Saturday, December 18, 2010

Neon Trees-- Habits

Artist Neon Trees
Label: Mercury Records
Album: Habits
Sounds Like: A lot of Christian pop (Newsboys, Sanctus Real...etc) but with much more amorous themes.

Too rocky to be a pop star, but too melodramatic and hipster to be an alternative song.  Neon Trees are a mix of Top 40's Pop with the jazzy bits of a rock album.  They are in a purgatory that they share with Maroon 5 and Avril Lavigne.

The album Habits is like an insincere apology letter.  The lyrics of singer/songwriter Tyler Glenn focus on his different experiences with loving the opposite sex.  He apologizes for being a bit too naughty in his youth in Sins of my Youth, but then invites another girl to take a leap of faith and swallow his heart in Animal.  1983 calls out a foxy flame for being such a tease and making him feel like a baby again, while Glenn serenades another beauty to give her whole body to him in Your Surrender.  I'm not sure if the band knows what they want in a girl, but it seems like their hormones are all over the map.  We can be sure that self control is not evident in the song In the Next Room as the singer confesses his infatuation for yet another diva.  While Glenn's relationships are in a state of chaos, the music seems very straight forward.  It's alternative pop, with some honey vocals that make the music sound sincere.  Only one song deviates with a techno beat that I am sure will be played in some club somewhere.

Habits is a great effort to serenade women, but musically it is nothing the Christian pop artists haven't mastered already.  The vocals, the lyrics and the music are of high quality, and the upbeat songs are worth singing in a van full of teenagers, but the band still hasn't reached their potential.

What Does It Mean?
It's easy to call this band a bunch of immature hormonal teens, but Glenn's lyrics may have tripped over a greater truth.  The song Your Surrender is about trusting someone enough to let them in totally.  It shows that relationships without trust and commitment are weak.  It's the same trust that God wants the world to feel toward him.  He desires the same intimate relationship and closeness.  In the song Love and Affection it's amazing how Glenn discovers the importance of being loved.  We were not made to be independent and alone, but for love from others. Love may be reduced to physical in today's popular entertainment, but I think we all agree that we need it.

You make love to everything you touch
It's a reaction, sexual attraction
You play me like I'm made of strings
I'm the violin, a melody, I want your lips to sing
In The Next Room 

+ Fun up beats
+ Some deep lyrics if you dig

-- Is it alternative?  Is it pop?
-- Some of the love messages are immature and boyish


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