Connor’s Coffee Shop: Car Seat Headrest Music Review


Welcome, welcome faithful readers to my humble music review. Today, I will be reviewing an album that has a special place in my heart.

The album I will be reviewing today is:

Twin Fantasy (Face To Face) – Car Seat Headrest

Twin Fantasy


Now, a quick explanation as to why this is called “Face To Face”:


There are two versions of this album, one was released in 2011 entitled the “Mirror to Mirror” version, which featured harsh vocals, sloppy guitar parts, and a significant amount of noise. The other version, the one I will review today, was released in 2018 which featured the same songs re-recorded with better vocals, higher quality, and some minor changed lyrics. This one was called “Face to Face”. So whenever I say “Twin Fantasy”, remember that I am referring to the 2018 version, and not the 2011 version, unless specifically noted otherwise.

Unlike most of my reviews in which I look at the album as a whole and occasionally do a deep dive into a song or two, I will be diving into each of the 10 songs individually, giving an explanation to what the song means in regards to the album. (Please note that this is my own take on the lyrics, and you can find other people’s takes online because this song has been reviewed to death.)



Will, Ethan, Seth, and Andrew

Car Seat Headrest was started in 2010 as a solo project of lead singer and songwriter Will Toledo. However, around 2016, Will had introduced other band members; Andrew Katz, Ethan Ives, and Seth Dalby. Will first released the album Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror) in 2011, which was recorded completely on his own in his bedroom, with most of the vocals being recorded in his car. This gave the album a sound that is commonly referred to as “Lo-fi”. Lo-fi, as in “Low-Fidelity” refers to a song that focuses more on the lyrics and emotion, than the quality and talent (these are often times recorded with cheap microphones or in places that are not conventional, such as a car). After Will had posted it to the music releasing software Bandcamp, it had gained significant popularity on forum websites such as Reddit and 4Chan. This gave Car Seat Headrest a cult following, as people fell in love with the raw emotion put into the songs, and the genius (and albeit upfront) lyrics. Will was only 17 when he released Twin Fantasy for the first time. When he re-released Twin Fantasy in 2018, he was able to shine a whole new light onto his past relationship, now being in his 20s.

Now onto the songs.


“My Boy”

The album starts off incredibly simply. There is a bit of silence, followed by drums that repeat “Kick, Kick, Snare” over and over until the bass guitar comes in. Soon after, Will Toledo begins singing in an almost mumbled voice. Some rough sounding guitars come in, and then the entire band begins to play. Will repeats the line over and over again

“My Boy, we don’t see each other much. It’ll take some time, but somewhere down the line we won’t be alone.”

These lines, however blunt, really drive a basic point into the ground. It makes you feel the yearning that Will feels towards his lover who he, as mentioned in the lyrics, doesn’t see much. This song lets the listener know that Will’s relationship is long distance. It is one of the best intro songs that I have heard on any album. This is the song that really drew me into this album. The basic intro that suddenly slams into the loud chorus, yet nothing changes. The lyrics and the melody are still the same. It is almost as if Will is feeling a group of different emotions for the same feeling. Grief, rage, fear, all applied to the same thing: yearning.


“Beach Life-In-Death”

The song opens with Will Toledo cracking open a can of presumably beer, drinking it, and then beginning to sing. It’s a cold open that gives no time to process the last song. We are sent straight into this song. This song, along with one other on this album, is probably the song that defines this album the most. This is because this song is more than 13 minutes long. That being said, I will dissect this song into three parts. This song has been studied so many times, and I recommend you really focus on this song and its lyrics.

“Part I (0:00-4:45)”

Will begins to talk in fast lyrics which ramble on about multiple different things, almost incoherently telling a story. A few things are brought up. First, and foremost, Will’s sexuality is discussed:“I pretended I was drunk when I came out to my friends.” The lyrics following discuss his depression. He uses phrases like “I am incapable of being human” and “I am living uncontrollably.” Will then begins to talk about how he is reaching his mental breaking point as he begins to sing louder. His voice reaches the point where he is practically screaming. Part I ends with the screamed line

“I don’t want to go Insane! I don’t want to have schizophrenia!”

The song continues.

“Part II (4:46-9:35)”

The song takes a quieter, more ambient turn. He talks about his relationship with the boy as mentioned earlier. He talks about how he is seeing warning signs and red flags in him such as the inability to share emotions due to embarrassment. He brings up the many challenges in his life like how he feels his life is too monotonous, and that he needs to find a way to “pass the time.” The song picks up with some distorted drums, as Will wails “We said we hated humans, we wanted to be humans.” He then sings one of the saddest lyrics in the song, where he discusses his inability to come out to his parents in fear of disapproval.

“And you can take him home to your mother and
Say ‘ma, this is my brother’!”

