Irrelevant Troubadour

The Crystal Method, Divided By Night
February 4, 2011, 12:14 pm
Filed under: music

Yet another dispatch from the TV Trope Album Exchange Club.  This is a review of The Crystal Method’s Divided By Night.

So when I first downloaded this album it had the tracks all out of order for some reason—more accurately, they were in alphabetical order, so “Black Rainbow” was first, then “Blunts & Robots”, etc. And honestly, now that I’ve listened to it in the correct order, I have to say I prefer it alphabetically. I don’t know, it just seemed to flow better that way. The album in its original order just seems sort of slapdash.

As for the album itself? Well, to be fair to it, I’m almost certainly not appreciating it in the right way; this is an album that’s meant to be heard on the dancefloor at 12:30 after two overpriced cocktails at an overhyped club in some generic major city that caters to bored office temps looking for some release from the drudgeries of their daily existence. Indeed, I can imagine, in an alternate life, being a data entry clerk from Wichita, Kansas and hooking up with a rather tipsy paralegal named Lana to the strains of “Kling to the Wreckage”. But I’m not, I’m listening to this album in a college dorm room on headphones, and as such am robbing of the context it deserves.

What, then, do I hear on these headphones? Well, as most of the people before me have said, I hear generic electro. This is not to say this album is all bad, persay—just like any other form of music, generic electro can be good. But this album only rarely rises above (or below, for that matter) mediocrity, and when it does it’s due pretty much entirely to the guest artists. In some cases they provide the album with its highlights: these are the Matisyahu-driven “Drown in the Now”, the surprisingly touching dark ballad “Falling Hard”, or the bittersweet and hooky dark pop song “Black Rainbow”, which is my favorite track on the album. In other cases they lead to the album’s biggest embarrassments: the dumb ‘angry’ number “Kling to the Wreckage”, or “Sine Language”, which the less that is said about the better. But without the guests this album just sort of fades into grayness and buzzing synths. It’s background music for the bored to wiggle to, and while it has a place in the world, that place is not in my music collection.

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