Passion Pit’s “Gossamer”: An Album Review

By Crisa Valadez

 

You may know Passion Pit from their hit song “Sleepyhead” but Michael Angelakos proves that he and his band mates are here to stay with Gossamer. Angelakos sings about topics like divorce, drugs, unemployment, and immigration, all with his signature high pitched serendipity and synths to match. It’s an album so monumental, it has its own app. It would be an injustice to simply choose between “good” or “bad” so let’s break it down track-by-track.

  1. Take a Walk- It’s a great track, but honestly, it didn’t feel right as being the introduction to the album. Upon first listen, the song doesn’t make sense. There were vague references to divorce and poverty, and then all of a sudden you’re taking a walk at full volume. Once I read between the lines, however, I understood that taking a walk to Angelakos was his version of therapy; it helped him avoid all the problems he’s singing about. This song is heavy, but it imitates classic Passion Pit with a peppy, high pitched chorus. Although it’s now associated with Taco Bell, this is a great musical pick-me-up, and should definitely make its way on your playlist.
  2. I’ll Be Alright- Get ready to board a rollercoaster ride of synth sounds and percussion. The introduction ends perfectly in time to keep you migraine-free. “Can you remember ever having any fun,” blasts at you in an almost loony-sounding tone. The drum filled chorus delivers an instant sing-along friendly hook. Although this song surfaces as a fun ride, it’s actually about being a prisoner of your own brain. Angelakos makes you feel welcome in his imagination, even if he wasn’t. Although it has an ulterior meaning, this song is new, fresh, and sure to become a new party anthem.
  3. Carried Away- I’m not particularly a fan of how this track starts off. It almost sounds like someone got a high score on Galaga. Nevertheless, it’s full of just plain fun. I’m not entirely sure what song is entirely about, but all I know is we’re not friends.
  4. Constant Coversations- This is the soundtrack to a long drive into the sunset in your best friend’s convertible. I may be playing favorites, but this is one of the best tracks on the album. Although it isn’t classic Passion Pit, this song is a breath of fresh air for any long term fan. With its upbeat, relaxing vibe, you wouldn’t realize that the song has a darker meaning. The title “Constant Conversations” refers to Angelakos’ never ending arguments with his girlfriend and himself. While it’s somewhat relatable, I can still take the song for what it is: a calming tune with a great beat that makes my ears happy.
  5. Mirrored Sea- This is probably one of the heaviest tracks on Gossamer. It mixes pounding synth sounds with almost ghost-like lyrics. Take the chorus, for example. “The waves they’re haunting me/they’re all I see” explains Angelakos’ emotions being a direct reflection for him; he was watching himself fall apart. The use of metaphor in such an ethereal song is almost M83-esque.
  6. Cry Like a Ghost- I haven’t heard this many ‘Silvia’s’ in one song since Miike Snow’s. Regardless, this track has a cool vibe and instrumentals to match. What actually began as a letter to his girlfriend morphed into a ballad with Angelakos’ signature squeaks in the background. I especially like the way the lyrics fluctuate between piano and forte with a Washed Out-style canvas to tie it all together.

    Michael of Passion Pit performing at The Backyard in Austin, Texas on September 15th.

  7. On My Way- Another true yet twisted declaration of love, this song urges the listener to look past it’s flaws and want it for what it is. Its smooth vocals and effervescent keyboards make me feel like I’m watching a musical. It’s a tad too cheerful for your morning routine, but great to get you through a long day.
  8. Hideaway- The intro resembles a distorted music box and lasts for about a minute. Aside from that, the song is lovely and includes yet another addictive chorus. If you were to look up the lyrics, you would see that they’re completely contradictory. This small semblance of humor is refreshing from such a heavy album. It almost feels like the whole band is playfully teasing us. Why not share a smile and play along?
  9. Two Veils to Hide My Face- Okay, so it’s only an interlude. I still love all 34 seconds of this prayer. Angelakos’ strong male vocals are accompanied by either a girl or a guy singing through autotune, giving it a nice layered feel.
  10. Love Is Greed- The first ten seconds of the song sound like the sound effects to a middle school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After that terror, we cascade into a  Vampire Weekend-esque flow of lyrics that basically justify the title. Without the happy yet mundane guitar riffs, this song would sound almost angry.
  11. It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy- Imagine Coldplay and Foster the People had a baby, and add some signature Passion Pit chipmunk sounds. It’s a slower song with a lot of repetition for effect when it comes to the lyrics. It’s slow enough to lull you into dreamland, yet the bubbly chorus is enough to make your morning better. We can all relate to a bit of “Don’t call me crazy, I’m happy”.
  12. Where We Belong- For an album with such a hopeful spirit, I was let down with it ending on such a sad note. It’s a good song, but it sounds completely bizarre on such a consistent album. We went from “crazy happy” to a suicide attempt. It’s an okay song, but not for those who are easily affected by emotions.
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