Marshmello, the masked EDM producer, announced earlier this week that with the blessing of Lil Peep's mother, he'd soon be sharing a track that the pair worked on prior to the young musician's passing last year. Today, that track arrives in the form of "Spotlight" a slow-moving, but starry-eyed song about, like many of Peep's best songs, the confusing aftermath of romantic dissolution.
The track is one of the first to feature Peep's voice after his death in late November, and its a reminder both of what makes him so great and how much he was still on the rise. Peep was a prolific collaborator, but he hadn't released songs with someone like Marshmello—a malleable producer with a proven track record of vaulting singles into the Billboard charts. He bends in Peep's direction here, offering the same sort of foreboding mid-aughts-emo-intro guitar line for him to sing over before launching into the skyscraper-scale drums that he's brought to recent collaborations with Migos and his Future flip from last year.
It's not an unfamiliar sound for Peep—its morose strains are very clearly a nod to his usual producers like Smokeasac and Nedarb—but it presents a version of his sound with some of the rough edges buffed out. He still sings of depression and the comfort you can sometimes only find in the bottom of a bottle. But this time he really gleams as he does so, the melodies just a little brighter, the outlook a little sunnier—a suggestion that overcoming is always possible, a message Peep seemed to hold dear.
Marshmello shared a statement with Pitchfork, praising Peep's overwhelming enthusiasm for making music, something that's come up over and over again since his passing. “Peep brought an excitement to music that was unparalleled to anybody I’ve ever met,” Marshmello said. “We started an idea together, that unfortunately we were never able to officially finish together. When I listen to this track now I get chills wishing he could hear it. This record is dedicated to Peep’s mother, family, friends and his fans. Gus will live forever through his music and that is something we should all be extremely thankful for.”