And so the spring album reviews begin. First of all, I have to start with Neon Trees just because I love them. Their new album, Picture Show (I have the Deluxe Edition,) came out this past Tuesday. “Everybody Talks” is the first single off it, and I actually posted that music video a few weeks ago because I think it’s so cute. The album, as the name and “Everybody Talks” video imply, is pretty well themed around movies and Hollywood, which leaves them open to more epic music videos. As does the largely upbeat and somewhat 1980s feel and demeanor of the album.
It kicks off with “Moving in the Dark” which I love within the movie theme. This song is one of my favorites off the album because it has a really nice structure of verses with harmonized singing under the lead singer, mixed with a highly energetic chorus and musical interludes, and an “Ah” section that begs for crowd participation.
Also, the lyrics on this song are some of my favorite on this album, particularly this line: “She was making love to the mirror in the bathroom, didn’t hear me talking out loud.” My friends and I have a long-running discussion/joke around the fact that we always remember the dirtiest lyrics of a song best. This is particularly applicable in rap songs in which we learn none of the words, yet still magically always end up singing along at moments of the ridiculously lewd. For instance, the New Boyz “Backseat” line saying, “I heard you had a baby, you want a new boy in you?” is always inexplicably sung unanimously throughout the car. This lyric for some reason has the same effect by being offensively memorable to me that I sing it along since my first listen. It even goes along with that theme of her in the song, saying “She’s still in the mirror, honey, fixing her mug.” Inexplicably awesome for me, I’m sorry you get no justification.
The next song “Teenage Sounds” shouldn’t reasonably annoy me, but it does. It is definitely one of my least favorites off the album, and I think it’s just the repetition of what they’re tired of over and over again, particularly of people trying to be famous. This is bewildering as this is something that frankly sounds like something I’d say in both regards, yet, this song lacks connection for me. Maybe just because they were clearly trying to be famous, and does happening to succeed automatically mean you can condemn everyone who is still trying?
“Mad Love” however is by far my favorite besides “Everybody Talks.” You get to hear their female drummer’s voice which is really pure and beautiful, and their harmonies together are spot on. It also embodies the ’80s teen movie vibe so perfectly for me, a genre that I grew up loving. Also their analogies for love in the lyrics are just too adorable, like the line “We got making love right down to a fine art,” and the definition of their love as mad is just a refreshing view on the reality of teen love. This is a live and acoustic version of the song that isn’t nearly as good as the one on the album for me, especially since she sounds a bit more hesitant here, but it gives you a good idea of what you’re in for.
“Weekend” has a great groove and feels a lot like their first album Habits, like I want to dance about listening to it, maybe whip my hair around a little.
“Close to You” is close behind “Mad Love” in my adoration. It is different from most of their music, slower, more like their version of a ballad. Again there is a vibe of an ’80s slow song mixed in as it seems like he’s telling a girl not to let bad guys get close to her, something he is clearly not as he wants to be close to her.
“Hooray for Hollywood” is my other least favorite off the album. It is pretty good overall until they interlude with a list of dead celebrities, mostly musicians, that end in repeating the names Amy and Whitney back and forth over and over again. I couldn’t take it seriously after that, not to mention that in my stupidity I had to riddle out what Amy celebrity they meant because upon first listening, I didn’t realize they were all dead celebrities.
The other 5 songs are really good, just slightly outshined by the ones I went into more detail on, so they are getting passed over. Overall, I really enjoyed this CD. Every song was worth at least one listen, and it reminds me of Habits in that I’ve been listening to it on repeat, learning every song, and having a hard time switching to listen to all my other new music to attend to.