Listening to Metro Station’s Savior is like eating a mediocre chocolate chip waffle. There are isolated instances of deliciousness scattered throughout, but they don’t make up for the bland non-chocolate parts, and in the end, all you wind up with is a disappointing breakfast.
So before we discuss the chocolate, let’s talk about the waffle. Each track feels like it’s been formed from the same mold. Almost every song follows the painfully predictable pattern of building up from somewhat laid-back to generic and thumping bass. It’s all very color-by-numbers, and makes it tough to listen to the album in one sitting. In addition to the similar patterns of dynamics, many of the tracks use incredibly similar synthesizer sounds and beats. The tracks all bleed together, and it robs both the songs and the album itself of a unique identity.
The lyrics, on the other hand, are a mixed bag. Lines like “I’m always lookin’ for the next bitch/Or an exit strategy, you’ve broken me” didn’t exactly move me to tears, but this is meant to be dance music, not a Shakespearean play. The lyrics are meant to be simple and cheesy, and in that regard, they serve their purpose. They add more elements to the music, and they’re the kind of lyrics that a hoard of drunken college students would love bellowing: “You think you’re better, b-b-better than me? No you’re not, no you’re not, no you’re not, not at all.” Sure, it’s incredibly simplistic, but it fits in well with the music. The unfortunate trade-off, however, is that none of the songs are particularly memorable. None of the tracks on Savior have creative or powerful lyrics, which only furthers the album’s overall lack of unique identity.
With all that said, credit should be given where credit is due, and there are a few bits of chocolate-flavored yumminess in Savior. If you love thumping dance music, there’s a chance that you may enjoy this album. Every track is a great fit for a “club” scene, with a steady beat and melodic passages that stand out strongly against the harmony and drum parts, and listening on a nice pair of headphones adds a ton of extra “punch” to the tracks. The overall production on each song is very well done. The vocals and melodic passages of every track are all woven well into the sounds around them. For example, in the beginning of “Wake Up,” the vocals go, “Live fast, no cash, leave me then you come back” The “s” in “fast,” the “sh” in “cash,” and the “ck” in “back” all land on strong bass hits. Those strong consonant sounds add extra power to the beats they land on.
Unfortunately, random moments of goodness can’t make up for the overarching issues with Savior. It all sounds uninspired and simple, and I can’t imagine sitting down to listen to the album in its entirety. Every track bleeds together, and the lyrics fail to make up for the faults of the music. If you’re on the hunt for electronic music, check out Anamanaguchi’s Endless Fantasy or Chvrches’ The Bones of What You Believe instead. While not irredeemably awful, Savior fails to stand out in any meaningful way, and it’s tough for me to recommend listening to it when you’re off the dance floor.
*Images from altpress.com, video from Vans Warped Tour