Little Dragon’s latest project, Season High, brings a cheerful, lighthearted electro-pop sound filled with simple, upbeat lyrics and breezy instrumentation.
The track titles reflect the album’s jovial tone, including names such as “Butterflies,” “Celebrate,” “Sweet” and “High.” The lyrics tend to be simplistic and minimalist, directing the listener’s attention to the quirky melodies from both the instruments and the vocals throughout the album.
Perhaps the album’s most all-encompassing song thematically is the track “Should I” that asks the simple yet profound question: “Should I care?” The album itself asks a similar question. As track after happy-go-lucky track passes on this album, it becomes more and more clear this Swedish electronic group does not care (in the best possible way).
Absent are anguish and anger from Little Dragon’s project, which creates a cohesive sound for the album. Beautifully haunting singing from Yukimi Nagano express celestial love on “Gravity” and the intense passion of a night at a club in “Strobe Light.”
The album flirts with melancholy on the track “Don’t Cry,” but the song is more comforting than disheartening. Nowhere on this album is there a lyric that will bum you out, except perhaps on “Push,” which laments the shallow and exploitive nature of celebrity.
Listening to this song without looking at the lyrics would mean hearing another bizarre song with strange sound effects and vocal samples in the chorus, but the writing tells a sad story of the constant attempts to win. Win what? The song is not clear, but the way to win is clearly through continuing whatever the strange voice is yelling at you to do.
Despite this potential burden, Little Dragon shows it is not bothered by any of this and seeks to continue making music and furthering the group’s unique sound. The escapism provided on this album appears to be for both the group and the listeners. While escapism can limit an album’s magnitude when it comes to its purpose as art, it sets a pleasant tone for the listener.
The album radiates pleasure, positivity and passion — a true appreciation for life we all hope our favorite artists get to experience. Often artists we love express their lives as tortured struggles, which can be a bummer. Knowing that an artist who has provided you with such powerful music (or any medium of artistic expression) is struggling can make listeners feel unhappy and compelled to do something for their downtrodden artistic idol.
Hearing the joy and passion of Season High means even more to the fans of Little Dragon because the group’s happiness and zeal for life on this album is extremely gratifying. They paint the picture of their lives as what we all imagine the lives of famous musicians should be — a lifelong party.