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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Indie-dance duo delivers lackluster lyrics in ‘New Glow’

"New Glow"

Matt and Kim

“New Glow,” the fifth studio release from indie-dance duo Matt and Kim, brings experimental musical styles while staying true to the upbeat sound the group has made itself known for. However, the album lacks much lyrical depth and is more focused on quality beats and lyrics that can be sung along with, rather than offering something compelling to listeners.

“Hey Now” is the album’s first, and possibly most notable, song. Among its instrumentals, the track features brass instruments, giving it a jazzy feel. Musical variety is evident in the album with “Get It,” the first single from “New Glow,” featuring dubbed vocals and instrumentals reminiscent of trap music.

Though the album lacks consistency in a musically technical sense, it still has a smooth flow thanks to the persistently lighthearted sound emanating from the bouncy, synth-heavy songs. The jumble of musical techniques sets the album apart in that it makes it evident that Matt and Kim are trying to experiment with a new sound, but they are still making an effort to stay true to the cheerful musical style that is characteristic of the group.

A flaw of “New Glow” is its failure to produce mature or meaningful lyrics. For example, the track “Hoodie On,” while fun and upbeat, is wholly devoid of any real lyrical significance. Lead vocalist Matt Johnson spends nearly three minutes singing about the different places that he has worn his hooded sweatshirt and how good he looks while wearing it. The vapid quality of the lyrics on this track raises a question as to why the track even exists, as it seems to serve no purpose for the betterment of the album.

That being said, these points should come as no surprise for those familiar with Matt and Kim’s music, which is characteristically driven by tracks that are more appropriately played at parties than during times of deep thought and reflection. The duo’s most popular single, “Daylight,” released in 2009, is playful and heavy on both beat and drums, which are distinctive traits of Matt and Kim’s music.

“I See Ya,” the album’s last track and by far its slowest, is the only one with a trace of lyrical value. The song takes on the form of an apology letter to Johnson’s friends and family for losing touch after his music career took off.

The best word to describe this album is simply “fun.” It is best for anyone who is looking for some tracks to add to a party playlist, but is probably not ideal for those who want to listen to lyrically profound music to do some soul-searching with.