Sylvan Esso
What Now


3.5
great

Review

by Will R. STAFF
May 14th, 2017 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dancing alone

What Now is an album best experienced privately. This feels odd, given producer Nick Sanborn’s excellent ear for effusive electronic hooks, but vocalist Amelia Meath is a master of taking the extroversion out of pop music and bending all that remains inward. She’s a people-watcher in the most self-reflective sense, in that she understands others as a vehicle for understanding herself. “Die Young” is about Meath’s relationship with someone or something outside of herself, but it’s really about her fixation on burning out as brightly as she can; “Just Dancing” is about Meath’s relationship with someone or something outside of herself, but it’s really about her complex feelings about what she perceives as the interchangeability and futility of love; “Song” is about Meath’s relationship with someone or something outside of herself, but it’s really about her obsession with being someone else’s obsession. What makes What Now worthwhile is the universality of its self-centeredness. Meath bleeds herself over glitched guitars and muscular keys with the bleary detachment of someone who’s been Figuring It Out for quite some time and will continue to do just that for the foreseeable future, but the artful whorls of her lyrics somehow balance the specifics of her particular anxieties with the more general anxieties of her audience. Of course she knows how to capture their nebulous perspectives, though - the point of this album is that she’s spent a lifetime observing others. Sylvan Esso has figured out the sound of walking home after school and thinking about your crush so that you can picture yourself saying things that’ll impress them, the music that plays as you sip a ten-dollar beer at the back of a hole-in-the-wall venue while you wait for the subway to deliver your friends to the door so you can get out of your own head for a few hours. We aren’t all that different in the end. Understand yourself, and you learn to understand those around you. Understand those around you, and you learn to resonate with them. Resonate with them, and you learn to speak about yourself in a way that carries meaning - and this is what What Now does best. Take a walk with this in your headphones and look at the people passing by; you’re allowed some isolation among others.



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user ratings (43)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2017


4484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

trying something a bit different here length-wise, no idea if it'll be good but what I do know is that it's criminal nobody had reviewed either of Sylvan Esso's albums so here you go



the glow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYDEl93n75Q

radio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LEmDEZVa5g

coffee, because it's on the last album but is the best song they'll probably ever write: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr5AIKRPIHo

verdant
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2017


2424 Comments


love both the band and this review. i'm giving this a go now

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2017


12202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

one of my favorite albums this year thanks for reviewing

RadicalEd
May 15th 2017


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Radio is amaze.

theBoneyKing
May 22nd 2017


17868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh nice, didn't see this got a review. The Glow, Song, Slack Jaw, and Rewind are wonderful.

Digging: Elliott Smith - Either/Or

brandontaylor
May 31st 2017


875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

found this one pretty lacklustre compared to their really quite unique debut, but radio is a great song

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 31st 2017


3944 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ya, I could groove along to s/t alot more than this, but I still like this.

zaruyache
August 2nd 2017


21659 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This is nice.

Digging: Blue Noise - Everyone Goes Away Eventually

JeetJeet
August 2nd 2017


7403 Comments


Die Young and Kick Jump Twist are the best songs on here

granitenotebook
Contributing Reviewer
October 18th 2017


970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

SEVERELY underrated. this is a big improvement over debut and one of the best albums of the year

luci
December 4th 2017


12069 Comments


band is festival fodder. mediocre af

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2017


12202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why u do dis

Ashtiel
July 31st 2019


837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bops so, so much. hope to get something new from these guys soon ❤️

Digging: Fews - Into Red



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