The following took place roughly a week after I was sent “The Five Ghosts” by Stars:
Me: Just getting around to listening to this album you sent; is this an indie band? It sounds really polished. They should be on a Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack.
Inept Editor: Their music was on the show “Degrassi.” So there’s that. And before you judge me on that info, know this: I was trying to get laid.
Me: No idea who Degrassi is, so I wouldn’t have known to mock you. Thanks for the heads-up on that. Hey, actually, how would you feel about this text exchange being in the review? I promise to keep the mocking to a minimum.
Inept Editor: Absolutely not. I make great efforts to maintain a serious position at The Owl. I don’t call myself fascist editor for nothing.
So, yes. My background research for this review consisted of Googling Degrassi and then laughing maniacally (all the while thanking the gods that the editor overlooked the fact that I know the sort of music that is on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack; err, wait, what? Never mind.).
I’m told that Stars is a band from Montreal, and that “The Five Ghosts” is their fifth album or whatever. But, seriously… Degrassi? REALLY? This is the source of the music I’m reviewing? Did the latest volume of “Now That’s What I Call Disney!” not come out yet?
All mocking aside (Degrassi? DEGRASSI?), it’s an interesting album. Imagine if Joshua Radin and Ingrid Michaelson decided to make an album together, but decided that today’s music didn’t work for them. Pretend that they built a time machine—but one that could travel into the sitcom world—and went back to the Friends episode where Ross played his weird-ass electronic keyboard stuff. (Yes, I believe that was the name of the episode: “The One Where Ross Played His Weird-Ass Electronic Keyboard Stuff.” Seriously. DEGRASSI.)
Imagine they brought Ross and his keyboard back to today and recorded an album, overlaying their excellent vocals on early 80s synth-pop. Oh, plus they sang mostly angst-ridden songs, but not in an emo-y goth-y, “I’m acting like the world is a big pile of crap to piss off my parents” way (which I believe is the name of a Degrassi episode). And then imagine, that just for the hell of it, they threw in a boppy, sex-related song right in the middle just to mess with you. It’s like the musical equivalent of an adult male you knew just randomly mentioning that he watched Degrassi.
So basically… the words make sense on paper, but the context is utterly confusing.
And the same thing goes for the album, too.
I mean… DEGRASSI?
Song you should pay $1 for on iTunes rather than downloading for free: “We Don’t Want Your Body.” This is the confusing part, but it’s still catchy and draws you in, not unlike De—[Editor’s note: YES, WE GET IT ALREADY.]
Rating: Four laughing Canadians.