Deathbomb Arc has a heady schedule this year, and Ed Balloon’s No Smoking is just the stupid awesome tip of the gall dang iceberg. It has every right to be recognized, with Mr. Balloon’s soul croon melting all over his sick production, a sticky joy ride of club-friendly introspection. “Wait, did you just say ‘club-friendly’ and ‘introspection’ in the same sentence?” I sure did, you dim bulb. You’re going to have to get used to the concept if you’re going to dig on some Ed Balloon.
Although No Smoking is a five-song EP of head-nodding intricacy, “Graduate” is the standout. Over a smooth jazz bassline (not a “smooth-jazz bassline,” there’s a difference, obvs) and neck-snapping percussion programming, Balloon (I love typing that and pretending it’s his surname) sings about a girl who went to college and likes going to the club, and damn, she’ll be “poppin’ it.” But only in the club. You’ve got to keep that straight, because the distinction between the nightlife and what goes on during the day is the key to understanding the relationship between this girl and Balloon. The club is for blowing off steam – it doesn’t mean the relationships made there will last. I think this sort of gets Ed Balloon down a little bit, because he knows he’s just a peripheral entity to this girl, even though he finds her mesmerizing, fascinating, and beautiful. But he wishes nothing but the best for her – he’s not some skeezy jerk simply out to score. There’s a sample of a crowd cheering at the end of the song, presumably in response to this girl receiving her diploma, and Balloon says, with wry but sincere pride, “I knew you could do it.” It’s surprisingly touching.
This analysis is meant to be read on a web page only – you need to stop reading right here and go check out the song. It’s one of the catchiest things you’ll find flitting through your earbuds today, perhaps ever, and that chorus is as 100% right on as it gets. The track is perfect for spring drives, windows down, volume cranked. It’s perfect for the doldrums of the school year, head bent over a book. And yes, it’s perfect for the club – get it in heavy rotation! You’ll be poppin’ it, poppin’ it, indeed.
Now to go figure out why Ed Balloon seems to always be photographed with a red balloon… Oh, [R]Ed Balloon! I get it!