Album Review: Neon Trees, ‘Pop Psychology’

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So. Neon Trees.

I don’t know, guys. I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve heard from them. I was actually a pretty big fan of their last album, Picture Show. But, something went wrong here.

Let me lay out some of the main themes to kind of make it clear: texting, loving you but hating your friends, being a teenager in love, hearing your voice in the halls. It’s hard to take a grown man seriously when he’s talking about these things. It sounds completely manufactured and Neon Trees brings nothing new to the table.

Photo Credit: © Andrew Zaeh / ZAEH LLC
Photo Credit: © Andrew Zaeh / ZAEH LLC

There are a few low points on this album which include “Teenager in Love” and most definitely, “Text me in the Morning.” You can basically tell from these song titles how corny they are. Neon Trees are so obviously trying to be relevant to the younger portion of our generation that it hurts. Tyler Glenn has a good voice but his “rock star from Hollywood” vocal stylings get a little tiring after a while. It sounds like you’re listening to someone who’s acting. Sometimes you just want to hear him be himself.

The highlight of this album is definitely their hit single “Sleeping with a Friend.” This song grew on me like crazy. It’s so damn catchy, it’s one of those that gets stuck in my head for days at a time. They’ve definitely got some great hooks on songs like “Love in the 21st Century” and “Living in Another World” that make the album a bit more entertaining.

Another strong point here is the majority of the songwriting. These are solid pop songs. But anyone could be singing them. The lack of substance is noticeable, taking away any chance at lasting value. It’s a shame because I thought their last album was quite enjoyable.

I haven’t given up on Neon Trees, but Pop Psychology was definitely a swing and a miss.