The Elected, Me First

The Elected makes a kind of beautiful, traditional pop music that jumps deep into your heart and lives with you, maybe forever, with delirious Beatlesque melodies, all heavily rouged with Elliott Smith-ness. (An interesting side-note: The band recorded the album on leftover, free time at Smith’s Van Nuys, Calif., studio, only a few months before his death.)

Near-perfect, er, no—this touches upon totally perfect. Music gets no more perfect with harmonies exactly where they should be, every note, vocal and otherwise, strong and sure, swimming within all this lovely instrumentation (banjo!), steeped in warbling, weary vocals. It all adds up to unabashed beauty, at least on the surface. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s probably going to turn out to be one of the year’s best.

Yet every year’s pop music, rehashed and redone, cooked up with different sauces, rarely reaches the heights it does on Me First—with these strong nods toward drum programming and other electronic effects. It’s almost as if a fantastically great—traditional—pop song were written, then fed through a modernization machine that rewrote it to include much of the best of everything our culture’s mustered thus far in pop music (Bowie’s electric bombast and come-hither vocal asides, Elliott Smith’s empathy and destruction), and still, despite all the tinkering, retained the fact that it was a rather awesome song to begin with.

They do it all with such a loving touch; it all comes through so crystal-clear.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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