The Sounds’ new album is exactly that. It’s something to dance to, something to think about, something to get your hands on as quickly as possible, and something to help you create mayhem. It invokes all the right things about new age music while maintaining modern and fresh melodies.
Their tracklist is jam-packed with well-conceived tunes. The album is near-perfect. There isn’t a weak track on this album. You can put it on while getting ready to go out and it will hype you up. You can play it when you’re bored and you will perk up. It’s functional in practically any situation where you need a pick-me-up.
The album begins with “It’s So Easy” full-blown bass and drum attack on your ears that builds until it peaks with the lyrics “It’s so easy when you know how it’s done/ You gotta seize the moment before it’s gone” which repeats as the tone lightens into an upbeat mini-track. This delectable little opening transitions smoothly into “Dance With the Devil” which actually uses the same theme and riff in its intro, making a two-part masterpiece of new age bubblegum. “Dance With the Devil” has an updated “Phantom of the Opera”-esque verse, which leads into a domo arigato bridge that will put Mr. Roboto to shame, and finally you get to the keyboard/guitar-heavy and delightfully jumpy chorus. Please, please, PLEASE listen to these songs with your MP3 player’s bass boost on or some equivalent setting. It will enhance the experience like you have no idea. Your mind will = BLOWN. You will have to pick up the pieces wherever they fell. And once you do you will listen to them all over again.
Once you’ve had your fill of those, you can progress to “The No No Song.” The title is quite literal. It’s a big “f*ck you” song. With lyrics like “‘Cos I’ve had enough/ It’s not me/ It is you!” This song makes me feel better every single time I want to tell somebody they suck at life and should really just get lost somewhere far, far, away where they can’t spread their suckiness to the general public. It’s a pop-punk rocker’s anthem start to finish.
“Better Off Dead” was the lead single from the album. It’s brash and bold. It’s non-apologetic in both sound and lyrics. This is the most dance-worthy track on the album and it begins with the words, “Tell me why don’t you kill me?/And put gun against my head./I’m better off dead.” It’s a dance track begging for love. And because it’s so demanding on your ears, you will undeniably give your love to it. And maybe your sex. Because it’s just way too sexy for you to hold back. Why are sex and death always paired up? Not that I don’t think it makes for a perfect song like this one. I’m just musing about it now. After all, sex is so good. Why spoil it with thoughts of being six feet under? And, speaking of death… I find it funny how this was not one of their two songs chosen for the Scream 4 soundtrack, especially because I think it’s more appropriate than “Yeah Yeah Yeah.”
“Diana” follows it. Think of it as the “Roxanne” of the 2010s. It has all the right elements- a Sting & The Police reggae-rock vibe, the repetition of a girl’s name with lyrics describing her unabridged and very uninhibited sexual conduct in a longing, lusty voice, and amazing guitar riffs. And yes, Maja sings it so you get the added bonus that it’s a lesbian theme song. Go girl power!
“Something to Die for,” the title track comfortably placed in the middle. This was the second single from the album. It, too, is edgy. It’s pretty obvious that The Sounds are using their material to best achieve buzz about the album. With two very forceful tracks to reckon with the only thing you can do is pick up the album and take a sampling. If nothing else, pure curiosity will drive you there. Personally, this is not in the top of my favorite tracks on the album. As a fan, this sound familiar territory. The other tracks took greater risk. This resembles “Tony the Beat” (from Dying to Say This to You) but the chorus isn’t as memorable.
“Yeah Yeah Yeah,” like “The No No Song” will not win any awards for most creative song title of the year, but it should win awards for its content. This song is one of my personal favorites on the album. It has a catchy little flute melody running through it, as well as cowbell. Christopher Walken would be proud. It’s kind of funny however, since it’s one of the more upbeat songs on the album and yet it has the lyrics “I like that you can slow down…” Go figure.
“Won’t Let Them Us Apart” has a chant and answer format. This will be the audience participation piece when they perform live. And their live performances can get pretty fun. It’s one of their rockier records and it shows their versatility. However, if I was going to throw a track under the bus, this would be it. It doesn’t mesh with the others. It kills the flow just because it is so different from the remainder of the album. To be fair, I will sum it up to a placement issue rather than selection issue. It may have been better positioned next to “Wish You Were Here.”
“The Best of Me” is the most melancholy piece on the album, but it could be the defining piece. Think Muse, but with female vocals and an 80s influence. It’s the most sincere lyrically, posing a question for us to ponder. Why do we lose hope and become jaded as we age? Why is the loss of innocence so sad? With experience we really shouldn’t lose a sense of ourselves. The chorus really hits these feelings on the head with, “‘Cos we’re still young but we are getting older./ Our hearts are still warm but they are getting colder.”
And finally, we get to “Wish You Were Here.” The Sounds made an interesting choice by closing the album with a low-key acoustic piece. It’s humble but beautiful because it’s stripped down to the bare bones. The raw, coffeehouse essence suits them just as well as the bar/club scene. They really create music that connects to you, no matter where you choose to wander.