A few song reviews
Here are a couple of song reviews. While both are catchy indie songs, one is sarcastic and the other unabashedly elated.
MGMT – “Time to Pretend”
“Time to Pretend” is a grab bag of intentionally lo-fi sounds. Squealing synthesizers, a growling two-note melody, and fuzzed-up drum section cultivate a finely tuned DYI-feel. The music video emulates these same characteristics by using cheap special effects coupled with psychedelic imagery. The lyrics, an extended jab at the rockstar lifestyle, either match or counter the music – I’m not quite sure which.
What makes the track for me is the aforementioned two-note growl. The simplicity mixed with the so-cheap-it’s-expensive depth of the sound is quality stuff.
The thing that stops me from being too excited about this interesting duo is that there other songs don’t explore similar territory. For example, “Electric Feel” is pure disco-revival. In fact, a lot of their stuff in general, like “The Youth” and “Weekend War”, borrows from 70s pop. This isn’t inherently bad, it’s just (1) not my cuppa and (2) I think it prevents them from coming up with more startlingly new ideas like those in “Time to Pretend”.
Los Campesinos! – “You! Me! Dancing!”
The heavily exclaimed “You! Me! Dancing!” was originally released on Los Campesinos!’s 2007 EP and re-released in a slightly different form for their 2008 debut album. I will be discussing the former version. First, the buildup: the gentle electric guitar starts off strumming a few idle chords until it sticks on one while increasing in tempo. The rising distortion coupled with the early kick drum entrance creates a fantastic contrast as the distorted guitars drop out, leaving a pure riff/4-4 bass drum combo. After the entire incredibly catchy guitar riff phrase completes, it’s joined by the bass line, adding depth and minimizing redundancy. The song finally heads into full gear around 1:30, as the song gains its full rhythmic and melodic depth. The tinkly xylophone (or whatever it is) adds a touch of whimsy in a Baroque-pop sort of way.
The lyrics are incredibly joyous – a self-acknowledging celebration of innocense and escape. All sung in a thick Welsh accent. The refrain of “if there’s one thing I could never confess/it’s that I can’t dance a single step” (especially when briefly sung in duet form) accentuates the sweetness and naivete of the song.
Even at around 6.5 minutes, “You! Me! Dancing” does not for a moment feel long.
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Arbitrary song of the day: Editors – Colours