Album Review: Neon Trees ‘Pop Psychology’

Neon Trees released their third album, Pop Psychology, today and I just want to hold it in my arms forever. I purposely avoided streaming the album before it’s release date so that I can experience it for the first time like I used to before temptation to stream became such a spoiler. Boy am I glad I waited.

Blending 80’s pop with the sounds of today, Pop Psychology is a delightful modern twist to the band’s influences – and like their past albums, Habits and Picture Show, it gets better with every listen.

Opening track, “Love In The 21st Century,” is pop at it’s best with truthful prose of the nonsense of the digital age. Singer Tyler Glenn sings of the trivial issues of a 21st century relationship that we all seem to dwell on. Love doesn’t have to be hard, but we complicate things by not being direct and hiding behind a screen. “Text Me In The Morning” is another infectious pop anthem that will be a crowd pleaser on the Trees upcoming tour, for sure!

Leading single, “Sleeping With a Friend,” has that comforting old school Neon Trees feel yet with a powerful jolt that allows it to stand apart from previous chart-toppers from the band. “I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends)” is pure frankness. We’ve all wanted to say it at some point – luckily for us, Tyler just did.

One thing is for sure, nostalgia is a major theme with Glenn, as a lot of his material stems from teenage love and angst that we all seem to carry around with us longer than we care to. “Teenager In Love,” “Voices In The Halls,” and “Foolish Behavior” dance around that notion with a somber ‘why won’t the right one love me?’ feel that still lingers on. “I don’t know if it’s good, I’ve been misunderstood most of my whole damn life.”

My favorite track, “Unavoidable,” featuring the vocals of drummer and all-around bad ass Elaine Bradley, makes me want to lay on a neon pink cloud all day. Songs don’t get much better than this, folks. The unavoidable truth of attraction is deadly yet so eye-opening if we just follow it and see where it leads. Can they release this one as a single, please?

“Living In Another World” is my new personal anthem. This one’s for all the beautiful freaks out there who just can’t seem to catch a break in this harsh world, so why not create another one? With lyrics like, “There are nights I feel like I could die. Four chords and a beat keep me alive,” it’s hard not to relate. Tyler Glenn, you are a beast and I salute you.

Closing out the album, “First Things First” is a sort of ‘coming of age’ anthem, if you will. We all go through the motions of growing into the people we are meant to be – some at later ages than others, but through it all, you still can’t get what you want unless you get what you deserve. “There were days and nights I couldn’t see the end and I swear that music was my only friend.”

After pouring over the album booklet in all it’s colorful shiny glory and reading through the liner notes, my love for physical copies of music grew, if that’s even possible. I urge you all to experience Pop Psychology through your own eyes, not a screen or a little device. Neon Trees have really outdone themselves with this one. 80’s pop for the 21st century with a surge of upbeat energy to keep you starry eyed and hopeful until the next album. Well done, guys!


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