Glass Animals
How To Be A Human Being


4.5
superb

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
August 27th, 2016 | 149 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: How to be the best you can be

Glass Animals make it look so effortless. By pairing spiritual, tribal grooves with choruses that could rot your teeth in a matter of seconds, they found themselves a comfortable niche that assured them a spot in our hearts and ears for years to come. It's so easy to pin down all the building blocks of what makes their formula great that it was probably a walk in the park to keep these locked in while the actual music took a step sideways. How To Be A Human Being is not Zaba, with its thick choruses and sexual innuendos; where the first album was cocoa and peanut butter, the second is freer and airier – light chocolate, perhaps. Yes, the grooves and the weird obsession with food are still ingrained in Glass Animals' DNA, but Human Being is in every way its own beast.

How To Be A Human Being was marketed as a sort of anthology concept album where each song tells the story of someone the band had met. While this is vague enough to describe just about any album ever made, it's also an accurate representation of what to expect behind the album's nightmare fashion parade of a cover. Every song seems to have its own distinct identity, from the fuzzy pop frenzy "Pork Soda" to the schizophrenic downtempo slink of "Mama's Gun" to the disillusioned trip-hop of "The Other Side of Paradise". "Season 2 Episode 3" and "Cane Shuga" signal new territory for the band musically as they toy with voice distortion and Nintendo-esque synths, forging a sound that rests comfortably on the flipside of Zaba's tribal, earthy grooves. No-one will ever describe Bayley and co. as being thoughtful lyrical masterminds, but they're certainly clever: "Life Itself" juxtaposes vaguely depressing, absent-minded admissions of failure ("I can't find a job, so I live with my mum/I sit in the car and listen to static") with humour ("she said I look fat, but I look fantastic") to create the perfect unemployment anthem. "Agnes", perhaps the climax of the band's career at this point, tells a moving story of a friend succumbing to drug addiction. There's no exotic groove or synth freak-out or surreal food humour, just a simple, sad piece of Dave Bayley's life translated into song.

What it really comes down to is this: How To Be A Human Being wears a lot of faces, but it's always comfortable in its own skin. Less eccentric and exciting than its predecessor, perhaps, but only by choice. Glass Animals are at their peak in 2016, and perfectly content to be slower and quieter, worming their way into your head by inches but settling in for the long haul once they're in there.



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user ratings (207)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
wtferrothorn (4)
With 'How To Be A Human Being', Glass Animals answers the question "What's it like to be human?"...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


41978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this year has been too good to me

Digging: Cave In - Final Transmission

danielcardoso
August 27th 2016


11770 Comments


Oh yeah heard this was coming out, have to hear soon. Gonna read in a sec row buddy :D

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


41978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this is essential listening dude, have you heard their first one?

danielcardoso
August 27th 2016


11770 Comments


can't say i have buddy, at least not enough to rate it. which is the best starting point?

wtferrothorn
August 27th 2016


5800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this>Zaba

review coming soon ; )

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


41978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

start here danny it's better and a smoother listen



agreed ferro! Agnes is their best song by far. look forward to your rev

JamieTwort
August 27th 2016


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very nice review, Rowan.



Interested in checking this.



One small thing I noticed:

"the second is freer and airer"

I think you mean airier.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


41978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I did indeed, good catch man

wtferrothorn
August 27th 2016


5800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Side note: Which character do you think match which song on the record? I've got these down I think:

Life Itself - guy on the way far right

Youth - black lady

Season 2 Episode 3 - girl sitting on the left

Pork Soda - guy w/ the camera

Mama's Gun - lady in the white dress

Cane Shuga - basketball player

[Premade Sandwiches] - the old man on the left

Other Side of Paradise - guy in the swimsuit

Take A Slice - fat lady

Poplar St. - kid on the trike

Agnes - girl sitting on the right



Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


41978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Other Side of Paradise mentions "He's gonna be Hakeem Olajuwan" so I'm pretty sure that's the basketball player for that one



in the mood board things they uploaded in an interview, Agnes was the guy with the camera in the centre (link here https://images.genius.com/6b9b37d8ca3cfbd1f19880abfe247dec.1000x750x1.jpg)



also assumed Youth would be the kid on the trike but could be wrong I suppose?

danielcardoso
August 27th 2016


11770 Comments


It's olajuwon buddy ahah.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


41978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dammit genius.com you failed me!

wtferrothorn
August 27th 2016


5800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Now that you mention it, "Gonna be a hoop phenomenon, He's gonna be Hakeem Olajuwon" definitely points toward him.



And Youth is the lady because the band made websites for the characters of the first two singles, and the second one [ http://dizzyoncaffeine.com/ ] fits her, as she was depicted as a waitress at a cafe in the Youth video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZdsmLgCVdU.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


41978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh yeah, fair point. so yeah I reckon Agnes is the camera guy and Pork Soda is the girl sitting on the right. Cane Shuga is probably the swimsuit guy because of the steamrolled hair bit

wtferrothorn
August 27th 2016


5800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Seems about right. Also the site made for the guy from the first single is amazing http://www.raygun123.com/

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 27th 2016


31122 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

So excited to hear this whole thing. I loved the singles and am just getting into the band now.



Good review btw; is it for the competition?

Digging: Bad Books - III

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2016


41978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wanted to review this anyway but I saw this was in the competition so I'll happily jump in that ring too

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


24757 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wtfffff i cant be the third person to review this cmon

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2016


24757 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

on a different not im listening to this through for the first time today and it's fucking hype. all these songs are amazing but Season 2 Episode 3 might be my SOTY

wtferrothorn
August 27th 2016


5800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's up there, such a chill song and I love the lyrics. Also sorry I left you taking up 3rd on the Glass Animals review train, it's just so good : (((



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