Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008: number 7

I've been dreading writing this one – in fact, part of me thinks I put Portishead at number 8 just so I wouldn’t have to deal with it yesterday. But no, this is a fantastic album, one I’ve had an infinite amount of fun digesting these past couple months, and one that, yes, I did, and do, enjoy a bit more than Third. But therein lies the problem: I can’t for the life of me explain, in simple terms, why I love it so much. Sure, it could be the fact that it’s just pitch-perfect synth-pop, but at the same time like no synth-pop I’ve ever heard (that is, until I downloaded his second album, Mastered By the Guy at Exchange, which I can’t recommend enough), disguising what turn out to be rather straight-forward, though certainly interesting, melodies under a blanket of glitch, IDM, even funk influences. And beyond that, the lyrics, and even the delivery to some extent, make this one of the most heartfelt electro albums I’ve heard, detailing a breakup and fallout with some of the most pathetic, nerdy lyrics, lyrics that are achingly familiar – the decidedly emo epic finale, “Until We Die”, makes reference to Rubiks cubes (“If you try to do the cube and it doesn't work out / Don't peel the stickers off or move the pieces about”) and Hollywood couples (“While Mr. Mendes kisses Kate / I, in my kitchen, break a plate / And sweep it up and dream of getting laid”), and caps it off with one pitiful request for reconciliation: “I don't know if you got my letter / But everyone thinks you're great / If you come home it will be much better / And I will be your mate until we die”. Yet through all this, through all the heartbreak and longing, runs a joyous streak, a certain lyrical and melodic optimism found in standout tracks “Will Get Fooled Again”, “Which Song”, and “The Entertainment”, that makes it anything but depressing.

Max Tundra, "Will Get Fooled Again"

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