound he had helped popularize had seeped into the mainstream and both Washed Out albums had been variations on that sound; Within and Without looked to smooth R&B for inspiration, Paracosm to soft rock and shoegaze. By the time Mister Mellow, the third Washed Out album, saw the light of day in 2017, it appeared that Greene had decided to go back to his roots to create something that sounded like a pumped-up version of the early Washed Out sound. The album has a hazy underwater sound with a slight polish, the tempos are languid and dreamy, the vocals drift through the mix like fluffy clouds, and Greene seems content to let the music flow organically in quite soothing fashion. That's not to say that the previous albums didn't follow a similar template; it's just that Greene really seemed to be trying hard -- sometimes failing (Within and Without), sometimes succeeding wildly (Paracosm), but always looking looking to add elements to his basic sound. Mister Mellow shows that Washed Out does just fine when confined to Greene's figurative bedroom, surfing the airwaves for weird samples, mining hip-hop and disco for ideas, and basically just being a cool customer. Though most of the album washes by like a half waking dream made up of drifting synth washes, brief instrumental interludes, and lots of sleepy-eyed calm, there are a few songs that have a little extra oomph. The quick-step disco jam "Get Lost" has a peppy beat, a honking sax solo, and plenty of zippy synths; the funky "Floating By" has a lovely midsection that drops the beat and floats like helium; and the album-ending "Million Miles Away" is a very pretty ballad that ends the album on a pillowy, oddly emotional note. It's not clear if the album is truly meant to be a new direction for Washed Out or a sort of clearing out of the past to make way for something new; either way it sounds pleasing and easy, like the work of someone not trying to make the masses happy, but instead making music that comes naturally to him.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick