Wild Nothing | Nocturne (Captured Tracks)

wn nocturneLet me start by saying Nocturne is not a terrible record, but it is not a great record.


Dictionary.com defines pop music as “music of general appeal to teenagers; a bland watered-down version of rock ’n’ roll with more rhythm and harmony and an emphasis on romantic love.”

So the question begs to be asked: Why in the modern age would a musical artist aim to make pop music? The honest answer is that I don’t know.

Wild Nothing appeared on my radar in late 2009 when his debut album Gemini was still in the works. The following year, the album was released, and despite all the condescending reviews referencing John Hughes and other ’80 s clichés, I did like the record. It was pop, but not in the same way that we are used to hearing it.

Let’s face it: The Beatles played pop music, but they grew up. Nirvana, as punk as you want to make them, played pop music. So maybe Dictionary.com has a definition that applies more to the concept of Top 40 pop radio—but honestly, I have to say it is a comically entertaining definition nonetheless. But, Wild Nothing managed to take sounds from the 80’s, modernize them, and make it appealing to a large audience, and Gemini was a great example of what pop music could be.

That said, 2012’s follow up, Nocturne, may have been a step backward. First, I think we need to remember that when Gemini was recorded, it was basically a concept, not a touring act. Now, having established a decent-sized fan base, as well as touring a considerable amount, Wild Nothing really had to release something that was more capable of being reproduced live. In this case, though, it seems to have caused the sound of the album to suffer.

Let me start by saying Nocturne is not a terrible record, but it is not a great record. There are great examples on the record of why everyone points to the 1980’s comparisons, but not so much that I would make the leaps that others would. The overall sound is driven by electric keyboards, swirling synths, and stacks of guitar that leave a lot to the imagination of what could have been possible. It is almost like nothing interesting happens while you are listening, there is no experience, but maybe that is what the point of the album was. I mean, the lyrics are there but they do not mean anything, they are just filler, so if you are looking for a record you can put on during a gathering, this might be a good choice.

I don’t want to get too in depth on this record because, well, I don’t think there is really that much to digest or elaborate on. To me, it is a pretty fluid, decent record. It doesn’t stand out, I won’t search for it, but if I were to hear a track come on the radio, I would probably tap my foot and not consider changing the station.

Wild Nothing is one of those acts I think deserves a listen; I tried my best to get into this album, but it just wasn’t happening. Like I said, it isn’t a terrible record, but there is very little to make it noticeable. C- | Alex Hodschayan

RIYL: Twin Shadow, How to Dress Well, Teen Daze

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