Superorganism’s eponymous debut is all about how it feels to be young in 2018. It’s patchy, it’s confusing, it’s a collage of technology and medias masking the negativity bubbling under the surface. It’s simply too much information, too many details, too much choice. Too many emojis and not enough expressed feelings.
It’s All Good turns on the noise of the world. It begins with one of the frequently used modified to a near-robotic level voices in the album asking the lead singer a very simple question which seems particularly hard to answer for a 17 year old today: “Good morning Orono, you are awake / The weather today is dark / Would you like to get up?”. Soon enough the lyrics clarify that it’s a mixture of teenage boredom, a dash of laziness and perhaps some depression, as the chorus explodes in the falsely positive “It’s all good / It’s all good”.
The structure of the song, as we also see in later tracks, is classic; it almost feels like the multiple added sound elements, sighs, voices and electronic manipulations are there in an attempt to make things more interesting, or perhaps create the illusion of escape from the straightforward song structure lying underneath. However, as far as pop music goes, there should be some appreciation of this more engaging and entertaining end product, even if it’s achieved by adding the sounds of a hoover or alarm clock. Because, I suppose, why not?
Each song on this album prides itself with production that is perhaps a little bit too crisp. The album’s ability to inject sugar in your bloodstream immediately is typical for pop music; it leaves little choice for your imagination but to engage and be entertained. And it works.
Everybody Wants To Be Famous is an annoyingly catchy anthem, reprising everything the internet is guilty of. The melody of the verses and chorus is simplistic, but also sounding as if the song wrote itself out of thin air, paired with effective counter-melodies on synth and notes sliced into pieces at times. The modified vocals preceding the final chorus create the feeling that our tape is faulty, our vinyl player stuck on the same four notes and the world is too much. This song demonstrates that when the sound collage does work, it works wonders. It’s an addictive collective moan about evolving and yet reaching even deeper bottom than before.
Teenage angst sweeps through both the title and lyrics of Nobody Cares, in which lead singer Orono Noguchi realises that it gets tougher the older you get, but you can always take the edge off in any way you want once you’re on your own. Complete with a lazy, dragged out synthetic chorus, the track reminds us how confusing it is to be a teenager in 2018.
Reflections On My Screen is a definite highlight of the album. Its enchanting melodies remain largely uninterrupted by too many sounds, laid out over the singing of birds which fits well with the general vibe of the song. In a subdued but steady and slower techno rhythm, the track explores vocal harmonies and simplistic but effective songwriting. The lyrics continue the theme of confusion in the digital age and despite not making such flashy statements as the other singles, manage to fit the melody well.
It’s an album which shines with strong singles, complimented by secondary tracks featuring similar sampling and songwriting style but having more difficulty reaching the same level of greatness. Something For Your M.I.N.D., which also happens to be the first song the band ever released and helped them get initial exposure very quickly, achieves many of the things they’re after.
The lyrics, perhaps too colourful to make much sense of, seem to be picked for the way they sound and not so much for what they mean: “cirque du trash”, “barbecue”, “bourgeoisie” and their respective rhymes. The result is gentle on the ears combined with the bouncy rhythm of the chorus and its electronic counter-melodies. Once again we hear the familiar random sounds of biting an apple or modified voices, making the music sound like a playground on another planet.
The second half of the album, starting with Nai’s March, features quite a big range of samples, some of which have the potential to cause some confusion. The music continues to develop as an interesting soundscape, perhaps overcompensating the more modest songwriting, but inventive nevertheless.
Night Time brings the album to a close with a dancey and carefree mood, crunchy bass synths and, ultimately, a phone alarm. Its purpose is perhaps to make you replay the album by closing the circle of day and night until it’s time to wake up again and convince yourself that it’s all good.
‘Superorganism’ is like bubblegum, keeping you occupied for as long as you keep chewing – and there’s a lot to chew on. An inventive collage attacking all of your senses at the same time. Depending on your taste, the range of interpretations may stretch from not wide enough to being a bit too much for your senses. Chameleon music, reflecting who you are. Or perhaps who you could be in an alternate universe.