Review Summary: Life. Death. Real Estate.
Sometimes it just seems like life is a constant quest for simplicity more than anything. The Christian often times believes in a God to make their life easier, just as an atheist doesn't believe to make their life easier. The Liberal votes for the Democratic candidate because he or she will make their life easier, just as the Conservative votes for the Republican candidate because he, she, or Sarah Palin will make their life easier. Even though are beliefs and actions are mostly made up of contradictions they are often done to find a unique utopia of simplicity that only fits our life and our situation.
But as time goes on we seem to be in a war with the simplicity that we have always striven for. The computers that were supposed to make things easier are just confusing us, the recession that was supposed to make us work harder has just made us apathetic and cynical, and in the technological society of 2011 "The American Dream" seems like it isn't simply a click away but rather an entire galaxy away. Our quest for simplicity has been replaced with a struggle for survival. And often times their is no comfort in struggling to survive.
In this struggle for survival though we used to find simplicity in the escapism that is entertainment. People used to find escapism in the simple plot of a movie or in the simple opening riff of a pop song. But with time even our escapism has lost its simplicity. Instead of being something that helps us escape from our daily struggles the music of 2011 seems to be a reminder and a reflection of the war, the recession, and the unemployment that plagues our every breath. Music has become a reflection of the society we hate instead of a reminder of all of our most vivid and colorful dreams. I personally enjoy current music but it is easy to see why 90% of the people around me think the music from thirty years ago is better than the music of today. That music was simplistic escapism for people obsessed with happiness. Today's critically acclaimed music is social commentary for people who are sick of hearing about the outside world. It seems almost impossible in 2011 to have an album that could tell you a new story or even tell you that everything was going to be okay.
Real Estate have brought simplicity back to music with their latest album Days. The genius of Days is that it is basically ten songs of simplistic yet open escapism. Instead of creating an album that reminds us how crappy everything is, Real Estate have crafted an album that allow us to escape to just about any paradise that we want to. Real Estate create atmospheres with their laid back electric guitar riffs and soft drumming that make us feel like we can do anything just by simply doing nothing. Every song is a new and open experience that allows you your own escape route. If you want to go to the beach then "It's Real" can take you their just with its catchy open riff. If you want to go to the mountains then "Three Blocks" can take you their in just three listens. If you want to suddenly be "in tune" with everything that is happening with society then just listen to "Out of Tune." This album is an album that just based on its simplicity and its openness can make even your most unfathomable dreams come true. I swear every time I listen to "Easy" a naked Jessica Alba suddenly appears in my bed.
It is tough for me to review Days as a ten track album because I would rather think of it as a fifty minute soundtrack to my simple and delightful dreams. It is a record that at times reminds me of the Beach Boys, at times reminds me of The Rolling Stones, at times reminds me of The Pixies, and often reminds me of Built to Spill. And because of this it reminds us of a time when music cared more about occupying our dreams instead of occupying Wall Street. It reminds us of a time when we dreamed about long vacations on the beach instead of just getting our bills paid, it is a record that reminds us when we dreamed about swimming in lakes instead of drowning in false hope, it reminds us of a time when we dreamed of Utopia instead of just discounting it as an urban legend, and most importantly it is an album with ten songs that are so good that they sound like ten separate dreams. Days is a record that prefers palm trees over politics, a record that prefers clean riffs over computerized vocals, a record that prefers beauty over balance, and most importantly it is a record that prefers simplicity over cynicism. Days may not make all of your dreams come true on first listen, but it will be at least be an open experience that reminds you that everything just might be okay after all. And that kind of simplicity is something music has been missing for a long time.