Passion Pit-Manners

2009; Frenchkiss Records

The very moment I finished paying for this album, I had a few thoughts: Am I still allowed to review music? How far will my balls shrink once this is in my collection? And just how should I go about killing myself?

Then I turned on "Little Secrets" and I cracked a grin as long as the Golden Gate. Fuck being cool, fuck knowing what I'm talking about. This music makes me happy.

It's important to understand that you're not going to want to like Manners. Nobody wants to like this album-go read the Pitchfork review and you get the feeling that the critic was feeling pretty ashamed of himself by the end of the analysis, that he scaled his score back to an 8.1 because he didn't want to piss off fans of "serious" music. And yeah, if I was one of those retards who believed in the idea of "guilty pleasures", this would probably fit right in that spot.

Here's the thing: Manners is something of an anomaly because it does not, at all, even a little bit, even the teensiest tiniest amount, give a shit what you think about it. It is an old man wearing a bright pink suit on a rainy day. It absolutely defies concepts such as elitism and, to a certain extent, taste. It doesn't really matter if you're the biggest Godspeed You! Black Emperor buff on the planet, if Pantera has a 24/7 rotation on your playlist, if you thought The Blueprint 3 was the best album of the year or if you wear a Medal of Honor for defending the Merriweather Post Pavilion-the second you hear that child chorus kick in with "Higher and higher and higher, higher and higher and higher", you're gonna smile, and you might feel a little weird about it. That's okay. Everyone else feels a little weird about it too.

That's because this isn't an album you're really supposed to form an opinion on, it's not something you're supposed to take apart and analyze. If you love it, that's okay too, but it's also not really designed to be lauded-all it really asks is that you enjoy it. That you realize that hey, it's okay to put aside your ideas of what's good and what's bad and tacky and complex and all that other bullshit we use to describe music. It's not good and it's not bad, the same way a person isn't good and isn't bad. It's happy. Like a person is happy.

Ask yourself this: How much does sincerity count for in your book? Does it count for a lot? What about whimsy? Do you like fun? Not fun music, necessarily, just things that are fun in general? Could you see yourself enjoying a sunny day with someone who's company you cherish?

Than give Manners a shot. I'm not saying you're going to like it, I'm not even saying you should like it. I'm saying that if you are, or you ever were, capable of putting aside your pretensions and enjoying something for the sake of itself, for the sake of joy, there's something in this album that can reach into you and turn a light on. I'm not saying it will. Just that it can.

To me, in the here and now, in the Golden Age of cultural "expertise" and opinions constructed like forts from myriad sources, something that can break through all that is something special. Don't worry, it's not an intruder. Just a messenger.

Here to deliver a singing telegram.

  1. Make Light
  2. Little Secrets
  3. Moth's Wings
  4. The Reeling
  5. Eyes As Candles
  6. Simming In The Flood
  7. Folds In Your Hands
  8. To Kingdom Come
  9. Sleepyhead
  10. Let Your Love Grow Tall
  11. Seaweed Song

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