The Naked and Famous made their debut in 2010 with a better-than-decent album, Passive Me Aggressive You, its music sounding similar to that of MGMT or Radiohead. Although not every song on the album sparked attention, and not every song will become a hit, each song does deliver a different and distinct feel. In so doing, New Zealand duo Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith have presented a new guitar-based, electronic sound that is just what the music industry of the twenty-first century needs. It also helps that the two singers’ voices match perfectly and almost seem to dissolve into one. Combining male and female vocals is no easy task, yet Powers and Xaylith do so effortlessly and flawlessly.
The album is definitely directed at a younger crowd; every song relates to love, mistakes, sleep and parties, among other similar subjects. “All of This” and “Punching in a Dream” show the upbeat side typical of The Naked and Famous, both songs featuring fun dance beats mixed with carefree lyrics. Don’t be fooled by the slow and soothing vibe of Xayalith paired with an acoustic guitar at the start of “No Way,” though, because the beat soon picks up into another typical rhythm. One would definitely recognize “Young Blood” if it played on the radio, having heard it either in the movie Prom or on the television show Gossip Girl. In addition, this song contains lyrics about the spirit of youth as well as how to lose that spirit, something anyone could connect to and understand.
And yet there is not necessarily anything too spectacular about Passive Me Aggressive You. Nothing truly sets it apart from the works of Passion Pit, MGMT, or Radiohead; it’s simply another type of this brand of electronica. The duo needs not to set itself apart from such amazing groups, though; instead, they join them by reeling in listeners with their addicting beats, tantalizing rhythms, and inviting electronic discords.
The Naked and Famous have successfully reintroduced the ’80s dance and electronica for today’s generation, creating fun music that doesn’t require listeners to think — as its lyrics are neither complicated nor necessarily deep — in order for them to enjoy it. They can just let loose and dance.
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