Album of the Week: Phoenix, 'Ti Amo'


Phoenix, 'Ti Amo'
Phoenix, 'Ti Amo' (Glassnote Records)
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Do you have a box tucked away somewhere? One filled with old trinkets, letters from lost friends and lovers, a postcard or two? A box of your former self, a person that sometimes seems so far away from the person you are today? The new album from French band, Phoenix, is a watercolor postcard from that distant person. A liminal memory of something that now seems better, sexier, more dangerous, more exciting; just out of reach. Ti Amo will take you back to a vacation that never was.

Phoenix usually build their albums around a set theme, and Ti Amo is no different. The band members have said in several interviews that it's about an imaginary Italy, an idealized version of a crumbling city full of gelato, lust, prosecco, innocence, beaches and love. Each song expands on the theme, bringing some yacht rock to a new generation with floating songs that coast against each other. The songs trade off staccato synths and crashing cymbals with synthetic piano runs and Roland SP-404 beats. But all of it feels youthful and romantic.

Lyrically, Ti Amo could be the tale of a student abroad for the first time (there's even a ringing-bell sound effect midway through the album that sounds like the end of a high school class). There's the thrill of trying to learn a new language (the Italian language and French language flow in and out of each song), falling intensely in love with a stranger, getting into trouble, getting it on, and dealing with trying to bring that love home once the trip is over.

There's no breakout hit on the album, but I'm not sure that's the goal of Ti Amo. This is an album that creates a mood. It envelops you in a state of nostalgia and longing for a better time and place (that maybe only exists in your mind). In a world that feels heavy and sometimes less hopeful than you'd like, sometimes it's nice to just close your eyes. Take yourself on an inner trip; lean against the jukebox, sip on prosecco, and try to catch the eye of a beautiful stranger. That's it. And it's enough.


Phoenix - Official Site

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