Passion Pit - Gossamer
Record Label: Columbia
Release date: July 24, 2012
Three long years.
That's how long fans have had to wait for the new Passion Pit album. Due to constant touring, personal problems, a reissue of Manners, and a whole lot of remixes of other popular tunes, it has finally come. The electropop quartet (rather, Angelakos and an audio engineer) have finished tweaking their synths and have made an album. Three long years.
And it was well worth the wait.
The album starts with a typically 'Passion Pit' song that fans expect. "Take a walk" is the first single from the album, and as simple and underwhelming as it may seem to fans, it's possibly the perfect beginning to the album. Allow me to explain: what I expect in an album is a journey. A meaning from the beginning to the end, regardless of how clear or abstract that meaning may be. And as most people expect lead singer Michael Angelakos to be exposed and completely bare with his lyrics, a song about immigrants trying to survive amidst the failing economy may seem out of place, giving Angelakos the image of losing touch with what interests his fans. But there is a much deeper meaning to song that is only discovered after listening to the rest of the album. It's that he feels as if he is foreign to this world, revolving subjects of alcoholism, suicide, broken love and even social norms. This album is auto-biographical. And regardless of the first track on the album, every single song means something.
Were Gossamer to be understood in the terms that Angelakos wanted, he would not have as much trouble with his mental health as he does now. But the album is incredibly overwhelming, and leaves you exhausted by the end of it if you manage to fully listen to it in one sitting. On second thought, I believe this is what he wanted; an album that lets you truly see what he sees, and how he manages amidst factors that he believes will ultimately be his downfall. This is shown in the second track "I'll Be Alright" an incredibly fast paced and rigid glimpse into how one deals with imminent loss.
Things slow down on the R&B-esque "Constant Conversations" which shows a broken relationship dealing with alcoholism and Angelakos telling his partner ("Yeah I love you and I need you/But someday you're going to need to/find some other kind of place to go") It's wonderfully constructed, even reflecting a mood similar to seeing a lover with a similar problem as professed within the song. It's one of the slowest songs on the album, as well as one of the definitive highlights.
Riddled with bleak topics, what may appear to be a silver lining within the album is, in reality, a line of rust. "It's Not My Fault I'm Happy" is a song dealing with the the plateau of a relationship, where Angelakos believes there's no longer a reason to fight for the realtionship, and that it's destined to fail. Yet he's okay with that. ("I'm just working with what I've been given/It's not my fault, I'm happy/Don't call me crazy, I'm happy") The album comes to a close with "Where We Belong", what could possibly be one of the best songs Passion Pit has crafted in all aspects of song-writing. It's drastically different from most songs, but it's a step outside their comfort zone, and it is masterfully done. It is a song dealing with suicide, with descriptive imagery and low beats. Among the bleakest of topics, Angelakos has found a way to make it sound inviting, and incredibly beautiful to listen to despite your ideals on the subject.
The only shortcoming I see with this album is that it won't be possible for many people to hear these songs live.