By Timothy Ryan
Caravan Palace and its new album, “Chronologic,” which was released on Aug. 30, introduces an idiosyncratic layer of energy snuggled beneath a second layer of the components that make a song an absolute banger. Yet, these simple components are unlike anything I’ve ever heard from another band.
Everybody knows what pop music is. It’s certainly one of the core aspects of the modern Western music industry. It hasn’t been around for that long, but for the average student at the College, it’s been nothing but a mere constant in his or her lifetime.
I’ve heard the argument — heck, I’ve even argued this myself — that pop music tends to blend together into a bit of a monotone combination of similar, repetitive tunes.
Some could say that pop songs lack any more than an ounce of depth. I don’t actually believe that argument even though I’ve thought about it before out of frustration for finding new music to listen to. It can be hard to find cracks of light in the abyss of new and old pop music.
Caravan Palace — most notably known for its more esoteric, yet still popular singles “Lone Digger” and “Rock it For Me” — emerged in late 2008 after releasing its debut self-titled album, and it properly merges jazz, electronic swing and pop music all into one smooth, distinct genre all on its own.
The first song I heard out of their late August album “Chronologic” was “April,” a gentle and refreshing take on the warm, sweet emergence of spring, yet tainted from a swarm of bitter, unforgettable and distorted memories of the artist’s childhood.
It could also be the complete opposite — a cynical portrayal of the utter joy in childhood and the slow, yet inevitable despair of growing up. The song leaves listeners to reflect on the artist’s work like a soft, warm poem and look to nothing but their own emotions and experiences for guidance and interpretation. It’s rare to find a song with such depth and intricacies.
After getting a taste of the entire album, my favorite song is undoubtedly “Leena.” Taking place in Paris, the song explores the gloomy and despondent circumstances surrounding the necessity of eventually succumbing to employment or, in much more latent terms, getting a job, especially in the supposedly highly regarded city of Paris.
The song’s pre-chorus uncovers the sadness behind the search for happiness, only to find that each instance of happiness is short-lived and fleeting and gone before you know it. Each shed of happiness in “Leena” is engulfed by the sheer volume of a filler of mostly emptiness, encompassing an intense depth that could only be described as utterly beautiful.
Overall, “Chronologic” was an album that I kept coming back to over and over again for its bittersweet lyrics contrasted by its complex, positive energy. It boasts the introduction and perfection of a distinct genre, while promising a shining coat of funk.
While all seven Caravan Palace members deserve credit for their individual efforts in Chronologic’s production, the singer of the majority of the album, Zoé Colotis, deserves a standing ovation. Rocking nearly 15 years of experience in the professional music industry, any ounce of soul and life that wasn’t already conveyed through lyrics was done by her.
Rather than give this album an arbitrary number that summarizes everything it has to offer, I’ll simply recommend you give “April” a listen. The air will stand still and memories of your childhood will flood back in a river of both warmth and sadness.