Artist of the Week: Passion Pit

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Passion Pit is a five-man ensemble which sprung from the womb of Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2008, instrument clad and microphones at the ready.  This band is difficult to categorize as any one genre, but Wikipedia seems to think they are a blend of indie pop, electro pop, and alternative dance, whatever that means.

You may recognize the group from their appearance on Saturday Night Live on October 13th, 2012, which marked the launch of Passion Pit, like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, into a sky full of giant stars, among other artists who have made an appearance on the famous SNL stage.  Since then, the once unheard of group has managed to grace the outer edges of the Top Songs list on ITunes-at number 179 with their hit, ‘Take a Walk,’ which appears on their newest album, ‘Gossamer.’ The album, ‘Manners’ preceded ‘Gossamer’ in 2009, and their first album, ‘Chunk of Change,’ was released in 2008.

If we go back in time to ‘Chunk of Change,’ you’ll find the song ‘Sleepyhead,’ Passion Pit’s second most popular song.  ‘Sleepyhead,’ begins with the slightly creepy chanting of, “And everything is going to the beat,” and continues with incomprehensible warbling.  Don’t worry, I also thought there were elves trapped inside my radio the first time I heard this song.  But it turns out that the three minutes of ‘Sleepyhead,’ are eerily beautiful, simile laden, image-conjuring verses.  And it even gets bonus points for rhyming!

Gossamer, released in July of 2012, is an explosion of energy, addictive beats, and  passion.

In short, “The album is…a bold and ultimately stunning torrent of maximalist music ideas, repressed anger, and unchecked anxiety,” said Ian Cohen, a music reviewer for pitchfork.com, a music reviewing site.

There is not only quite a spectrum of reactions to this album, but also for Passion Pit’s music in general.  Most of the time you either love Passion Pit or hate them, and in my case, it’s love.

It’s rare that you find the kind of band that covers heavy topics in their lyrics with an ironically happy, upbeat sound.  They remind me of The Aquabats’ ‘Chemical Bomb,’ in that regard (look it up, you’ll either be laughing or cringing.)

In fact, it turns out that I was unknowingly listening to a man describe his failed career in ‘Take A Walk.’  When I took a moment to look past the instrumental and delve into the lyrics, I was able to see this song in a whole new light.  It’s the depth of raw emotions that make music really good, and Passion Put does just that in all the tracks in ‘Gossamer.’

‘Carried Away,’ the second most popular song on ‘Gossamer’ (after ‘Take a Walk’) shares the same peppy mood and not-so-peppy theme-struggles within a friendship.  Without my expert lyric analyzation, I bet you would all be singing along to this without even hearing what you were saying:

Listen, I don’t really know you
And I don’t think I want to
But I think I can fake it if you can
Let’s agree there’s no need, no more talk of money
Let’s just keep pretending to be friends, oh oh oh

Passion Pit is a rare gem in the music industry.  They write the kind of lyrics that have the capacity to make english teachers fall to their knees from joy while simultaneously exciting a crowd of hipster teenagers.

But most importantly, discovering this band has re-taught me an important lesson: You can only appreciate beauty if you’re actually looking for it.  Going to the beach with your friends is better than looking at picture of a beach on facebook, reading a tear-jerking book is better than crying over your high score on temple run, and experiencing fantastic music is better than tuning in to 99.7 for the swaggin’ new rap about, ‘hoes.’  If you want to have the best existence possible, fill it was real, powerful, interesting and beautiful memories, not sugar-coated, fake, petty ones.

Emily Porat
This is Emily's third year in Oracle and final year in high school. When she's not writing, she spends most of her time jamming out to rad tunes, playing with her four cats, and online shopping.
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