Illustration: Iris Gottlieb
The same few seconds of nostalgia-tinged soft psychedelia have appeared in countless TikTok videos (or at least half a million, if you insist), and they come from Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit.” And thanks to its power to stop our aimless scrolling, the song is spending its third week atop the Billboard Hot 100.
Lacy is an artist dedicated to changing form and convention, from his records with the internet to his production for artists like Mac Miller and Vampire Weekend. Even solo work is unpredictable, moving deftly between genres in the vein of artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder. (Her 2015 track “CU Girl” flips halfway through and plays backwards.) “Bad Habit” is specifically rooted in the micro-genre of chamber pop, a scene that Lacy helped launch and which went from the Spotify algorithms to the top of the charts.
On this episode of Pop-enabled, we dig deeper into Lacy’s career and his ability to craft pristine melodies. Listen to it below or wherever you get your podcasts.