COIN Are The Last Gasp Of 2010s Alternative Pop

COIN Are The Last Gasp Of 2010s Alternative Pop

The Nashville-based pop-rock band COIN evoke images of a very specific time and aesthetic. The three-piece was formed in 2012, and has steadily released inoffensive SiriusXM Alt Nation-core singles for the last decade. Personally, COIN remind me of peak millennial micro-trends, like pizza-patterned socks from TopShop, neon signage, finger mustaches, chambray shirts, direct-to-consumer products run by girlbosses who will later be accused of racism and workplace abuse. Not that COIN has anything to do with these things — they are just part of a bygone era. But, not unlike the freshly chart-topping, Grammy-nominated Glass Animals, COIN have stuck around and are currently enjoying their most successful year to date.

Yes, (nearly) four albums in to their career, COIN recently snagged their first Billboard #1 on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart for the song “Chapstick,” which currently boasts about 6.5 million Spotify streams. I think it’s worth contrasting “Chapstick” with another song of COIN’s that charted on Alternative Songs, 2016’s “Talk Too Much,” which still holds the most-played slot on the band’s Spotify at more than 206 million streams. Now six years old, “Talk Too Much” sonically has a lot in common with the type of pop-rock sounds bands were putting out that year. Think: sunny, synthy, crisp production, falsetto vocals — kind of like if ’80s new wave went through a car wash and got the deluxe package. COIN, I think, have much in common with Smallpools, HUNNY, Hippo Campus, Walk The Moon, Betty Who, Bad Suns, and Years & Years. And these so-called “alternative” bands are clearly offshoots of the Killers/Cage The Elephant/Imagine Dragons/MGMT/Passion Pit/Phoenix era dating back 10 years prior.

Now for “Chapstick.” Based on what I’ve heard of COIN, it’s a departure. Appearing on their forthcoming album Uncanny Valley, out March 25, its verses are rapped/spoken, and to be honest, it sounds a lot like Cake requesting a girl with a short skirt and long jacket. Well, maybe Cake crossed with the 1975, except not nearly as clever as the 1975. As singer Chase Lawrence dives into the song’s catchphrase, “I just wanna taste your Chapstick,” he sounds very Prince-y, a la “Kiss.” The whole of “Chapstick” is about a fiery lady who could be the Bonnie to COIN’s Clyde, ifyouknowhatimean. It’s not very deep.

Earlier in the year, COIN followed “Chapstick” up with another infatuation-minded song, “Cutie.” It’s… fine. It opens with a vocoder-affected vocal and uses a lot of strings and flute flourishes to create a disco atmosphere. You’ve probably heard lots of other bands, past and present, do the same thing, but with more substance.

I hate to sit here and smack-talk COIN. You have to give them credit for hustling this long. Forged in the Music City while band members Lawrence, Ryan Winnen, Joe Memmel, and Zach Dyke (who left in 2018) attended Belmont University, COIN first gained traction after releasing songs for free online. They attracted a large local following and released a couple of EPs in 2012 and 2013. Those projects provided the runway for COIN’s 2015 debut self-titled album, which featured the Alt Nation favorite “Run.” At the time, Billboard hailed the trio as a welcome shift around what it meant to be a Nashville musician. “Nashville has been more than country music for some time,” the magazine wrote. “But what about a band of Tennessee transplants who aren’t named Jack White or the Black Keys and sound like they’re from LA or England?”

Two more albums followed: 2017’s fauxspirational How Will You Know If You Never Try and 2020’s Dreamland. In the live music setting, COIN have been placed alongside more well-known “alternative” acts, opening for Neon Trees, Colony House, the 1975, Bad Suns, Saint Motel, Young The Giant, and Fitz And The Tantrums. This spring, they are supposed to open for 5 Seconds Of Summer in a tour that was postponed due to the pandemic.

