After the release of Neon Trees’ single “Sleeping with a Friend” in January, the small town band from Provo, Utah released their third album on April 22. The alternative dance rock album called “Pop Psychology” was released through Island Records. Any album cover should represent the album’s songs and rhythms. Neon Tree’s newest album did exactly that with its fluorescent colors and their 80s look wardrobe.
Vocalist and keyboardist Tyler Glenn directs the album in a catchy way to introduce their new approach to pop music. “Pop Psychology opens with the biggest, shiniest songs he’s come up with, each taking on a slippery aspect of post-modern romance,” said Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone Reviews.
The first song of the album is “Love in the 21st Century,” a catchy, bubbly, fast paced song to attract listeners with the beginning of the album. The song’s pace and rhythm may remind listeners of the band’s previously released single “Animal,” yet it adds a refreshing start to the album.
With its catchy chorus, “I guess it’s / Love / In the 21st century / Oh, oh it’s tough / Broken heart technology / Your kisses taste so sweet / But then you click delete / Love in the 21st century,” listeners are drawn into the album with its pop-rock feel and its message of romance in today’s modern world surrounded by media and technology. The song’s lyrics make it clear that technology has a huge impact on how today’s youth shows love and the role technology has on relationships. “I don’t believe making out is a dead romance / I miss the days being kids simply holding hands / I’m sick of wondering if you would ever call me back / I check my four different accounts just to end up mad.”
The album itself seems to explore the idea of media and technology’s effects on “Love in the 21st Century,” with the next song on the album being “Text Me in the Morning.” This song is about the morning after a night with a girl where he is waiting for her to send her a morning text restating her love for him, possibly showing our dependence for technology.
The single that was released in January, “Sleeping with a Friend,” is about, well, sleeping with a friend and the complications that come from it. “But if my heart’s gonna break before the night will end / I said, ooh, ooh we’re in danger / Sleeping with a friend, sleeping with a friend / And why leave when I got you, baby? / It’s a risk but babe, I need the thrill.”
“Unavoidable,” the sixth song from the album, is a collaboration between Glenn and drummer/vocalist Elaine Bradley. This song’s vocals create a type of harmony that makes listeners feel more in depth with the album. Its slower tempo contrasts the rest of the bubbly, upbeat album.
Unlike the song “Unavoidable,” “Foolish Behavior” is an upbeat song at first making you feel like you are listening to an old 80s rock band. The song’s lyrics talk about two strangers who came together for foolish behavior. “Well you started out a stranger / Foolish behavior brought us together / Tonight.”
With the album’s plentiful amount of 11 songs with creative, relative titles, the album comes together to create 40 minutes of Neon Tree’s newer music. Through “Pop Psychology,” it is easy to see the professional work that the band put into creating the album.
The bold album shows characteristics of pop while relating them to real life. The songs from “Pop Psychology” demonstrate a type of musical experiment where art meets reality to bring together two types of genres.
While some of the songs sound similar to each other and even sound similar to their old albums and songs, “Pop Psychology” is an album that anyone who enjoys pop music can appreciate.
Lyrically, the band moves in a new direction to become deeper through their lyrics, but still have a similar approach to the tempo of the music the band produces. The song’s lyrics come together to provoke thought through personal meaning and experiences. The album incorporates many different things to make the songs relatable but enjoyable.
“Pop Psychology” is an album that connects the problems people go through with pop music, sending a strong message but allowing listeners to have fun with the songs.