Review Summary: Love is Dead is nothing if not bland and unoriginal.Every Open Eye
went on to be one of 2015’s defining albums. We had no reason to assume their follow up would be anything less. In fact, I doubt any listener eagerly waiting its namedrop was even thinking the frightful “what if” question. Earlier this year, Lauren Mayberry accidently slipped the title into an interview. After listening to the album, I almost wish the interview wasn’t the only thing deleted. Love is Dead
, if nothing else, is a simple and predictable pop album. Stepping away from the empowering and unwavering statements of years past, CHVRCHES aims to settle for a palatable and diluted approach in an attempt to climb the charts. Much as the cover entails, this album is the furthest thing from CHVRCHES you’ll hear. Love isn’t dead, no, CHVRCHES is.
In a combined effort from Greg Krustin (Sia) and Steve Mac (One Direction), CHVRCHES produced the album for the purpose of mainstream attention. For that reason, CHVRCHES shed their skin of an indie act and opted for full pop. This was an expected shift as CHVRCHES has always neared the boundary before. The problem is they stripped away everything that made them unique in the process. The music is incredibly bland and boring in Love is Dead
. Much like the lyrics (which we’ll tackle later), the music is repetitious and boring. It meets the bare minimum and stops there. Most of the time I forgot it was a CHVRCHES song. Everything sounds like an Imagine Dragons B-side. ‘Miracle’ is a dead giveaway in that regard. The production works for Imagine Dragons since, after all, they manifested that style. It only works against CHVRCHES since their entire premise was based on innovation. Do you really think a creative and innovative group would excel in a limiting environment？
Everything in Love is Dead
is incredibly basic. ‘Get Out’ repeats itself through the chorus: “Get out, get out/Get, get, get out/Get, get, get out of here,” is stuck on a loop. The song never builds to anything substantial. All we have to go on is, “Talked ourselves to death/Never sayin' what I wanted/Sayin' what I needed.” ‘Get Out’ does itself no favors using metaphors like “You are a kaleidoscope,” which don’t fit into the scope at all. It’s such an odd choice for a song about leaving. ‘Deliverance’ dials it to 11 during the chorus. “Deliver-iver-iverance” gets old fast. The music is generic modern pop with Mayberry’s dialed back vocal performance. It’s so predictable that I lost interesting immediately. Love is Dead
suffers an infamous mid-album lull. ‘My Enemy (ft. Matt Berniger),’ ‘Forever,’ ‘Never Say Die,’ and ‘Miracle’ sound like every other song and are easily skippable.
For a pop album, Love is Dead
is demanding with a 49 minute run time. Melodrama
, which had 2 songs less than this one, ran only 40 minutes and was able to fit a 6 minute song in the mix. The pacing makes Dead
feel longer than it actually is. It’s paced like an indie album but packaged like a pop album. It only goes to show how mediocre this album was put together. The average pop song is about 2:30 give or take. These songs are running 3 to 4 minutes. CHVRCHES went as far to insert ‘II’ to kill extra time before the closing track. The *last* thing this album needed was filler. To Dead’s
credit, the latter half does feature some of the albums better songs. They aren’t spectacular in any way, but they are easier to take seriously than those prior.
What it all boils down to is the fact CHVRCHES opted for quantity over quality. In order to be a mainstream act, they sacrificed their former image to earn one that is more marketable. Love is Dead
is a lazy, boring, uninspired album that doesn’t say or do anything special. The album tries to be a breakup/scorned celebration but can’t sell that image right. Love is Dead
insults fans intelligence in thinking we could ever take this album seriously. We go from making statements, empowering people, and awe-inspiring instrumentals to singing about broken hearts. From the “whoa-oh” choruses to the dull music, they honestly expect listeners to give this album any credibility. It’s hard to recommend this album to anyone. It doesn’t work as an alt-pop record or even a synthpop one. I can see where people would like this album. It does have a novelty appeal, but not one that lasts. Out of the horrendous albums that May has delivered, I can say Love is Dead
is a lot better than Black Labyrinth
and And Justice for None
. I hope their next album is better. I’m not asking for a miracle, I’m asking for a CHVRCHES album.