Review Summary: an example of what futurepop should sound like.
It is impossible to describe in words just how amazing this album is, but I will certainly try. You see, futurepop is a genre that tends to repeat itself often; attempting to conjure up descriptive words of something that has been done a billion times before would be like attempting to tell a caveman how to brush his teeth. Sometimes it’s just best to say that it’s an amazing album and leave it at that, but then how persuasive would that be? So it is my duty to make the album sound so good that you will be convinced you like this before you even listen to it. That’s the power of words my friends.
Although this is your typical futurepop album, it’s anything but typical. The first noteworthy aspect is song lengths, which are around five minutes and thirty seconds – surprisingly long. A typical futurepop act wouldn’t be able to do much justice to such long songs, but Tom Shear is a veteran artist. Tom Shear finds ways to keep the listener captivated the entire time despite lengthy songs, and that is no small feat. However, the main reason why the album is so good seems to lie with the execution of synthesizers. The soundscape is always full, with both mechanical and organic sounding synths, promoting an intriguing listen. It is undoubtedly a cold place, yet the atmosphere is so alive – it immerses the listener in something that’s wholly palpable, as if you can stretch out your arm and touch it.
Whereas many futurepop artists rely on choruses as a crutch, Assemblage 23 is reliant on ingenuity. The atmosphere Tom Shear creates is often so engrossing that choruses are hardly necessary. Of course, songs are not without their sing-along choruses, but the variation in songs is enough that each song is something special. This is what happens when a musician actually takes the time to insert decent song writing into songs. Songs are distinct due to their song writing, and that is how it should be.
Music like this has been done before, but not often this good. The main difference between this album and other futurepop albums is that Meta
sounds like it was actually made by a human. Synthesizers have too often been used to sound cool, completely ignoring any emotions they could help foster. Meta
is precise, yes, it’s perfectly executed, yes, but it’s also real. Artists like Seabound prove to us that it is possible to execute everything perfectly, and yet completely miss the purpose of making music. The audience needs something to hold onto, something they can relate with. Meta
will not win awards for newness, but it will surely captivate with its dedication to musical excellence.