Hot 100 Review: Mood by 24kGolden (feat. Iann Dior)

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Something that often drives me when writing is not only trying to figure out my opinions on a song, but to try and understand why a song is popular in the first place. But moreso than that, it is an exercise in getting into other people’s heads. Mood is a fascinating example of that.

Coming in at barely under two minutes and thirty seconds, it is a concise song that packs two verses and a chorus repeated three times all in the search of what feels like an internal monologue of a fight someone would never actually say… except for in this song. It’s got a really solid guitar riff and vibe that pulses throughout the song. The music pairs well with the vocals. 24kGoldn and Iann Dior have voices that feel very classicly alternative-punk while being understated. Like it’s a song made to sing or mumble along to.

The line about how this feels like an argument or retort in someone’s head to an argument, but would never actually say is built off the chorus. A blatant call out of tone policing in the first line, “Why you always in a mood? Fuckin ’round, actin’ brand new,” is a line visceral enough to get across the point but feels just generic enough to fit any situation. Like a more forceful “You’ve changed,” or something. And, even though it’s kind of a joke that he’s calling the person out, and is tone policing feels the need to clarify and correct in the next line, and ends with almost a dismissal of classic fights by saying, “Baby, I ain’t playing by your rules/Everything look better with a view,” as a way to say that he knows how this argument is supposed to play out but knows how to mix it up. It’s a subversion.

The first verse and pre-chorus by Iann Dior stays on that idea of suberverting an argument or trying to not have one but has a lot of disjointed lines that make it feel off. The real standout lines being, “Baby, I am not your dad, it’s not all you want from me/ I just want your company,” is used to direct how the argument is not really at him but at someone else. To put a point on it he says the best line in the song, “Girl, it’s obvious, elephant in the room.” The problem is so big it’s an elephant she’s ignoring and that she started in, causing the argument. That being supported in the following lines.

The biggest weakness the song has is the pre-chorus for it leaning too hard in the open-ended direction. The two lines, “We play games of love to avoid the depression/We been here before and I won’t be your victim,” should work and be self-explanatory, but feel off. The first line doesn’t specify what he means by games of love. I would imagine it’s a type of addiction to romance, but the need to fight and start arguments might be a form of self-harm. A wanting to feel bad because feeling bad feels good (try to diagram that sentence ELA teachers). These questions infect the second, more on brand line, about trying to flip the script. Unfortunately it’s not direct enough about what that means. How the person will not be a victim anymore. The chorus that follows feels like it’s trying to answer that. The calling the person out for “actin’ brand new,” and the changing up the location, but the rest is up to imagination.

The second verse is a final closure on what the song is about even as it still has a chorus and pre-chorus left. It’s a direct call to how even as he might be in love he doesn’t want to constantly argue, or being messed with. He knows she can love him but wants to get past everything else.

The video is incredibly straightforward. It cuts between the two artists rapping for the camera surrounded by women with classically scary additions like horns or snakes. One of 24kGoldn in a backdrop of sunflowers, one of Iann Dior in a loft bedroom arguing with a woman, the ant shot of looking up at the duo during a thunderstorm, and then 24kGoldn with a girl and getting into an argument while at a parking destination. All the symbolism is really obvious. What feels less obvious is how whiny the song sounds when facial expressions are added. Like the lyrics in a vaccum feels progressive, but added with the vocals and images comes off far whiner and like they’re ducking an argument over trying not to have one. Like it pushes the dismissiveness of their tone far harder with the context than when just listening to it by itself.

Even with the new whiny and dismissive tone it’s still enjoyable. The lyrics are not deep enough and with a song this short it wouldn’t be hard to beef it up, but I can also see (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) a lot of “good” TikTok joke videos using key lines from the song. Not to say I want that, but this song just puts those in my mind. You could say it puts me… in a mood!

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