Review Summary: "Crossroads" is easily one of the greatest futurepop albums of all time.
Futurepop artists are often guilty of making music that sounds too rehashed. However, there really is no good reason for this to happen. By its nature, it is a multifaceted genre, and claims a combination of EBM, synthpop, industrial, and trance. It certainly seems like a genre that artists would be able to sculpt into their own vision like a vulnerable piece of clay. More often than not, though, they fall back to the same, mundane script: 1) loud bass beats must be the backbone of your songs, 2) you must employ synthesizers constantly, 3) you must be a poor singer, 4) you must be from Germany, and if not, you must move there. However, despite the final rule, there have been enough non-German futurepop artists to prove the genres multicultural diversity. In fact, mind.in.a.box hails from Austria, and happens to be one of the best artists of its kind out there. On paper they seem like an average act, using the same basic outline that every futurepop artist uses, so what could they possibly bring to the table besides leftovers? Quite a tasty meal, apparently.
It doesn’t take long to realize that Crossroads
is a very different album. In the opening track, we are treated with glorious synthesizers, and with them, a guitar that flows into the sound. The guitar actually appears a few times in the album, and proves that the genre can use more than just synthesizers. In fact, the album features a vast amount of interesting, original ideas, and is in a word: smart. From the drum n’bass in ‘Fear’, to the beautiful strings and piano in ‘The Place’, this album provides a very different experience. In fact, they provide an experience that includes song lengths of up to eight minutes, which is unheard of in futurepop. However, they sure aren’t wasting any time, because every second is more dazzling and thought provoking than the last.
Futurepop has often had emotionally compelling pieces, but Crossroads
is the cream of the crop. With beautiful synths and plenty of time to evoke feeling, the messages in lyrics are persuasive:
“You float in a million lights,
but the one you seek is not there.
you fight in a million fights,
but it's yourself you cannot bear”.
Perhaps this would all fail with a lack of real power, but the lead singer for mind.in.a.box (Stefan Poiss) throws his heart on the table. He isn’t really a good singer, but he makes up for it through an emotional deliverance. Often sounding depressed and broken, you can’t help but feel caught up in the story that the album tells. It is a sad yet hopeful story, and combined with music, it completely consumes the listener. Some of the more fragile, compelling moments are when Stefan whispers through auto-tuned, processed vocals, sounding like a child without protection:
“it is the fear that drives you mad.
it is the fear that makes you blind.
it is the fear that keeps you sad.
it is the fear that kills your mind”.
If any futurepop album is going to cause you to have a revelation, it will be this one.
With introspective, heart-wrenching lyrics, Crossroads
is more than just another album: it is an experience. The album contains beautiful, melodious tunes with seductive anthems, as well as Daft Punk-esque dance songs. Always in forward motion, it is constantly catchy, and is ideal club, party, car, and even headphone music. As a futurepop album it’s an obvious classic, but even outside of the genre’s confinements, it should be considered a brilliant piece of music. Crossroads
is easily one of the greatest futurepop albums of all time.