Neon Trees – Pop Psychology Review


Neon Trees have always prospected a novel brand of pop infected with tastes of new wave, indie, and dance to stand by it’s magic. The band’s newest album Pop Psychology captures the psyche of pop music in one of the most energizing yet borderline endeavors the genre has seen as of late.

Pop Psychology makes it’s comfort zone it’s home, unleashing a chain of animated, overjoyed songs that never overstay their welcome. “Love In The 21st Century” opens the record, embracing the themes of how technology has altered the mechanics of young romance. “I miss the days being kids simply holding hands / I’m sick of wondering if you would ever call me back / I check my four different accounts just to end up mad.” “Text Me In The Morning” features an intro reminiscent of The Strokes on Is This It, while Glenn rapid fires the aftermath of a significant other’s reckless night out. “Teenager In Love” wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve despite it’s best attempts not to. “He’s a teen/ A teenager in love/ What a tragic attraction/ What a magic distraction”. This song again finds itself in Neon Trees’ recurring theme of young affection, only this time dismissing it. “I don’t wanna go out/ I just wanna stay in my bedroom and obsess over everything I say to you/ Young love is like a roller coaster/ You couldn’t pay me to ride it if you tried,” the bridge snarls with a bitterness towards teenage romance. The pristine duet on “Unavoidable” is harmoniously toxic, finding its character in its top 40 appeal and dance tainted instrumental.

Frontman Tyler Glenn’s vocals never see a modest minute on Pop Psychology, and neither does it’s pristine neon-gloss production. From start to finish, these songs are meticulously appealing in their engineering – Division in their melodies are undetectable. The sassy intro riff on “Living In Another World” translates to some of the best musicianship and pop arrangement on the record, strewn along by the uncomfortable in it’s skin, distant daydream of Glenn’s voice. Nevertheless, Pop Psychology often crawls in it’s own footsteps on songs like “I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends)”, the overly laid-back “Foolish Behavior”, and the closer track “First Things First” which is explicitly low on steam. The album in a whole fails to leave it’s comfort zone, leaving no room for any standout moments. Pop Psychology is a collection of impressive pop-rock songs, but it simply isn’t confident in the genre-sweeping it’s capable of.

Score: B-

Listen to: “Love In The 21st Century”

Pop Psychology is out now via Island Records.

Island Records