Music

Peter Bjorn and John - "Breakin' Point" (Singles Going Steady)

Photo: Marcus Palmqvist

"Breakin' Point" makes no attempt to undermine Peter Bjorn and John's tried-and-true formula.

Pryor Stroud: Taken from Peter Bjorn and John's new album of the same name, "Breakin' Point" makes no attempt to undermine the band's tried-and-true formula. Like the best Peter Bjorn and John tracks, it's glazed with breezy, windowsill-leaning melodies, crisp instrumentation, and crackling production that simulates the experience of listening to a '60s guitar-pop record on vinyl. Indeed, it's appealing for the exact same reasons that "Young Folks" was -- and still remains -- appealing: Peter Morén's erudite, transparently fallible voice, a go-with-the-flow sonic ethos, and evocative lyrics that seem to teeter indiscriminately between cloying twee and pre-Vampire Weekend indie rock. But it seems to lean on this appeal like a crutch, becoming, in the end, another "Young Folks" spinoff that succeeds through familiarity, an enforced feeling of where-have-I-heard-this-before, rather than actual artistry. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: The song has a nice, relaxing vibe, and while the whistling melody is sure to turn off listeners (I have a friend who lists “whistling” as one of his biggest musical pet peeves), I like the easygoing style. It’s hard to pin down what particular genre they’re grasping with here. It’s kind of indie/folk with a bit of a whimsical Beautiful South feel. The melodies get in your head in a nice, agreeable way. I could see myself whistling this all day. Light and breezy, but with a certain air of sophistication. [7/10]

Steve Horowitz: Ah, the temptation of ambition: give the song mythological trappings, a bit of Christ, and some desert and don’t forget to whistle. One man’s pretensions is another fella’s Bible. The song declares the singer is listening, but I think he must be the only one because the video has too many distractions and the lyrics just aren’t that interesting. [5/10]

Chad Miller: Pretty average melodically though it could have seemed a lot more interesting than it was with some additional help from the instruments. The music backing it was just as tame, usually repeating the melody with little if any changes. The production had some interesting touches on the other hand, but the track still feels very lacking. [5/10]

SCORE: 5.75


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.

Music

Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.

Music

Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Fire in the Time of Coronavirus

If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.

Music

Sufjan Stevens' 'The Ascension' Is Mostly Captivating

Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.

Jordan Blum
Music

Chris Smither's "What I Do" Is an Honest Response to Old Questions (premiere + interview)

How does Chris Smither play guitar that way? What impact does New Orleans have on his music? He might not be able to answer those questions directly but he can sure write a song about it.

Music

Sally Anne Morgan Invites Us Into a Metaphorical Safe Space on 'Thread'

With Thread, Sally Anne Morgan shows that traditional folk music is not to be smothered in revivalist praise. It's simply there as a seed with which to plant new gardens.

Music

Godcaster Make the Psych/Funk/Hard Rock Debut of the Year

Godcaster's Long Haired Locusts is a swirling, sloppy mess of guitars, drums, flutes, synths, and apparently whatever else the band had on hand in their Philly basement. It's a highly entertaining and listenable album.

Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.