A few things happened to Beach House after their second album Devotion. For one, they signed to Sub Pop, a semi-indie label with a lot of cool artists like Iron & Wine, No Age, and Fleet Foxes. Now, these bands are completely diverse, so don't think Beach House is going to sound like any of these. Secondly, back in January, they made their television debut on Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon, so that probably got their stardom fired up. And one more thing, which I guess isn't a huge deal. Teen Dream was featured on the home page of iTunes. Nothing special. Just saying. Anyway, let's give it a track-by-track review:
1. Zebra (4/5) - The crescendoing harmonies make a beautiful contrast to the thumpy bass and maracas in this opener to Teen Dream.
2. Silver Soul (4.5/5) - The droopy swoon of the electric guitar and the melody pull this song along, and the slightly distorted guitar in the background plus Victoria Legrand's heart-filled vocals make this song twice as good. It comes close to the perfection of Gila, a song off their album Devotion.
3. Norway (3.5/5) - Not as good as the others, and I'm sure my buddy Owen would argue about that. The breathy ha-ha-haaa's are pretty catchy, though. And when she wails "Norway", it gets me every time.
4. Walk in the Park - (4/5) A yummy melody with a nice keyboard line in the chorus.
5. Used to Be - (4.5/5) The beat comes in, then the syncapated synth, and you have a gut-feeling that this is going to be an awesome song. Its lyrics, "Are you coming home, are you still alone, are you not the same as you used to be" match the melody perfectly. It's a epic, if there ever was one.
6. Lover of Mine (4.5/5) Maybe the catchiest song on Teen Dream. They basically came up with a really neat keyboard arrangement and built around that. It's what makes the song. That, and the franzy drum track that kicks the song off after the chorus (I call them franzy, because Franz Ferdinand uses them them so often).
7. Better Times (4/5) - Man, can this band come up with stunning melodies. This song in particular reminds me of snowflakes falling, and winter in general. Some bands should learn from them (*cough cough* Au Revoir Simone)
8. 10 Mile Stereo (4.5/5) - Before the chorus sets into motion, this just seems like an average song. The chorus makes it more dramatic and...scenic, if it makes sense.
9. Real Love (4/5) - The more delicate yet powerful Victoria's voice gets, the more beautiful the song is, instantly. With the added innocent piano arpeggios, it's a weep fest. Sort of.
10. Take Care (4/5) - It's always good to end and album on a great song. It leaves the person thinking "Hey, that was a spiffy album! I wanna listen to it again!"
I think an 8.5 would be fair. 2010 has got itself off to a very good start already, with Contra, this, Surfer Blood, and all that jazz.
Click here to see Owen's review of the not-so-special edition Teen Dream Bonus DVD.