“Part III (9:36-13:18)”

This part starts essentially the same way as the first. The same strumming pattern, the same chords, and essentially the same melody. But we hear the same lyrics from the beginning of part two. He begins to make references to The Bible (which he does frequently in this album), and begins to rant about how he wasn’t prepared for the challenges of a relationship. He wants a simple, loving relationship, yet here he is with a struggling one. But he talks about how despite the issues in his relationship, he still wants to pursue the relationship. “Oh please let me join your cult… You had a real nice face…”

The song ends with the lyric that is repeated throughout this album being repeated:

“The ocean washed over your grave. The ocean washed open your grave.”

The song ends.

“Stop Smoking (We Love You)”

Stop Smoking (We Love You) is the simplest song in Twin Fantasy. It features Will and His guitar only, and he repeats the line “Stop smoking, we love you” over and over again until the ending, in which he begins to repeat “And we don’t want you do die” until the song ends. It is simple and straight to the point, but it gets such a meaningful point across. Will is concerned about his partner’s drug abuse and how it may affect him, and he is trying to explain to his partner that “We” (presumably referring to Will and the partner’s family and friends) don’t want him to die because they love him. As we can tell from future songs, Will’s pleas don’t work.

“Sober To Death”

Sober To Death is probably the most popular song off of Twin Fantasy, as its catchy hook and energetic chorus make it really easy to get it stuck in your head. This song describes the struggles with mental health Will has while struggling with his relationship. To make things worse, this song reinforces the pain and mistrust that Will’s long-distance relationship sets up. He also discusses how aggressive he has found his partner to be. He describes things like “Punching Mattresses” and “Going Psycho.” He pleads for his partner to understand that he means no harm and that he is there for him, yet despite his affection his partner continues to grow aggressive. In the first chorus, he sings the lyrics Don’t Think it’ll always be this way” while in the second chorus it’s What If  it’ll always be this way”. The song then ends with Will repeatedly singing:

“Don’t worry, you and me won’t be alone no more”

“Nervous Young Inhumans”

The song starts with an energetic guitar riff, which is a drastic difference from Sober To Death’s solemn ending. Nervous Young Inhumans is a confusing song, lyrically. It really has no coherent place in the storyline, and this song is really just a way of emphasizing Will’s nasty relationship. It comments on Will’s songwriting, and how he feels that in a lot of his songs he isn’t specific enough about the person he is singing to. Due to this problem he has, he sings the line “Most people are jokes but you’re so real. Most of the time that I use the word you, well you know that I’m mostly singing about you.” The actual song portion of this song is relatively short. The part that takes up a good portion of this song is his speech. I am only going to focus on a sample of his speech, but I suggest that you look at the whole thing to really get a good idea on what he means.

“I am a good person. I am a powerful person. I don’t believe in evil. I think that evil is an idea created by others to avoid dealing with their own nature. I understand my own nature. Good and evil have nothing to do with it. I understand myself. I control myself. I control everything within myself. My domain is my domain.”


This song, which is a misspelling of the word “Bodies,” is probably the most descriptive of the songs, which is good and bad. The lyrics to this song can get a little weird, but I think that we should look past that and focus on the theme of this song. Will is at a house party with his partner, physically. He is awkwardly trying to dance, and in an attempt to calm himself down, gets incredibly intoxicated with stolen alcohol (At the time in which this story took place, Will was not yet 21). He tries to flirt with his partner, which he drunkenly stumbles around, proclaiming:

“Those are… you got some nice shoulders”

He begins to ponder about his own mortality at this party and realizes how uncomfortable he made his partner with his attempts of flirting.

“Cute Thing”

Cute Thing starts off, lyrically that is, presumably the day after the party in “Bodys” with the line:

“I got so ****ing romantic, I apologize, let me light your cigarette”

This line is an incredibly impactful line, considering that he is willing to light his partner’s cigarette after his dismay about smoking in “Stop Smoking (We Love You).” This is the point in which it is revealed for the first time that Will feels like the only way to bond with his partner is through smoking. He sings about how he is unhappy with his voice and how he wishes he had “Frank Ocean’s voice, and James Brown’s stage presence.” It’s an incredibly happy song with incredibly depressing lyrics.

He sings a line that interpolates the song “Ana Ng” by alt-rock band There Might Be Giants to sing about how he is feeling distant from his partner.

“High To Death”

High To Death is probably one of, if not the most depressing song off of Twin Fantasy, it tells the story of Will taking a drug, presumably a hallucinogen, and having a bad trip. He laments about the fact that the only thing that he and his boyfriend can bond over is drugs. He sings the line “Oooooh, I wish I was sober,” which is pretty straight forward. He continues by singing about how his room is warping around him. He proceeds to sing a reprisal of the song “Stop Smoking (We Love You),” with the lyrics changed to fit Wills opinion of smoking by this point of the album. He sings;

“Keep smoking, I love you. But I don’t wanna die.”

This line shows how Will cannot force his boyfriend to stop smoking, and that the only way for him to actually continue his relationship with his boyfriend is by accepting the fact that he will continue smoking.

