Phoenix
Ti Amo


2.9
good

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
June 13th, 2017 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Gelato left out in the sun.

The bell curve of Phoenix’s career continues to take shape. Having indisputably peaked with 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the band can be counted on to release an album of bright pastels and flowery shirts every few summers like clockwork, somehow remaining, if not entirely relevant, pretty damn cool and bearers of a distinct sound. Wolfgang came out midway through my college years, and I remember it with, I admit, something of a halo: the rare collision of muscular indie rock, featherweight electro-pop and masterful songwriting, soundtracking a time where nothing could go wrong and the future spread out at my feet. What followed strived mightily to replicate what in retrospect may be impossible heights; like some of my friends who say I peaked in college, 2013’s Bankrupt! was a shadow of its predecessor. It’s a relatively ace album in any other respect, with some of the band’s best songs, but coming out as it did in the middle of law school, it felt much like I did at the time, working harder to earn a degree that just wasn’t as much fun the second time around. Ti Amo, the group’s sixth record, is a yacht rock album that sounds like it actually cost a fleet of yachts to make. Lush, decadent, and empty, it’s the sound of me going to work every day and smashing my head into a keyboard, working for the weekend. When the right moments hit, like on the huge chorus of “Fior Di Latte”, you want that moment to stretch on forever, but reality sets in far too quickly. In the case of Ti Amo, reality is an album besotted with escapism, one that mistakes colorful daydreams for substance.

Phoenix position Ti Amo as a record that stares down the political upheaval and violence that has pockmarked western Europe over the past few years and dares to dance the night away anyway. “J-Boy” may tell a tale of love set against a timely dystopian backdrop, but that hook is pure, sugary melodrama. Thomas Mars has never been a particularly incisive lyricist, but Ti Amo is impressive for its commitment to Mars as an unrepentantly carefree and suave cosmopolitan, discussing soft rock tongue-in-cheek or telling a girl at the beach he loves her in four different languages, even when it may get a little creepy. (“Open your legs / don’t tell me no” goes one particular egregious couplet). Unlike past efforts, however, Ti Amo is jarring for how glossy and smooth everything sounds, the playful, mechanical synths underlining the regretful “Loveline” and the house-baiting melody of “Fleur De Lys” notwithstanding. Where previous records had an ebb and a flow to them, an urgency, Ti Amo is a sugar rush from beginning to end, the wonderfully churning guitar of closer “Telefono” tragically obscured by the oversaturated production of the prior nine tracks. “Via Veneto” tries for deeper significance but lacks the emotional gut punch to bring its incongruous tempo to life, while “Role Model”, saddled with a repetitive, mindless chorus, is seemingly big for the sake of being big. But both should sound fairly impressive on the group’s upcoming amphitheater tour, carefully polished and, like the rest of Ti Amo, made with a delicate care that suggests a band working at the peak of their production skills.

And perhaps that’s all Phoenix want this record to be. For an album inspired by such material pleasures as pistachio gelato and ice cold prosecco, Ti Amo is a fine celebration of a romantic summer or holiday, best experienced in a mildly drunk blur. Yet Ti Amo and Phoenix can’t escape the present by diving into Studio 54 worship with “Tuttifrutti” or making like a Phoenix cover band in “Role Model.” The fact is, Phoenix already made the quintessential summer record eight years ago; for all Ti Amo tries to recapture that magic, the inconsequential sweetness it provides fades as quickly as the delicacy Mars sings about in “Fior di Latte.” The lesson, then: even the rosiest, most numbing nostalgia gives way to reality eventually. Unfortunately for Phoenix and college age me, summers were never forever.




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user ratings (104)
Chart.
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
house cat STAFF (3)
this album is the absolute best at dodging superlatives...



Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2017


11945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

"Goodbye Soleil" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsHkjn_YNBg



happy summer!

Digging: Golden Features - SECT

dbizzles
June 13th 2017


11840 Comments


Will read, klap. But, I just saw them perform the title track of Jimmy Kimmel and if that's telling of what's to come with this album, I'll probably pass.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix or gtfo.

henryChinaski
June 13th 2017


4068 Comments


Best summary ever.

Digging: Rad Horror - Anti Teenage Season - Part 1

verdant
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2017


2244 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

rad review rudy

FullOfSounds
June 13th 2017


15764 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This isn't bad, just lacking in memorability

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2017


2474 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Incredible review. First paragraph is so well-executed.

Digging: Jazz Cartier - Fleurever

conditionals
June 13th 2017


555 Comments


Great review, wish I felt that way about Wolfgang but I've always found it underwhelming compared to the album on either side of it.
Anyway, a bit nervous about this now

ABjordanMM
June 13th 2017


1707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have a soft spot for this band.

theNateman
June 13th 2017


3359 Comments


Wolfgang was the best thing these guys ever did.

FullOfSounds
June 13th 2017


15764 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Trying to like this is difficult. Despite obviously being fun summery synthpop it's so boring

ABjordanMM
June 13th 2017


1707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

is summery a word

FullOfSounds
June 13th 2017


15764 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

it is now

Lucid
June 13th 2017


9871 Comments


excellent review as always, especially that first para. the blankness and one-note nature of this makes it a slog to get through. smirked at the rating, wish I could be passive aggressive with those 2.9s

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2017


11945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Lol thanks

rufinthefury
June 15th 2017


3030 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's a good album. just not as memorable as WAP or BR!

Gyromania
June 16th 2017


25498 Comments


RIP phoenix

pizzamachine
June 16th 2017


13854 Comments


Rip good music

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2017


11945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

saw them tonight, still absolutely slay live

Gyromania
June 16th 2017


25498 Comments


Wolfgang Amadeus is a top 20 album. It's actually their only album I even like. Bankrupt had some good stuff, but overall it would seem Wolfgang was just a huge fluke

DoofusWainwright
June 16th 2017


20004 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Haven't stopped spinning this



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