ROLLINGSTONE
ROLLINGSTONE

★★★★☆

This Utah-based band, first made famous as an opening act for The Killers, is known primarily for upbeat songs such as “Animal,” “Everybody Talks” and “Lessons in Love.” Neon Trees continues with its trend of upbeat, alternative rock music in its newest album “Pop Psychology.” Only ten tracks and thirty-six minutes long, the album epitomizes the spirit of short and sweet. “Pop Psychology” is exactly what fans have come to expect from Neon Trees: a great mix of songs, fun melodies and rhythms and fantastic vocals. If “Pop Psychology” isn’t the soundtrack to your summer, you’re missing out.

“Sleeping With a Friend” was pre-released, and it’s not surprising how popular it has turned out to be. The track opens with a slow melody and restless vocals. The song sounds like it’s barely being contained, and it breaks out in volume and emotion at the chorus. The combination of tense vocals with the somewhat chanting chorus and refrain makes “Sleeping with a Friend” an excellent dance floor number and a prime choice for blasting with the windows rolled down.

There really isn’t a weak track on the album, but “Love in the 21st Century” stands out as a clear winner. This song is going to be well-known and popular within weeks by virtue of its catchiness alone. The rhythm and energy are infectious, and the lyrics are incredibly relatable. The drums are loud, and the vocals are even louder as lead singer Tyler Glenn takes it home. “Love in the 21st Century” is the type of song that sounds like the band is having a blast when they play and sing it, and the attitude of pure fun and the thrill of the chase leaks out of the speakers. You can’t help but feel energized and happy when this song comes on.

“Teenager in Love” slows it down a bit for a tune that is more reminiscent of “Lessons in Love.” Instead of an edgy vocal performance by Tyler Glenn, “Teenager in Love” features the vocals of all the band members. This gives it a fuller, more complex sound. The staccato style of the chorus combined with the plucky rhythm established by the bass, is sure to illicit a foot-tapping, head-banging, lyric-mouthing response from any audience. The energy is high and tells us all what we want to hear about love.

Similar in style to Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” “I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends)” is a humorous reminder of how much we all love to hate. It’s rebellious, and once again the band is led by the powerful vocals of Tyler Glenn. “First Things First” is a bit of deviation from the norm for Neon Trees. The track is more of a ballad than anything, and rather than the rough, inches-away-from-shouting chants that often characterize Neon Trees albums, the smooth vocals tell us a story. Neon Trees appears to be going in a different direction here: they discuss music and how much more important it is than fame. To top it off, the electric guitar solo that comes out halfway through the song is perfect — not too long, too short or too much whammy bar — and leads the song into a reflective verse. The music is minimal, and the total transition is a perfect complement to the guitar solo.

With their ten-track album, “Pop Psychology,” the Neon Trees remind us that “you won’t get everything you want in this world, first things first, you get what you deserve.” This is true: if I had what I wanted in this world, we’d all have more than a brief thirty-six minutes of “Pop Psychology” to blast in our cars and at the beach this summer. For fans of previous Neon Trees albums, The Killers and The 1975, “Pop Psychology” is exactly what the doctor ordered to shake off the stress of finals and enjoy the summer.

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