Eleanor Friedberger - Rebound

Eleanor Friedberger

Rebound is the kind of album that critics love.  80s synthpop inspired with deep meaningful lyrics written by an American living in Greece. It has all the hallmarks of something that a person who seems to know more about music than you would be totally into. My problem with this record is that from the first moment it feels played. Electropop, especially the kind directly descended from the 80s, is starting to hit a wall. It doesn't sound as fresh and new any more with artists like Actress and Angel Olsen having already explored some of these areas. The music here is razor thing with songs like "Everything" balancing on a wire. It feels like a simple breeze could blow through and knock this thing over. Her delivery is almost 70s in style making the record feel all the more confused. "In Between Stars" has a decently complex message but the song itself sounds like ABBA or something generic as all hell. This would be fine if it was catchy, but it just is not. There are references to novels and novelists, reading in the sand and learning to be alone, obviously plenty of lyrical content, but it gets burred among these plucky arrangements that are anything but powerful. "Make Me a Song" is the one time the album actually starts to soar a bit, but this song would have crushed it 6 years ago. Today? Not so much. 

There are almost elements of Twee throughout the record sucking out any edge it may possibly have. "Nice to be Nowhere" is of course supposed to be about meandering, but good god does it do a lot of it. The drum beat boom boom bat, never ceases, not even once to allow the song to shift or change. The bridge just becomes more of the same, over and over. It gets worse from there with Friedberger churning out similar song after similar song. There is a great deal of work done to make you see how Indie Friedberger is. She constantly mentions music she is into and even how cool a ZZ Top concert was. All this might be true, but it sounds cringe as hell to talk about it over this twee music. "Are We Good?" Really sums it up because it is this self indulgent mess. You can just imagine the self congratulatory shitty hihg fives that happened in the recording of that song, and it just feels like hipster nonsense. I'm sure someone much smarter than me will really enjoy this album, but I hate to say that I am just not the guy. 

5.5 out of 10


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