Arts & Entertainment

Sound Advice: Neon Trees’ Pop Psychology

BY: LONDEN SHANNON

NeonTreesFor the new Neon Trees album, we have Tinder to thank. The pop/rock quartet’s new album Pop Psychology revolves around the difficulties of finding love in the digital age and the timing of this album could not be any better.

Two years ago, this album almost didn’t happen. After completing a joint tour with The Offspring, Neon Trees lead singer and songwriter Tyler Glenn didn’t think he could go on. Glenn had suffered a meltdown and as a result, all of the Neon Trees remaining tour events for 2012 were cancelled.

It wasn’t until after Glenn met with a therapist for the first time did he decide to pick up the pen again.

“When I started writing music for the album, all my feelings were coming out in the songs,” Glenn said in an interview with his record label, BB Gun Press. “It felt really good to be honest and open about what I was going through personally, but have the songs still feel very Neon Trees.”

What one might have expected to be Glenn’s version of Eminem’s 8-mile, or Rihanna’s Rated R, delightfully turned out to be more of a modern college memoir. With song titles such as “Love In the 21st Century,” “Text Me In The Morning” and “I Love You, But I Hate Your Friends,” the album represents many of the struggles of the youth of this generation.

Not only are the lyrics reflective of a more popular culture, but so is the production on the album. The synths in “Love in the 21st Century” are reminiscent of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.”

The tone of the album is kept at a constant high, with no mellow notes that would give insight to the hardships Glenn went through. It is through the lyrics that these hardships shine, though.

In “First Things First” Glenn sings, “There were years I felt like everything was new / Long before the troubles of my youth / There were days and nights I couldn’t see the end / And I swear the music was my only friend.”

The album continues to do what Neon Trees does best, masking true raw feelings with catchy instrumentals.

Pop Psychology blends Neon Trees’ line between pop and rock even further than the group’s previous albums, but this time the emphasis is clearly placed on pop. Neon Trees’ die hard fans need not worry, however, as the band’s signature guitar riffs and catchy verses are still present.

In an age when technology has taken over everything, Pop Psychology has come at the perfect time, proving that technology and love lives are compatible after all. With Pop Psychology, Neon Trees shows that even the big stars are affected by the digital woes of the 21stcentury.

You can catch the Neon Trees at the Riviera Theatre (4746 N. Racine Ave.) on May 13 with opener Smallpools. Tickets start at $40 and are available for purchase here

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Ashley Iannantone is a senior biochemistry major with minors in neuroscience, Spanish, and biostatistics. A self-proclaimed foodie with a passion for journalism, this is her fourth year working for The PHOENIX and third year in the A&E section. When she's not hunkering down with a bowl of pasta, you can find her volunteering at St. Joseph Hospital or running along the lake shore path (so that she can eat more pasta).

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