My friends and I recently had a conversation about nauseatingly cute duo couples in the musical world. Seeing the Weepies kiss between songs or hearing Mates of Statesâ€™ baby croon in the background on a live track â€” for me â€” adds to the meaning of the music they make.
This talk started when I had found out that Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino of the band Matt & Kim are a couple. Unlike the Weepies or Mates of State, Matt & Kim keep the love hidden under layers of pop on their new album â€œSidewalks.â€
While sitting on my couch conducting an extremely scientific and official review of â€œSidewalks,â€ I started to feel foolish. These are moving songs, dancing songs and driving-down-the highway-songs.
Their tunes are so poppy and dancey that they are hard to listen to while sitting still.
The lyrics are there, but they donâ€™t hold much more meaning than that. Mattâ€™s voice becomes a part of the beat. What is being said doesnâ€™t seem to resonate.
The album has a marching band feel, with the emphasis placed on Kimâ€™s strong and simple drumbeats. The song â€œCamerasâ€ sounds like Matt is singing over a high school parade. Itâ€™s catchy, but overdone.
Iâ€™ve heard their live shows are extremely awesome and sweaty, and it is apparent that this album is appealing to such an atmosphere. In â€œGood for Great,â€ they go so far as adding an obvious sing-along ending: â€œWe sing along but the notes are wrong. We sing along through night and dawn,â€ which is repeated over, and over and over.
Staring off as a keyboard and drum duo, Matt & Kim have added some extra production to their third album, leading to muddled tracks and a strange new sound. I enjoyed their simper days. I think â€œSidewalksâ€ has lost its sense of direction.
Music reviewer Michael Elizabeth Sakas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.