Speaking of the pandemic, COIN hustled and bustled their way through that too, scheduling a virtual show and releasing a few more EPs, which ultimately formed the Rainbow Mixtape. In an interview, the band described how the “rainbow” element is meant to represent a spectrum of emotion. So, basically one of those charts with faces and the feelings we associate with them. But with colors. Groundbreaking. The message of the third EP, Green-Blue: “Don’t turn your back on the ones who don’t turn their back on you.” That said, this project does include a collaboration with Faye Webster, “Sagittarius Superstar,” which is worth checking out.

Are COIN the band equivalent to the eternally friendzoned Duckie in Pretty In Pink? (I don’t mean to equate them as entities — despite being too thirsty, Duckie at least possessed depth. COIN seem about as deep as the mall fountain you toss them in.) Probably for the last nine or so years, they have been, sure. But that’s changed in 2022, courtesy of the aforementioned “Chapstick,” which came out late last year and was milling around the Alternative chart for 13 weeks before finally hitting #1. Other than the song’s slick, isolated guitar-riff intro and Lawrence’s talk-sung first verse, I struggle to see many other distinguishing qualities in their music or presentation that’ll let COIN break through to the next level. Despite COIN’s longevity, it seems like “Chapstick” has them in one-hit wonder territory at best.

CHART WATCH

Chris DeVille here with your weekly chart update, and: We’ve got a new #1 single! A record-breaker, at that! The synthy UK alt-rock band Glass Animals have seen their song “Heat Waves” grow and grow since its release in June 2020. I thought it was peaking when I wrote about it almost a year ago, but it has continued to rise all the way to #1.

Per Billboard, its 59-week climb up the chart is the longest in Hot 100 history by far, surpassing the 35-week run enjoyed by Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” in 2019. Since the Carey song is an anomaly, the next longest run to #1 was 33 weeks for Los Del Rio’s “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix).” “Heat Waves” is the only Glass Animals single to crack the Hot 100, the first Alternative #1 to also top the Hot 100 since Billie Eilish’s “bad guy” in 2019, and the first #1 written and produced by one person (Dave Bayley) since Pharrell’s “Happy” in 2014. Glass Animals are the first band to lead the Hot 100 and the Alternative chart since fun. did it with “We Are Young” in 2012.

“Heat Waves” bumps “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto down to #2. It’s followed by GAYLE’s “abcdefu” at #3 and, at a new #4 peak, Kodak Black’s “Super Gremlin.” The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber’s “Stay” is at #5, with Adele’s “Easy On Me” at #6. The rest of the top 10: Bieber’s “Ghost” at #7, Ed Sheeran’s “Shivers” at #8 and “Bad Habits” at #9, and Elton John and Dua Lipa’s “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)” at #10.

Although “Bruno” has been dethroned, the Encanto soundtrack remains #1 on the Billboard 200. It’s the album’s eighth consecutive week atop the chart, a milestone only reached by Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album and Taylor Swift’s folklore in the past five years. Encanto totaled 80,000 equivalent album units this week, including 10,000 in sales.

Kodak Black’s Back For Everything debuts at #2 with 60,000 units but only 3,000 in sales. The aforementioned Wallen album is at #3, its 59th week in the top 10, surpassing Swift’s Fearless for the most weeks in the top 10 by a country album and tying Swift’s 1989 for second most weeks in the top 10 since 2000. (Adele’s 21 leads that category at 84 weeks — an astounding number considering that the album’s dominant phase predates the inclusion of streaming figures in the chart. People were really out there buying Adele albums week after week.)

Gunna is at #4, the Weeknd’s great hits album is at #5, Drake is at #6, and Olivia Rodrigo is at #7. Tears For Fears debut at #8 with The Tipping Point — their first top-10 album since 1989. The Tipping Point tallied 31,000 units and 29,000 in sales, making it the top-selling album of the week. Avril Lavigne’s Love Sux enters at #9 with 30,000 units and 19,000 in sales, good for her sixth top-10 album. Doja Cat’s Planet Her, which just became Spotify’s most-streamed album ever by a female rapper, is in at #10.

