Music

Phoenix: Ti Amo

Photo: Emma Le Doyen

Summer is here and Phoenix have returned with a set of pop songs determinedly celebrating vacationing on the beach and the joys of love and romance.


Phoenix

Ti Amo

Label: Glassnote
US Release Date: 2017-06-09
UK Release Date: 2017-06-09
Amazon
iTunes

The sixth album by the French quartet, Ti Amo, is pop music in its purest form, and it’s intended as much. Described by Phoenix as their most romantic album to date, Ti Amo is fast and direct, and heralds an escape to the joys and of summer, vacation, and the excitement of new love. It’s a too deliberately crafted record designed for summer fun, time spent on a beach, or chasing a partner in a disco. There are fun and deliciously upbeat tracks on Ti Amo, qualities Phoenix have honed well over nearly two decades recording, and easier to digest for those fans and listeners put off by the length and seriousness of 2013’s Bankrupt.

At its core, Ti Amo is a fun record recorded amidst attacks on pop music, from inception after the Bataclan to release after Manchester. Those are connections not entirely unique to Phoenix, and the latter its less relevant to the album than the former but worthy of considering the pop music Phoenix offers in rejection of those that would literally attack pop music. Throughout the album, the common theme of romance and fun is supplemented by musical cues that are not necessarily repeated in different tracks but document the influences Phoenix incorporated into the record. Opener “J-Boy", “Fior di Latte", “Goodbye Soleil", and “Telefono” are the album’s tentpole tracks, each invigorating the album’s pace and mood. Situated between these memorable tracks, songs like “Tuttifrutti” and “Fleur de Lys” carry similar style and mood, but simply don’t deliver the same pop hooks and impact.

Recorded in Paris following the November 2015 attack on the Bataclan, this noted detail helps to understand the approach and pop sensibilities of the album. If possible, the uplifting mood of Ti Amo demonstrates a reaction against becoming overwrought with fear and terror, particularly when directed at the enjoyment that comes with listening to pop music. That reaction to a distinctly dark alternative with bright, summer fun qualities of pop music represents what Phoenix have done best through their career -- delivering music that feels good for the sake of it. Human connections and the excitement of romance and love are constant on Ti Amo, but any real world note to the fictional world depicted in the album is absent.

Songs reference the mood of Paris and Europe following multiple attacks and fear endured in the past couple of years, with “Role Model” bringing riots into the album’s summer vibe and overall vacation tone. Those references deserve better presence on the album, at least because they informed the band’s recording and deliberate celebration of pop music generally and romance specifically. But, the album’s strength is not what is missing. It is the band’s steadfast maintenance of their influences from pop music, smooth arrangements, and delicately written (and cinematic) images of vacation and summer.

Ultimately, Ti Amo is a quality Phoenix record with catchy songs, an uplifting mood, and a breezy running time that will invite easy repeats sitting on a beach or imagining you were. It sits nicely within the band’s discography and will no doubt be remixed with ease and contribute to summer playlists.

6

Music

Books

Film

Recent
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.

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".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

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

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

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.