Passion Pit surprised the heck out of me with this Tiny Desk Concert. The album that two of these songs come from is full of loud, brash synthy anthems. But they totally dial everything back with just two performers–a synth and a guitar.
The blurb notes that
Michael Angelakos is a fussy sonic craftsman: A keyboardist and singer who started out working solo on his laptop, he now makes fizzily catchy electro-pop that orbits around monster hooks. Angelakos clearly saw an opportunity in bare-bones arrangements of his best-known songs — his 2008 breakthrough single “Sleepyhead” and two hits from this year’s Gossamer, “Take a Walk” and “Carried Away” — that he couldn’t explore with a full band. With only his own falsetto, an electric piano, and simple guitar lines from Passion Pit’s Ian Hultquist, Angelakos gets to direct listeners toward his words, which blossom under scrutiny.
“Talk a Walk” is a poppy happy synth song. An almost gleeful song about taking a walk. Well, in this version, with everything stripped away, you get to hear just what a depressing song this actually is. And when you hear this, you’ll never be able to hear that bubbly anthem the same way again. It’s a rich, thoughtful sketch of an immigrant family’s experiences, expectations, dreams and disappointments.
Once my mother-in-law came
Just to stay a couple nights
Then decided she would stay the rest of her life
I watch my little children, play some board game in the kitchen
And I sit and pray they never feel my strife
“Sleepyhead” is from their 2008 album—their first hit, although I didn’t know it. The keys are quiet and simple on this while the guitar plays the main riff. It too is quite catchy.
“Carried Away” is also from Gossamer, and it’s another big, boppy sugary single. This understated version does the same as the first song—you can really hear the words, but the melodies and catchiness remain, just much more quietly.
Even though these version are interesting and enjoyable. I was mostly attracted to the sound of Gossamer, so I’ll stick with the originals.
[READ: January 25, 2017] “Your New College Graduate: A Parents’ Guide”
This piece is designed as a FAQ for parents on how to deal with their college graduate, once the commencement ceremony is over and “your child will be ready to move back into your house for a period of several years.”
This helpful guide answers questions about things like feeding:
Most college graduates are vegetarians and will become cranky or upset if offered meat. They also have irregular eating habits. Most prefer to skip family meals.
Most require six to eight beers per night, plus occasional “shots” throughout the week.
One of the questions focuses on why the college graduate is so fussy:
Did somebody suggest that he “look for work”? Yes / No
Was he asked to “help around the house”? Yes / No
And what to do if your college graduate cries or screams:
Did you remember to fill her wallet with cash? Yes / No
Does she have her Moleskine and/or sketch pad? Yes / No
A particularly relevant one for this year is:
How should I respond to political temper tantrums?
It is perfectly normal for college graduates to have these kinds of outbursts, particularly if they graduate during an election year. As time goes by, though, the tantrums will lessen in intensity and frequency, and they tend to stop entirely once the graduate begins to pay taxes.
But, and this is important and not necessarily something that Rich says: tell them not to give up, not this year. And speaking of taxes, get our President to show us his.
This was a short but funny piece, and the concluding line is just as funny: Next Week: “Your New M.F.A. Graduate: A Parents’ Guide.”