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[review] Passion Pit // Gossamer

I am not sure if I am actually a fan of Passion Pit. There’s a petty bone in my soul that resents the infectious popularity of their act (part band, part one-man show). I mean, how many great electropop bands flop without breaking the mainstream, while Passion Pit is universally considered “the tits?” That said, “Sleepyhead” was an extremely catchy song that deserved its crossover appeal (I have to admit), and Michael Angelakos obviously has an ear for pop hooks.

So Gossamer… To begin, it’s a damned good record. I expected a loud, infectious and massive slice of joyful electro. But Gossamer is kind of a downer when you actually listen to what Angelakos is singing about. My solution: I choose to ignore the lyrics.

The beauty of electro is that you can largely ignore it while you dance, or do stuff around the house, or walk along the road smiling at people. The simple fact is that I really don’t want an electro “think piece,” so I have been pretending that it’s an all-around happy record.

Gossamer is not close to being an electro answer to What’s Going On, but the largely autobiographical tales of economic struggle, loss, alcoholism, abuse, suicide, mental breakdowns and regret feel a little out of place in the context of the music. So the simplest response I can imagine is to avoid thinking about what Angelakos is singing about half the time.

So in my make-believe world, Gossamer is comprised of a bunch of happy songs punctuated by “ohs” and fun break-downs and quirky sampling. The saddest songs on my imaginary version of Gossamer (that I enjoy on nightly walks) are about break-ups.

But honestly, the songs aren’t particularly “good” enough for me to take in their emotional entirety. I can see how the album could truly excite someone in its totality, but I just don’t like Passion Pit enough to completely digest the record. In my mind, this is a “happy record” that works well enough on its own, but I am irritated by its saccharine overtones. I am content to live in that universe, but the larger reality of the record’s themes are just not attractive to me.

In Angelakos’ defense, I have been listening to Gossamer a lot this week, so I won’t deny it’s place as a killer album. I just hope you can all share in my misreading of the record’s themes, since you’ll be happier in the long run.