Artist – Chairlift
Album – Moth
Year – 2016
Genre – Synthpop/Indie Pop
The nature of gaining someone’s affection has been through an incredible amount of sports analogies, including the classic depiction of a race with all potential suitors competing. It’s this picture that Chairlift so wonderfully paints in bright color on my personal favorite from their latest album Moth. Caroline Polachek has always continued to surprise me as a singer, and the duo certainly has a talent for hooks that I’m sure will continue to develop on further albums. With endearing love songs being a certain specialty for Chairlift, “Romeo” adds itself as another great one that the band makes their own with it’s own unique sounds, whilst maintaining a solid ground of pop sensibility.
“ON YOUR MARKS. GET SET…”
Distortion is the first sound out of the starting gate (pun intended). It certainly is an interesting choice to add a sort of aggressive sound and drum scheme to a song with many other bright tones. The song starts by building up with a sort of shout-sing verse with crystal synth effects that quickly leads to the chorus, which is the highlight here.
“Hey Romeo, put on your running shoes
I’m ready to go”
The drum n’ bass beat kicks in with a very lush background of synths, and Polachek absolutely delivers with her delicate yet powerful vocals that hit every note succinctly. It’s lovely how she drifts into and out of falsetto, and it adds a neat texture to the melody, which is as much of a hook as any top 40 pop song.
With every verse, the lyrics deal with the chase; the race of love. It’s fast paced and breathless, like going for a long and arduous run on a summer day when all you want to do is chill inside with the A/C running and a lemonade. But Polachek’s part symbolizes the tantalizing reward for success, luring the titular Romeo to push himself and even to “cheat” to win her affection. The song makes you feel like you’re constantly running behind her, trying to catch up, but in a way that you find yourself enjoying.
I love the bridge, where Polachek shares the “On your mark” with bandmate Patrick Wimberly. The punctuation that it brings to the song and how sharp it is is a nice touch, and Polachek’s delivery as well as the backing instrumentation here is almost like someone running out of breath, before exploding into a second wind with the last chorus and pulse pounding ending.
The song is interesting because of its pop qualities but mainly because it’s more of an aggressively fun love song, rather than a delicate and intimate song that Chairlift has explored quite a bit in their past. But it’s a welcome change for me, and by the next album, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chairlift explores their full pop capability.