In rotation: Part Time’s ‘What Would You Say?’

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A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...

Alternate ending to John Hughes’ “Pretty in Pink”: Instead of crashing the prom in her homemade dress, Molly Ringwald shuts her bedroom door, puts on a black light and takes a few swigs from her dad’s codeine cough syrup. She puts on a record, listening through headphones, and eases onto her bed. A wash of music hits her ears: It’s Part Time’s debut record, “What Would You Say?” the project of lone synthesizer bandito David Speck out of San Francisco.


Though the record dropped this month, 25 years later than “Pretty in Pink,” elements of it sound smuggled out of the Reagan era, with layers of smeary keys, karaoke-soft drum machines and a bleary sense of last-call romance defining it all.

The single that’s been bouncing around the blogs, “I Wanna Take You Out,” has some guitar threading through it, but it’s mostly a shimmery pile of electronic texture and detail that’s equal parts shiny and damaged. For all its slouchy, battered charms, “What Would You Say?” is actually a studied case of blasé. On “In This Filthy City,” Speck sings with a strained pain that can barely bother to be roused, “If I lose my cool, I die.” He doesn’t seem in danger of losing it any time soon.

— Margaret Wappler

Part Time
“What Would You Say?”
Mexican Summer


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