Mine Is Yours (Passion Pit Remix)
I’m not afraid to admit it. Passion Pit is ok. Sleepyhead is a fun tune obviously, but Manners as a whole didn’t really do it for me. But, I will slap you in the face if you tell me they can’t do a remix. They have Ben Affleck syndrome: when they’re in it it’s mediocre, when they direct it’s great. A couple Passion Pit mixes have worked their way into my most listened tracks, but their refurbishing of the Cold War Kids’ What’s Mine is Yours stands out as the best (top two actually, but I’ll get to the other one later) in my mind. As one would expect (and hope) Passion Pit brings their unbridled joy instrumentation to the piece, stuffing all the empty spaces with layers and layers of synth, making the relatively melancholy original seem a little empty. But, the sound still stands out from their originals, so they haven’t totally co-opted the song entirely to be their own. What I love the most though is the huge snare hits added to the remix. Barely present in the original, the new percussion gives the piece an obvious ‘80s vibe, while the constantly pulsing, syncopated, and/or arpeggiating backgrounds keeps anything from getting tedious.
A couple minutes in, you might wonder where the song is going, but I think Passion Pit’s general success originates in them knowing people love an electro-pop climax. And they give it to you. I defy your heartrate not to jump at 3:14 – as long as you’re playing it at the proper volume (LOUD).
The bottom line? I appreciate Passion Pit’s ability to transform the quality of an already good song, into pure fun and energy. I hope they don’t stop.
To kick this off, I settled on a personal favorite a track off of Cold War Kids’ new album Mine is Yourscalled “Skip the Charades”.
The first thing that stood out to me about this song was that it truly did not sound like the Cold War Kids that I had fallen in love with. Gone (generally) are the jagged beats of popular tracks like “Hospital Beds” and “We Used to Vacation” or the staggered dual between bass and guitar in “Hang Me Up to Dry.” Its lacks the loose rhythms and percussion that were a hall mark on their prior albums, the jaggedness. Its smooth and pop laden, which one would thing is a bad thing for a band that has a fairly distinct sound. But it works, because well the band executes it to precision. You remove the vocal tracks and it could be construed as Kings of Leon. Yes, it’s a radical departure. And I love it.
The crux of the song is in the vocals, more so the progression of the vocals in how it drives the song. Lead singer Nathan Willet controls the track, his voice which seems to stretch (listen to the song, and you will see where I am coming from) as he reaches the highest notes, highlighting the longing felt. The premise is quite simple – he is documenting his struggles in a failing relationship, in which he and his partner simply cannot fix their problems. The song opens with a brief hook and Willet howling over it, but quickly smoothes out into smoothly jagged (it’s still Cold War Kids…) and short verse, with an equally timed delivery. Transitioning to the chorus, the sound opens up, while Willet slows down his delivery in to a mournful contemplative (“Let’s skip the charades/can we just speak plain?)
The song hits its stride in the incredibly short second verse (four lines), and the slowed down delivery of the chorus is countered by Willet’s call back (“Let’s skip the charades/You’re seeing right through me anyway/Can we speak plain?/We’re playing for the same team.”) The second half of the chorus is really where he hits his stride though, as his vocal precision slowly loses it structure, calling out bleakly “I’m the one who’s acting like I’m so strong/You’re the one who’s acting like nothing’s wrong.” As he gets more an more desperate, the song starts to come off its pop polished wheels a bit, guitars ring out of place, Willet starts to chant more, culminating in a third chorus that can only be equated with as pleading whilst singing.
The emotion of the song hinges on Willet’s ability to carry the song with his voice. The musical highs and lows, and the slow and slight disintegration of the songs structure follows the voice. And at the end of the day it’s a nice tidy package of truly heartfelt rock, that just hits me in the gut every time.