The song ends oddly. It glitches out and a robotic voice begins to speak. It says “Welcome to the Nevada Museum of Art audio guide. We hope your experience will be-” to which it is cut off by a woman (named Hojin Stella Jung) speaking about a collection of paintings she made entitled “The Lady.” She talks about how the painting represents her mental health. This line is included because what “The Lady” is to Jung is what “Twin Fantasy” is to Will Toledo. It is a representation of an emotion, of a headspace. I think that is beautiful.


“Famous Prophets (Stars)”

This one is a doozy, so bear with me. I suggest you listen to this song as you read this section so you can experience the song. This song is 16 minutes long, and is the most different from its 2011 counterpart. It serves the purpose of showing how Will feels about the album now that he is older. It is separated into different sections, like “Beach Life-and-Death”.

Part I (0:00-5:07)

The song starts with a solemn bass line which I think implies that the relationship has ended. This thought is confirmed when the lyrics finally come in with the line “Apologies to future me’s and you’s, but I can’t help feeling like we’re through”. He begins to sing about how he is both surprised and unsurprised that the relationship had ended up this way. He laments about a feeling that almost everyone who has been through a breakup has felt; the insatiable feeling that the relationship meant nothing, and that it is simply just another awful part of life. He comments about how he is older now and that his “…teenage hands will never touch [his] again.” He finishes this section by repeating a single line over and over again:

We gotta go back”

Part II (5:08-9:53)

This is a difficult section to write about due to its lack of different lyrics. There are lyrics in this section, and they are arguably the most important lyrics in this entire song, but the section is consisted mostly of Will repeating the same lines over and over that we heard in Beach Life-In-DeathThe ocean washed over your grave. The ocean washed open your grave.” This is repeated until Will breaks through the repeated lines with separate vocals that sing, incredibly emotionally I should add, about his music and how it relates to him now that he is older:

“So descend into cliche if you’ve found your holy grail, I could fill back in that grave, I could hammer in that nail!”

The song stops.

Part III (9:53-16:10)

This part, at first, is just Will and his piano. He repeats a slightly changed version of the line previously sung “So descend into cliche if the music has forsaken you.” He sings in a falsetto that sounds almost like a dog howl. Throughout the album, there has been a repeating “Dog motif”. In fact, there is a constant animal motif in most of his music, especially dogs in Twin Fantasy however. Anyways, a repeating piano part plays for a while while some scattered bible quotes play in the background. Suddenly, the entire band comes in playing loudly almost as is there is a sudden burst of energy or rage on Wills end in this story. Samples of the vocals from the song “My Boy (Twin Fantasy)” are interpolated into the music, while trumpets play in the background. The song ends with a bible quote that fits perfectly with the theme of this song:

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”


“Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)”

Probably the most explicit lyrics off of this album are on this song, but I think that despite the odd lyrics and sexual innuendos, the lyrics are beautifully sad. The song repeats the line “I haven’t looked at the sun for so long, I’d forgotten how much it hurts to.” He reveals the thing that has been a lingering question throughout this album; What is/was the “Twin Fantasy”. He reveals that him and his lover wanted to be one, they wanted to be together in happiness as twins. But as revealed to us by these lyrics, it was but a fantasy. The album comes to a closure with Will giving a speech about the modernity of the album itself, and then repeating the same lines over and over:

“When I come back, you’ll still be here”

If you listen to this song on a vinyl, these last few seconds are in a “locked groove”, which repeats the last few seconds over and over into eternity until you lift the needle.


Vocals: 6/10

Will Toledo’s voice is unconventional. Personally, I really like his voice. It adds a layer of emotion that shows how real the emotions are. He doesn’t focus on making the songs sound radio quality, yet despite the rawness of the vocals, the songs still became popular.

Guitar: 8/10

I think that there are some really great guitar riffs on this album, especially on the song Nervous Young Inhumans.

Bass: 9/10

There are some bass heavy songs on this album, such as My Boy (Twin Fantasy) and Famous Prophets (Stars). They all have really simple bass lines that somehow, despite their simplicity, add another level of emotion that some other instruments just couldn’t.

Drums: 9/10

There are some really great and unique drum tracks on this album. They are usually over compressed, and occasionally made with a drum machine, but this album has some really fantastic drums.

Lyrics: 10/10

If there is anything that this album can be memorized for, it would be the lyrics. This album has some really fantastic and quotable (and tattooable) lyrics. The meanings behind every song, and the way that they are structured, makes this album one of the most memorable music experiences I have ever heard.

Uniqueness: 10/10

No songs on this album are the same. Some aren’t even in the same genre. Despite this, the band uses reprises of melodies and lyrics to show different things happening. Every single song is great in this way.


Overall Score: 9/10

This is undeniably a fantastic piece of music. There are so many emotions behind this album, and so many ways a lot of teenagers could relate to it. I suggest you give it a listen. Even if you don’t particularly like it, it’s definitely not for everyone, it is worth it to at least say that you’ve heard it.


By the way, you can request albums for me to review. If you have an album for me to review, just leave the name of it in the comments and I will write a review.