hipsters don’t lie…
The Singles Party got excited for this one — the first single from the alterna-electro-synth outfit Phoenix. Their hits from their last album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix became ubiquitous — from movie and TV trailers to local ad spots and of course, heavy rotation on the iPods of every hipster and college kid in the greater United States. But when we heard that their new single “Entertainment” was being released in anticipation of their new record, Bankrupt! and with their inclusion on numerous summer music festivals, we just had give this single a listen.
Joe Zorzi: I’ve never delved into the Phoenix catalogue much further than their singles and “Entertainment” continues in the same vein as their last few. It’s got the catchy, electronic filled riffs with a sweet chorus. The vocals are what really make the track for me. Phoenix isn’t doing much to reinvent their sound but there’s really no reason they should. It’s fun and light and exactly what the title says it is. I’m sure I’ll be blasting this in my car when it starts to get a little bit warmer. Verdict – Add to Playlist
Brent Johnson: How can you hate a bunch of French guys earnestly trying to bring back the Asian-sounding-synthesizer fun of ’80s new wave? ‘Entertainment’ isn’t instantly and insanely infectious the way Phoenix’s best single, ‘Lisztomania,’ is. But it’s well made, and frontman Thomas Mars delivers a pretty vocal performance in the chorus. Verdict: Add to the Playlist.
Lauren Stern: Phoenix is a popular artist on my work-out playlist, so when I heard they were coming out with a new album, I got really excited that I possibly had some new running songs. Then I heard this…
It’s not that this song is totally bad. I actually like it. But it’s not the strongest track I’ve heard from them (e.g. a “1901” or a “Listomania”) and I’m disappointed that they chose it as their first single for that reason. I also feel like this is too similar to Two Door Cinema Club and that really bothers me. I was expecting the new single to sound like it came off of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix not Tourist History.
Still, these flaws are pretty minuscule (obviously); I still really dig the track. I mean, it has a really killer riff and the way the song flows as a whole is pretty damn solid. It’s just not “single material,” that’s all. Verdict: Add to Playlist
Jason Kundrath: Phoenix is a French quartet that makes synth-infused, dance rock. But ‘rock’ seems too heavy a word here. Their sound – like the members themselves – is fashion-forward, ultra cool, and… er… skinny. To the point, singer Thomas Mars’ paper thin tenor makes Ben Gibbard sound like Bruce Springsteen. And it works. 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix turned the formula into their first hit record in the US, a long 13 years after their debut album. So the pressure is on for a successful follow up. And if “Entertainment” – the first single from their forthcoming fifth album Bankrupt! – is any indication, they’re feeling it. And at first listen, I’m not exactly feeling it. Its bold, gurgling synth intro evokes flavors of the Far East and seems to aim at some sweeping, epic target. But while they are free to jack up the volume as much as they want, in the end, we still have Mr. Mars on the mic. So when the vocals kick in, the emperor has no clothes. Or rather, it’s just Phoenix in some ill-fitting threads. Verdict: One and done.
Bill Bodkin: “Entertainment” is solid. It’s a song that can grow on you or wear on you. To me this song is so middle of the road, that I literally cannot give an opinion either way on it. Verdict: Abstain.
Final Verdict: The yays have it! While it may not be the group’s strongest effort, Phoenix’s new single “Entertainment” is definitely worth adding to your playlist.