Today’s Song: The Poetry within the Dreaminess & Simplicity of Taxi 404’s “2047”

TAXI 404
Beirut-based Taxi 404 reflect on the darkness and sweetness of romantic relationships with the sonically laid-back debut single, “2047.”
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Listen: “2047” – Taxi 404

Taxi 404 are a three-piece from Beirut, consisting of Amin Zorkad (vocals), Andy Rustom (vocals and guitar), and Hanna Yazbeck (drums), who layer rap/ spoken word over jazzy beats and laid-back guitars. As songs they work- Being in French, it’s likely the atmosphere leads the way rather than the words- but the lyrics can also be taken aside and read as poetry or journal entries in the form of unsent letters to loved one. The debut EP, Vortex 404, (released last April) is an introduction into this.

Vortex 404 - Taxi 404
Vortex 404 -Taxi 404

Consisting of four songs, Vortex 404 brings variation while the narrative stays largely within the same topic. “Ma vitesse” is sonically sunny, a skip in the park with clicking of fingers, while being a spew of feelings directed at a (former) loved one. Romance and lust as well as death and danger are brought together, for example with ’Si tu me quittes et qu’tu n’aimes pas le paradis/ Je t’attendrais les bras ouverts prêt à t’faire regoûter l’enfer’ and the overall notion is of facing the truth and moving on- ‘Je sais qu’le bleu t’attire quand notre deux est dev’nu un c’était magique/ Mais la magie ça n’existe pas/ J’pleure plus sur la tombe de notre amour/ D’ailleurs je ne la visite même plus’. In contrast, “Vortex” starts with a hazy, sumptuous guitar riff and then flows into the personal, focusing on the little details of thoughts on a relationship, while the instrumentation encourages you to drift away. “Motifs” is a collaboration with Beirut-based duo Pomme Rouge and is the most intense being electronically and full-on rap.

2047” is perhaps sonically the most simplistic, softly atmospheric and maintaining the same pace throughout. The vocals, however, are firmly and deeply released- an assurance amongst the dreaminess- and, if you listen carefully, there’s a subtle haunting quality that matches the essence of the lyrics.

Notre histoire est un poème
Elle se vivra parallèlement, en 2047
Je voudrais te dire que je t’aime
Mais ce serait te retenir, ton âme est svelte je ne me permettrais pas
Je voudrais te dire que t’es belle
Sous tes lueurs de femme triste: une forteresse, un empire que tu ne connais pas

The words ‘Nos visages se perdent il est minuit/ Mon coeur, nos sentiments se perdent dans tout nos efforts/ Je reconnais mes torts’ are repeated throughout as a chorus, a lacklustre voice bouncing along. Translated as ‘our faces are lost it is midnight/ my heart, my feelings lost in all our efforts/ I admit my faults’, it’s a simple, unfazed declaration of a cracked relationship but with added mysticism due to the midnight setting. Similarly there’s ‘Des baisers dans l’ascenseur/ Allô bébé le téléphone pleure/ Le téléphone pleure’, personifying the telephone with its crying and creating a faint feeling of fantasy amongst the real. 

J’ai fait un rêve de spleen d’été et t’y étais
La mer n’était pas aussi bleue, tes sens étouffaient le décor
Une cave abandonnée, tu avais mal, à l’intérieur
Tu étais morte
Sur le mur dégoulinait des vers de moi, des verres de trop
Et des images de lieux de guerre, un parking, une boite de nuit
Dans tes yeux grands ouverts, des mots de grâce, un tsunami
Sur tes lèvres assoiffées, des amours, des semi-rires, ton esprit était un chantier.
Une ruche d’émotions, du miel
Ton avenir une éclosion, une promenade dans le ciel

Darkness and a dream-like element are merged into the memories (‘I had a dream of summer spleen and you were there/ the sea was not so blue, your senses suffocated the scenery/ an abandoned cellar, you were in pain, inside/ you were dead’) while beauty is coated in description (‘a hive of emotions, honey/ your future blossoming, a walk in the sky). One can wonder what’s the truth and what’s distanced, like how documenting your inner emotions on a page can be tweaked to whatever your mind envisions. As Rustom reminds, ‘Les plus belles histoires d’amour ne se vivent pas/ Les beaux yeux, les belles fesses, l’image sexy de la fainéantise/ La destruction à deux, les bad majestueux, la plus érotique des hantises/ Un peu d’seum du tabac, un tonc et le tout dans une kingsize/ De beaux mots bien étrippant, c’est morose le tout trippant’- ‘the most beautiful love stories are not lived, the beautiful eyes, the beautiful buttocks, the sexy image of laziness… it’s gloomy, all trippy.’

“2047” is the debut release by Taxi 404 and, as a social media post from August 4 stated, ‘A music video for 2047 has been in the making, and will be out this FRIDAY, August 7th.’ Unforeseen events have naturally pushed this back.

It’s true: Music can’t cure a catastrophe or bring back lives. It can’t overthrow a corrupt government, revitalize a diminishing economy, or enforce equality. But music can contribute to a person’s wellbeing and make the pain of reality feel a little more bearable. 

Taxi 404’s music is personal and relatable but also mellow and easy-going. They play with sounds in an uncomplicated way and, as is the case with “2047″, play with words too. Like diving into the worlds in books before going to sleep, it’s something that’s experienced individually but also shared together.

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Stream: “2047” – Taxi 404

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Vortex 404 - Taxi 404

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