POP FIVE

Camila Cabello – “Bam Bam” (Feat. Ed Sheeran)
After her much-publicized split from Shawn Mendes, Camila has bounced back with a new salsa banger that expertly slips in a few sick breakup burns (“You said you hated the ocean, but you’re surfin’ now/ I said I’d love you for life, but I just sold our house”). Ed Sheeran even manages to sound natural singing in Spanish — something I never thought I’d say.

Khalid – “Last Call”
Khalid’s “Last Call” is a journey. At nearly five minutes, the soulful singer references various eras of his career (made more vivid by the song’s music video). Three-fourths of the way through, it switches gears, merging into a new rhythm that somehow still nods to the song’s first half. He makes it look, easy, too.

5 Seconds Of Summer – “COMPLETE MESS”
5 Seconds Of Summer are going through a vibe shift. They left Interscope and are releasing their forthcoming album independently through a partnership with BMG. If you’re of a certain age, it might be hard not to think of Lit’s immortal verse “You make me come/ You make me complete/ You make me completely miserable” when 5SOS harmonize in all sincerity, “You make me complete!” But the anthemic chorus will definitely fill arenas and please the band’s under-22 fanbase.

Poo Bear – “Favorite Human”
This is an ode to Poo Bear’s son, but it could easily translate to anyone else who has a “favorite human.” Ah, universal appeal. The Caribbean beat is a good time, too.

Omah Lay & Justin Bieber – “Attention”
I’m really partial to dance-y, Purpose-era Justin Bieber, not so much ballad Bieber. To that end, I’m really feeling this vibey collab with Nigerian Afrobeats expert Omah Lay, who previously appeared on the Masterkraft remix of Bieber’s “Peaches.”

NEWS IN BRIEF

  • Jonas Brothers announced a June residency in Las Vegas. [Review Journal]
  • Greta Van Fleet announced a North American tour. [Greta Van Fleet]
  • iHeartRadio’s second annual SeeHer Hear Her event tomorrow will feature conversations with Alicia Keys, Maren Morris, and Avril Lavigne. [iHeartRadio]
  • Charlotte Cardin leads the Juno Awards nominations with six. Justin Bieber and the Weeknd each nabbed five. [Juno Awards]
  • Chance The Rapper teased some new music with Vic Mensa. [Instagram]
  • Chris Brown’s former housekeeper sued him for $20M for damages over a dog attack. [Radar]
  • Madonna released a new remix of her ’90s hit “Frozen” with Sickick and Fireboy DML. [YouTube]
  • Taylor Swift sent flowers to Avril Lavigne upon the release of her “AMAZING” new album. [Twitter]
  • Essence Festival announced Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, Kevin Hart, and more for July. [Essence]
  • Calvin Harris teased a sequel to his 2017 album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1. [Twitter]
  • Kane Brown released a new ballad called “Leave You Alone.” [YouTube]
  • Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox’s new kitty Whiskey made a cameo in the singer’s “Ay!” video featuring Lil Wayne. [YouTube]
  • MSK also released a new Lil Wayne collab called “Ay!” [YouTube]
  • Swedish House Mafia sample the Police’s “Roxanne” on their technically Sting-featuring new single “Redlight.” [YouTube]
  • Olivia Rodrigo added an unreleased Sour song to her upcoming Disney Plus concert film. [Rolling Stone]
  • John Mayer announced he was leaving Columbia Records after 21 years. [Instagram]
  • Camila Cabello did her new single “Bam Bam” live for the first time on James Corden. [YouTube]
  • Machine Gun Kelly debuted a new song with Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes in LA. [YouTube]

CLOSING TIME

more from The Week In Pop

Hi. It looks like you're using an ad blocker.

As an independent website, we rely on our measly advertising income to keep the lights on. Our ads are not too obtrusive, promise. Would you please disable adblock?