By Darby VanDeVeen
The Neon Trees released their fourth studio album “I Can Feel You Forgetting Me” on July 24 of this year. After a six-year hiatus between albums, the band makes a triumphant comeback about self-love and perseverance.
After frontman Tyler Glenn publicly came out in 2014, he took a break from the band to explore his sound and find his voice. Since then he has left his religion, released his solo album “Excommunication” and stepped into the shoes of Charlie Price in the Tony-award winning Broadway show “Kinky Boots.” The result of this newfound self-exploration is one of Neon Trees’ most complex albums yet.
On the surface, “I Can Feel You Forgetting Me” feels like a breakup album. “Nights” touches on the idea of getting through the day just fine, but experiencing sleepless nights, while “Used to Like” grasps at the last straws of a relationship turned bad. “Get back to what you used to like about me,” he pleads to the subject of the track. While the concept of an ended relationship is clear, there is a lot more going on under the surface.
With an ended relationship comes the natural feelings of loneliness, anxiety, anger and frustration. It’s easy to write an album bashing the former flame, but Neon Trees did not take the easy way out. Writing about moving on (“Living Single”) and accepting the toxicity of the relationship (“Skeleton Boy”) adds more depth and shows an emotional evolution.
Some of my own personal favorites were “New Best Friend” and “Used to Like” simply because of the stories the songs told. While none of the songs are explicitly bad, there are some songs that end up being forgotten since the consistency borders on repetitive.
Each of the 10 tracks is danceable and upbeat, no matter what the topic of the song is. Even the slowest song, “Mess Me Up,” is driven by a drum beat, which keeps the song from being too heavy. While none of the production elements are groundbreaking, the groovy tone of the synth-infused pop-rock makes this an enjoyable listen.
Soaring guitars and melodies explore the idea of leaving a relationship behind, but acknowledging that the relationship had to end. The tracks balance reminiscing about and mourning the relationship with the possibility of reinventing yourself and moving on. “I know everything is killing me, I just gotta live” Glenn belts on the song “Everything Is Killing Me.”
We all have a give-and-take of wanting to keep a tight grasp on memories, but that inhibits our ability to move on. The Neon Trees acknowledges and elevates this to be the theme of the album. This dichotomy of holding onto the past while still allowing yourself to grow and change is what makes this the band’s most emotionally mature album yet.