Roar is a popular band name, but the bewitching vocal-driven pop of Phoenix's Roar makes them stand out from their hard rock contemporaries. Plus, our Roar recorded a Daytrotter session. As much as I'd like to classify Roar as '60s pop, indie pop, beach pop, or vaudeville, frontman Owen Evans sums it up best:
A.D.D. pop: Short melody-centric songs with structures lacking repetition and whose arrangements change drastically as well as suddenly.
Debut EP I Can't Handle Change embodies all of these things -- it's a catchy album full of short songs (the album is only 15 minutes long), ideal for hanging out poolside.
Roar's themes are a bit darker than the music. Check out "Christmas Kids" and Evans' explanation of the song after the jump.
Evans says, "Music producer Phil Spector was said to have hidden his wife Ronnie's shoes so that she couldn't run away. He was rumored to have threatened his wife with a glass casket he kept in the house, saying that he would display her corpse in it if she attempted to escape. Spector was simultaneously writing and producing trite, catchy, pop songs for teens.
Pop music, by definition, is so ubiquitous and easily consumed that it can be hastily digested as banal or innocuous. When taking Spector's abusive, possessive behavior into account, the lyrics of '60s pop songs can begin to feel dark, insincere, and even sinister. I found a lot of common themes in pop from that era. One recurring theme was that of women being dependent upon a man or relationship to feel valuable and loved. Phil Spector is rumored to have forced his wife to watch Citizen Kane in the hopes that she would realize she'd be nothing without him. To me, the dichotomy between the Spectors' relationship and the music they created offers the following beautiful, albeit tragic, illustration:
All the quaint, romantic notions of love that '60s pop music has given us, do not
adequately prepare hearts and minds for the often brutal reality of human relationships.
Seriously, though, don't listen to me because I have no idea what I'm talking about."
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