RL Grime and Jeremy Zucker's musical styles traditionally wouldn't overlap, but RL Grime's NOVA fits itself snugly between hard hitting electronic, and radio friendly pop. Atoms falls squarely in that gap. RL Grime cited Explosions in the Sky and post rock as a big influence on his music, and listening through Atoms makes it possible to hear parallels. Primarily, the gradual -- almost unnoticeable -- buildup to the climax of the song.
The lyrics speak of a lost figure that suggests a trade: "my song, for your atoms", as if a song could bring someone back into a life. The singer regrets losing some opportunity in the past, failing "over and over" as the background vocals chillingly echo. Recognizing the mistake as well as a hint of something better ("I can feel it changing") turns the song into a positive note as the last verse introduces the chorus for a final refrain with another layer of electronics added each time. The last chorus comes in with sense of finality and clarity, because everything -- even loss -- eventually makes sense.
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