Review Summary: An album that is a lot more artistic and soulful than most other popular music released within the past decade.
Ready or not, as soon as the opening track ‘Happy People (Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt)’ begins, the listener is hooked. Held in by an overwhelming jolt of emotion, the listener immediately loses all autonomy over their attention and becomes emotionally invested in T.T.I.D.S.D.I.E.U.I.C.
. This is because the track starts off grounded, with a moderate flow of energy, and a dark but intriguing philosophy to the lyrics. After what seems like less than half a minute into the track, the song has already sped through the introduction, the first verse, the pre-chorus, and the first chorus. The transitions in-between these parts are smooth and have a steady feeling of elevation in the instrumentation and the vocals. So as soon as the introduction ends, after only several seconds, and the first verse transitions into the pre-chorus, there is an anxious feeling that develops as though the apex has already been passed. It is in that moment that the listener is pushed into the chorus for the first time and is elevated to a level of sear angelic bliss as the song climaxes. Oddly, this is when the song is supposed to become completely dull and the listener moves on to something else. But because the song is constructed to maintain momentum, as soon as it seems as though one’s interest is dwindling, the next part has already begun and is about to transition again. But it is when ‘Happy People (Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt)’ finally ends that the album truly begins. No other track from this point on will enslave one’s mind as profoundly as the opener did and the album thus settles into a very particular consistency.
It is because of the fact that the opening track is the strongest part of T.T.I.D.S.D.I.E.U.I.C.
that the overall rating, at this point, drops from a 5/5 to a 4/5. The rest of the album features the same sort of style, themes, and gradient electronic and vocal techniques but without the same subjugating structure and immediacy of the opener. Soso continues to pour out her soul throughout each track using a combination of pop and soul styles in her vocals while occasionally changing it up by adding a bluesy accent or auto-tune to her voice. She talks about under-confidence in herself, alienation, loneliness, self-destruction, poor choices, and pretty much every other socially noir theme one could think of that an angsty young adult would normally want to express about their life. Dance synth riffs and speedy drumming frequently ascends the listener’s attention with the heavily relied-on accompaniment of vocal harmonies and lifting major scales played in a lower octave. The music consistently stays within a pop-like song structure while remaining imprisoned in an atmosphere of self-loathing and hatred towards the world.
But the overall mass appeal brought about by the initial track is maintained all the way until the end of the album. This is because there is a constant feel of post-modernism and elegance as well as a constant direction in the instrumentation. While certain songs on the album such as ‘Every Man I Love Has Got a Girlfriend’ and ‘Maria Makes My Life’ last just over a minute in length, other tracks such as the opener and ‘Who's Gonna Love Me’ last around four, and the entire time there is a constant stream of energy and navigation that gives the listener a natural feel as it guides one from one track to the next. Those aforementioned angsty themes in the lyrics make each song seemingly more relatable. Soso does not leave out enough detail as to make the lyrics vague, nor does she add too much detail as to make the lyrics exclusive to her experience. Instead she adds a moderate amount of polished finite presence, memorability, and personality to her words which in effect, allow those listening that have faced the same, or a similar social situation as her, to have their emotions mirror those that Soso expresses in her songs.
What largely separates T.T.I.D.S.D.I.E.U.I.C.
from the handful of other ‘dark’ pop albums that have been released within the past decade is the frequently re-occurring mood elevation in the transitions between parts of songs, catchy and danceable electronic synthesization, the emphasis placed on vocal harmonies, the personality and pain entrenched in the lyrics, and the post-modern vibes that radiate from the production. While it would be foolish to assert that there are no other albums like it out there, it would be more than safe to say that there aren’t many albums out there with the same sort of feeling and depth. A lot of pop releases are superficial and lack character but Soso was passionate enough to put her soul into T.T.I.D.S.D.I.E.U.I.C.
. This is evident just by sampling a track or two but can become emotionally overwhelming when listening to the whole album from beginning to end. So while T.T.I.D.S.D.I.E.U.I.C.
may not become the album of the year it will definitely make 2012, for a lot of its listeners, even more special and memorable. As a debut it is impressive what Soso was able to portray and it is clear to this critic that the music community should keep a look out for her future releases. If she stays true to her current form then she will have a very rewarding discography later in her very young career.