Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Cherub - MoM & DaD (2012)

Cherub is an American electro-indie duo consisting of Jason Huber and Jordan Kelley, who both hail from Nashville, Tennessee. Cherub has been active since 2010, MoM & DaD being their first studio album. I found Cherub via YouTube suggestions quite recently and they sparked my interest with their catchy beat in Doses & Mimosas. Since I liked it a lot, I chose to get acquainted with the rest of the album as well.

The first song on the album, What I Want, starts off with a simple repetitive melody which plays almost through the whole song and is in some ways a little hypnotizing. The vocals are a little lazy, creating a laid-back vibe. The lyrics are about wanting and deserving the finest things in life. The repetitive melody disappears to give way to an especially calm part with some wordless vocals. The song reverts back to its beginning self and continues with the repetitive melody and some phrases from the lyrics as well as backing vocals which are now dominant.

Dear Body is an upbeat song about drinking and getting high. It is kind of an address to the body, apologising for being so destructive. The lyrics express that the person is aware of the damage he is doing to his body and it chooses to trust that although all the drugs and alcohol his body will survive. A short part in the middle of the song takes a pause from the cheerfulness of the melody and beat. The suddenly gentle vocals are backed by soft piano chords. There is only one phrase in the middle part that says ‘and everything is gonna be alright’ that sounds more like a question that a statement. It is like a small voice at the back of the singer’s head that is a little worried where all this partying might lead. But gradually the beat returns and the song goes back to its careless enjoyment of partying.

You, Me and Jodeci starts off quite ominously, but quickly settles into a relaxed beat. The lead vocals are quite high-pitched and are backed by some deeper barely noticeable vocals. The song itself is about, as the song says, “getting freaky” with a woman, mostly submitting sexually to a her, letting her take control and do whatever she wants and allowing for some violence as well.

La Casa del Obispo is yet another song about drinking (and driving) and taking whatever pills available. Just like Dear Body it is really cheerful considering it talks about drinking until you are penniless and in Mexico. It has a steady beat and some nice basslines that would probably go well with the activities described. The second verse is just a little bit calmer with fewer backing instruments, but the second chorus is still as upbeat as before.

At the beginning XOXO is quite minimalistic, starting with just clapping and some simple chords and vocals. A piano melody which imitates the melody of the vocals adds a nice little touch of feeling carefree. The rest of the song has a steady beat and carries on the carefree feeling that the piano hinted at. The song is about betrayed love, finding out that the one you thought you loved was actually “talkin’ shit” about you, as the lyrics say. The overall attitude about it all is “just to hell with it all, I don’t care”.

Monogamy follows the same theme as the other songs and is musically quite similar to XOXO in its structure. It starts with clapping, a simple melody and vocals and adds more instruments and back vocals in the chorus. The lyrics are about not being able to commit to just one partner and wanting the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want it with whomever you want to. The song seems to just fade away, repeating the chorus, but returns for a calm ending with a slow beat.

I couldn’t find a good version of Roxxy on YouTube, but it is available on Spotify for free. Roxxy has a nice lazy beat that goes together with the message of the short two-minute song. It about convincing your girl to stay by your side and not talk but enjoy other pleasures. The song has a feeling of a dim smoky room and the lyrics create that effect as well, especially at the end with “eyes that mesmerize and looks that hypnotize”.

Doses & Mimosas is the song through which I discovered Cherub and is probably their most well-known song. It is also one my favourite songs from the album. The beginning is very calm as if it were an intro to a slow song to sway along to, but soon a steady beat joins the lyrics and the minimalistic music. The beat is quite energizing, especially in the chorus where it is accompanied by cheerful music and more active lyrics. The lyrics are of course about drinking and taking drugs to forget about daily problems and giving the middle finger to all the haters. It is a really catchy song and probably speaks to many people who sometimes just want to say “whatever, I don’t care” to everything.

Hold Me is perhaps the song with the sweetest meaning, it talks about not wanting to wake up since dreams are better than reality. It is much better to just lie in the arms of someone dear to you for ever. The overall feel of the song is also more fluid, but also has some funky elements and a saxophone solo by featuring artist Dominic Lalli, that create a great contrast to the dreamy theme of the song, but in some ways also emphasize it, especially the saxophone.

Lynndenberries follows the calm dreamy theme of Hold Me and its theme is also love, wanting to spend more time with the one you love and also the physical aspects. Although the song starts off with a fast beat as if signalling the start of a brisk song to perhaps dance to, combined with the music it just provides a nice base to the song and is a little like a fast heartbeat.

All is another sweet song continuing the theme of love. It features an American singer Natalie Prass who provides really nice soft vocals in the second verse and creating a duet in the last chorus that just repeats until the end: “All I wanna do is be with you.” The song stresses more the emotional rather than the physical part of a relationship, forgetting the commitment issues that were present in Monogamy.

Don’t Forget Me is a great ending to the album. Just like the last few songs it is also more fluid and calm than the first half of the album. It connects the two themes of the album, mentioning the drinking every night that was present in the first half, and love. It reflects on death and the strength of someone’s feelings, will your beloved find you after death.

The album surprised me by evolving so much. The songs in the first half are all about either forgetting your problems using alcohol, drugs, sex or all of them, whereas the last songs move gradually towards real love, at first only physical love. The attitude of “screw everything” in the beginning turn into real feelings and contemplating the destructive lifestyle by the end. Even though I liked the music itself, at first my impression of the meaning of the songs was not very good since my views don’t really match the ones expressed in the songs, but I liked that by the end of the album the ideas evolved and turned out to be quite sweet.

Silja Veddel

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