A couple of days ago, a five-minute video featuring 30-second samples from each of the 10 tracks on the upcoming The Birthday Massacre album Superstition, which releases on Nov. 11 (pre-order from iTunes), was uploaded to YouTube. You can check out the preview here:
Here’s what I took from the preview of each of the album’s 10 tracks, to the extent that you can take anything out of some random 30-second excerpt from a song:
01. Divide (0:00)
This song reminds me quite a bit of Down, the second track on TBM’s last album that’s probably my favorite thing they’ve ever done (it’s not an exaggeration to suggest I’ve probably listened to Down over a thousand times). The sound is different – Down is more hard-driving – but the lyrics seem similar, both thematically and structurally. I’d like to hear more. At the tail end of this snippet there’s a lyric “…rising up away from the Earth” that takes me right back to some ‘80s synth pop one-hit wonder that as I write this is driving me insane through my inability to properly recall it. To this mystery song I say: I will find you.
02. Diaries (0:30)
The lyrics that are in this snippet are a little weak: “Close your eyes | You’re dreaming, so am I. You know I can’t stay here and I won’t pretend | All that begins never comes to an end.” I won’t pass too much judgment on this until I hear the whole thing, but at first blush it feels like this could be a “skip track” candidate like One Promise turned out to be on their last album.
03. Superstition (1:00)
When I first heard this I swore TBM was covering Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Seriously, listen to this and replace the lyrics with “I come home in the morning light | My mother yells when you gonna live your life right…” It’s almost perfect. I want to hear the rest of this song, but I’m going to be entirely unable to shake the vision of ‘80s Cyndi Lauper when I listen to it. It’s definitely distracting, but there’s no way to know yet if that’s going to be good or bad.
04. Destroyer (1:30)
Destroyer seems to be the obligatory “monster voice” track that TBM has been busting out sparingly on its recent albums; the sound apes the monster-voice parts of Lover’s End from the band’s second album, Violet. It’ll probably be cool, but it feels like the kind of sound you could’ve called for this album the minute it was announced as being a thing. That’s not a slam; this type of thing is one of the band’s signature sounds, and they always make it work. I’m looking forward to this track.
05. Surrender (2:00)
This is one of my favorite of the 30-second previews; somehow it reminds me of Always which ranks highly on the list of my favorite TBM tracks that I’ve never actually compiled.
06. Oceania (2:30)
This feels like one of those songs that I’m not going to love, but it’s not going to be a track-skipper either. It sounds like a lot of the other things they’ve done, but from this little sample anyway there isn’t a hook that made me want to stop and listen to it. In fact, although it’s the sixth track in the album it’s the 10th out of 10 snippets I’ve written about for this particular post; I just kept glossing over it while thinking about the other samples. I’m quite interested to know how I’ll feel about this song after listening to the entire thing in the context of the complete album a few times over. Because I’ve just written five times more about this than I did about the immediately preceeding track, which I told you I liked quite a bit.
07. Rain (3:00)
This is going to be the first single from Superstition, and the band has already teased that a video is coming. They also released an instrumental-only track of Rain as one of the promos for its PledgeMusic campaign that’s supporting the album. You can listen to that here:
…and there was another teaser from the campaign that featured some of the behind-the-scenes work on the vocal mixing for this track, which you can also find on YouTube, here:
…so hearing a bit of all of that coming together in the final track is pretty cool. This should be a good song.
08. Beyond (3:30)
I can envision playing this song a ton, and I will say right now that I’m probably going to like singing along to this song in my car. I’m not really sure what else to say about it beyond that.
09. The Other Side (4:00)
This is an interesting track to me in that it seems to have the melodic-to-more hard-driving transition that would have made me guess this was going to be Superstition’s monster-voice track, only without evidence of the monster voice. After listening to it a few times, it sort of reminds me of their Red Stars track from Walking with Strangers — which is good because I think Red Stars is one of the band’s best songs.
10. Trinity (4:30)
This is an instrumental-only snippet, the only one of the 10 previews in this sampler to not include vocals. Awesomely, this sounds like it’s been ripped straight from the Blade Runner soundtrack (listen to the end title theme for Blade Runner) and seems to perfectly encapsulate the heavy ‘80s influences that run through most of what The Birthday Massacre has done with their music (and which you can hear repeatedly in nearly every track of this album — I’ve only mentioned a few of the ways this pulled me back to that era as I listened to this sampler. Seriously, it’s in just about every track). I’m very intrigued by this and will be curious to hear the entire track — I’m definitely wondering if there are lyrics or if this will end up being a purely instrumental piece (I could Google this and get an answer, I’m sure, but I choose to not find this out until the album drops on Nov. 11).
Overall this feels like it could be a strong album; as a followup to Hide and Seek from 2012 it’s got its work cut out for it, to be sure, but other than Diaries there doesn’t seem like there’s a particularly weak song in the bunch. I’m very much looking forward to Superstition’s Nov. 11 release date, and I fully expect to listen to that on a constant rotation — and not much else — between then and Dec. 13, when I’m going to have my first chance to see TBM in concert in Minneapolis.