Desaparecidos
Payola


3.5
great

Review

by NoSons USER (26 Reviews)
July 8th, 2015 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We're Doomed.

It is about time Conor Oberst and company have teamed up again to bring us the newest politically driven punk album from Desaparecidos. Payola is the next chapter of socially conscious narratives from a man who is so used to narrating the angst of his own troubles against the world. Actually, it seems perfect that Oberst is again at the center of hot topics to write about. He tackles the issues of Mayor Joe in 'Marikkkopa' and even makes fun at everyone who thinks their extra dollar is actually saving people in 'Slacktivist.' As we are seen wearing our wristbands promoting a cure for a cause, the music is actually catchy and, well, fun. How many times does an Oberst driven record feel upbeat and positive? That is perhaps the most exciting part of Payola and also it's biggest downfall.

'City On The Hill' offers us the first of many anthemic songs that will ignite, even if for a second, the revolting side of our free will. The driving guitar lines mixed with that damned intriguing tremolo note fluttering between the heavy chords makes the call to protest strong within our hearts. The chorus is sporadic and full to the brim of Oberst's most visceral voice, approaching a raspy and desperate comment on our Capitol. The issue with the rest of the album is about every song offers the same angst and urgent call to action in his voice. 'MariKKKopa' has a similar structured chord progression minus the tremolo note, really beating on the stop and go's in the chorus to effectively showcase the frustrated Oberst narration. Laura Jane adds her own spark of enraged vocals on 'Golden Parachutes' which is to be expected of an album meant to rally the troops, so to speak.

'Te Amo Camila Vallejo' is perhaps the most memorable vocal deliveries across the entire album. The melodies are rich with that wiry voice producing emotions that could suit a proper love song. The pain and heart of the delivery is enough to keep me coming back and singing along every time. 'Backsell' is another highlight of the album, using dynamics and stellar syncopated bass/drum lines to create a natural build in the song that isn't cliche. The song appears to be a rant about how Oberst became such a wanted musician as he was releasing more and more critically acclaimed material in the early 2000's. 'Von Maur Massacre' is the arch nemesis to the club dance song, instead marching forward with synth beats and aggressive guitars backed by an assault on the drum kit.

What would a Conor Oberst project without biting sarcasm that questions everything we are trying to get behind? 'Slacktivist' and '10 Steps Behind' offer the everyday punk song reversing the narrative on how lazy and indulgent we as a country have become. The former song has plenty of lyrics that mock our small donations that really provide nothing to the cause of help, instead reminding us "There's so much to do we can get it done." But there are certain social issues that Oberst hits right on the spot, like the endorphin release closing track 'Anonymous' which brings back the rally into one final anthem to close off a rather short album.

Listening to the album from front to back can be an exhausting process. A majority of the songs clock in around the same time and pace, giving them a muffling effect. It is a lot of material to cover at 14 songs lasting only 32 minutes. Every song has a loud and forceful chorus, often marked by a two step approach to the drums and a quickened chord progression, never really distinguishing themselves apart from other songs except by lyrical content. One could very much put the album on shuffle and process the album in the exact same jumbled manner. Still, listening to all the songs on Payola is nothing short of an adrenaline rush of fun, I just wish there was more variety.




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user ratings (74)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
NoSons
July 8th 2015


152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I would recommend this over Bright Eyes. It is actually something that doesn't take hours to get into, it's something you can throw on in the car and actually enjoy listening too.



Bright Eyes offer a somber and daunting aspect of life while this offers energy and a reason to listen.

LotusFlower
July 8th 2015


12000 Comments


the song writing on a lot of these tracks are atrocious.

NoSons
July 8th 2015


152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ cause they are repetitive or because the lyrics and subject content fall short?

LotusFlower
July 8th 2015


12000 Comments


Eh a little bit of both

Supercoolguy64
July 8th 2015


9451 Comments


this looks cool, pos'd

Digging: Starflyer 59 - Silver

NoSons
July 9th 2015


152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you very much! ^

alienobserver
July 12th 2015


4496 Comments


love

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 19th 2015


25748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this album has been flying pretty low on everyone's radar this year. will have to relisten to it before I finalize my AOTY list. I remember liking quite a few songs

Artuma
December 19th 2015


31617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is damn solid but nothing on here touches read music

Digging: Hum - Inlet

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 19th 2015


25748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

read music?

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 19th 2015


25748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

whoops right their other album aha. thought you meant to say "real music" and I was confused

Artuma
December 20th 2015


31617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol. either way yeah, this hasn't been really getting any attention which is kinda weird since it's the first desaparecidos release in over a decade

dustandnations
March 25th 2020


310 Comments


This honestly rules, just as good as Read Music/Speak Spanish to me



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