Reviewing is Hard: Walk The Moon Releases Sophomore Album

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In early 2012, my brother and I stood in the lobby of The Wiltern and made small talk with the generally unknown band from Cincinnati that opened for Young The Giant earlier that night. I would have never thought that, just a few years later, I would review the band that hadn’t even officially released an album under a label the first time I met them. That band was Walk the Moon, and their incredible sophomore album is Talking is Hard. On November 24, the band dropped their sophomore album with a surprise release over a week before their initial December 2 release date, and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. Although their self-titled first album is among my favorites, Talking is Hard does well to help the band avoid the sophomore slump that so many other bands seem to face. With a multi-faceted lineup of songs, the album comes together under the overarching jovial tone throughout.

1. “Different Colors”

The band kicks off the album with a characteristically cheerful song. “Different Colors” maintains the fantastic message of everyone coming together under their common love for music, and lead singer Nicholas Petricca notes that the song was written in support of the LGBTQ community in the band’s track by track commentary album. From the lyrics to the general beat, the song resonates happiness and acceptance.

2. “Sidekick”

Like many songs on the band’s first album, I feel like Sidekick would be significantly better live. Listening to the song, I find myself enjoying it more when I focus on how the band would execute it in their live set. Kevin Ray’s fantastic bass performance, however, makes the song that much better.

3. Shut Up and Dance

This one’s an easy album favorite; I am absolutely infatuated with this song. When “Shut Up and Dance” was released as a single on June 22, I added it to nearly all of my playlists. It’s safe to say that it’s officially my new favorite happy song in my sea of depressing musical favorites. On top of that, the song comes with this fantastically eccentric music video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JCLY0Rlx6Q

 

4. “Up 2 U”

Described by Petricca as the “slap in the face” of the album, this song is direct proof of Walk the Moon’s incredible range of talent. “Up 2 U” employs robust electric guitar riffs, borderline harsh screams, and moments where Petricca sounds strikingly similar to Adam Levine when Maroon 5 produced significantly less pop-y music. While I was blasting Talking is Hard the morning that it was dropped, my roommate even asked me if Maroon 5 released a new song while “Up 2 U” was on.

5.“Avalanche”

“Avalanche,” on the other hand, gets right back on poppy track. I feel like the song is just a typical Walk the Moon song. Petricca mentioned that he hoped people play this song on the highway, and I plan on doing just that all of break.

6.“Portugal”

Stemming from an instrumental conjured by guitarist Eli Maiman, the song now serves host to a seamless relationship between reminiscing vocals and catchy instrumentals. Also, with a bridge containing casual speaking strikingly similar to Ezra Koenig’s random spoken portions in Modern Vampires of the City layered over backing vocals, the song employs a wide range of elements.

7. “Down in the Dumps”

I am by no means a fan of heavily auto-tuned music, but “Down in the Dumps” somehow pulls it off during its intro. Throughout the remainder of the song, a tantalizing synth beat, upbeat vocals from Petricca, a strong drumbeat, and an incredible guitar solo mesh to create yet another exuberant piece.

8.“Work This Body”

An impressive array of percussions comes together for this heart-thumping piece. I think it’s safe to say that Walk the Moon is the one of the most fun bands of our generation. If you don’t agree after listening to this song, and this entire album in general, I’m not sure what to tell you.

9. “Spend Your $$$”

When I heard the band’s commentary on this song and found out it was inspired by a woman in LAX, I had a good laugh. Fun song, great message, etc.

10. “We Are The Kids

The first time I heard this song, I thought I was listening to a really quality Foster the People song during the chorus. Walk the Moon goes one large step beyond Foster the People in this piece, however, creating one big throwback of a song.

11. “Come Under The Covers”

“Come Under The Cover” takes it down a few notches from the rest of the album, doing well to slowly culminate the album (and I guess summer as well).

12. "Aquaman"

To be honest, the first few times I heard this song, I thought it was absolutely terrible. I could imagine it coming on the slow jams station that plays at my dentist’s office, but it has definitely grown on me. I’m sure that after a few dozen more listens, I’ll be telling everyone how much I love it; just give me a few more days.

Basically, I love this album and this band. If you’re in need of a set of songs to pick your mood up, new music to drag you out of the monotony of the set of songs you’ve had on repeat all semester, or quality music just because, absolutely give Talking is Hard a listen. Also, if you have the opportunity to catch them on their Talking is Hard Tour, please do; their face painted dance party of shows make them my absolute favorite live band by a long shot.