Since his first album, Manners (QRO review), Michael Angelakos has been hard at work for three years coming up with Passion Pit’s latest masterpiece. Whether or not one can actually call it that, though, is debatable. Listening to the twelve tracks it is evident that much thought and life were put into the creation of Gossamer. However the subjects that are being dealt with are ones most people tend to avoid when writing fun catchy tunes – and up till now it seemed as if Passion Pit was doing the same.
Poverty, alcoholism, mental illness, drugs, domestic violence, politics – that’s only the beginning. When looked at in comparison with his first album, the two are a complete contrast from one another. The first record many listeners chose not to take seriously. Admittedly it was hard to, due to the mindless words and sugary synthy sound. This is even made reference to when Angelakos sings, “No one believes me / No not a single thing.”
What is most unique about Gossamer is how upbeat melodies are paired with deep, thought-provoking lyrics. One could sum up the album as a total and complete contradiction. A great example of this is the first line of “I’ll Be Alright”. The song starts with the fun synths and the listener is expecting this song to be cheesy and giddy or something along those lines when all of a sudden a question is posed: “Can you remember ever having any fun? / Cause when it’s all said and done I always believed we were / But now I’m not so sure.”
Shocking. Beautiful. No one was expecting it. But this is real life. Passion Pit isn’t messing around and the rest of the album lives up to that.
Not only does Gossamer play with the contradiction of music and lyrics but also by continually saying, as one of the song titles goes, I’ll be alright. This seems to be a continued theme throughout the album when really it seems as if the floor is falling out from underneath his very feet. It is like he is trying so hard to convince himself that he can figure everything out and get his life together while going through every awful thing life can throw his way.
Overall this album is more than anyone was expecting. Through the vulnerability that Angelakos produces, the listeners get a sense of hope knowing that they are not in it alone. This album is one of reflection by way of contradiction – and that is an art that many may not pull of well especially in the world of pop.
MP3 Stream: “Constant Conversations“