But through most of the record, Phoenix marks out their territory in the sparsely-attended arena of new soft-rock and demonstrating the genre's compatibility with indie tropes.
I can't really argue the rating Rob Mitchum gave this album, but what he points out as strengths I find to be weaknesses. This is a matter of personal taste and everyone is entitled to their own. However I have never "gotten" Phoenix. Everything they do is nice enough, but immediately forgettable. So in the spirit of being arbitrary I am going to voice my opinions by responding to lyrics from the new album. Enjoy
Don't you wanna stop complaining? Um, no. Make a record I will listen to more than twice and maybe we can talk. Alphabetical was a step in the right direction (Everything is Everything was pop gold), but I have listened to this new one three times and don't see the allure. In fact it has forsaken the momentum of the last album in favor of 10 songs that sound suspiciously like each other. Good albums don't make you think your cd player is stuck on repeat. Mitchum says the album is messier, but it still feels as if it was made by a giant Gallic computer that dispenses pleasant, non-descript French rock.
I'm gonna scream 100,000 words. No you're not. You haven't screamed anything before and you certainly aren't starting now. That's part of the problem. I am not saying Phoenix would work better with some yelps, but Mr. Mars vocals reached their apex about an album and a half ago. 'Carefully calibrated cool' is how Pitchfork describes the vocals. This is how I like my menthols, not my singers. Some people love Mars, but there never seems to be any variance in how he sounds. I still maintain my stance that Air should do a whole album with Mars on vocals. That I could look forward to. Their brand of electronic pop is more suited to his voice than the more traditional band set up. I am bored with it.
You know your French Well. I like to think so. If people like Phoenix, I would recommend they seek out any of the 'Le Pop' compliations, which is all French pop songs that were never released in the US in album form. Its uniquely French, not a French band trying to sound like an American one. I believe there are three in the series right now and they are all severely under appreciated.
Then it's hard to tell you kindly that isn't what I'm like. You're right. I am being too harsh on you. This is who Phoenix is, and that ain't gonna change. They have made their name with this sound and aren't likely to radically change it anytime soon. There is nothing here that really is 'bad' per se. In fact the title track is pretty good. Its just the rest of the album is pretty mundane. I hate that more than straight ahead bad. I wonder when that started? I may need a break from music.
Cut off you hair yeah that's it! How nice of you to notice my new do. It was time for the beard to go.
Guess I'd better find us a way out. Me too. Lets make it simple. Did you like the previous Phoenix albums? Well then this is for you. If you didn't this will not change your mind. 5.0 sez me.