Aug 05, 2022
By Caleb Campbell
When Superorganism first started making noise on the indie scene back in 2017 and 2018 they were imagined as “the Internet’s band,” a group whose cut-and-paste indie pop, hyper-online references, and patchwork songwriting approach captured the era’s manic online culture. After meeting and forming the band online, Superorganism began crafting their own maximalist approach to pop, writing songs via email before COVID would make that the norm for many bands.
Yet, music culture moves fast and the Internet moves even faster. Where their debut felt fresh and alluringly offbeat in 2018, where does it belong now that hyperpop has conquered the world of online pop maximalism? Moreover, how does the band’s colorful and optimistic sheen come off after years of pandemic living, political deterioration, and ever-worsening crises? If their sophomore album is any sort of answer, they’ve chosen to double down, heightening their debut’s strengths and even some of its weaknesses on their follow-up, World Wide Pop.
As the name implies, World Wide Pop takes Superorganism to the masses. The band was already scattered around the globe when they formed, but this global approach isn’t about geography as much as spirit. They seem to be trying to tailor their approach to the absolute lowest-common-denominator, while still retaining what made them unique when they began. In general, the hooks on the record are simple, bubbly, and elemental, the type that could appeal to radio listeners, music junkies, and playlist-obsessives alike. This melodic approach takes tracks like “On & On,” “Flying,” and “Don’t Let the Colony Collapse” into the stratosphere, delivering an explosion of bright and colorful audio candy.
These tracks best capture the dizzying pop blend that the previous record offered, offering a frenzy of sweet melodies coated in forward-thinking production and endlessly playful energy. Unfortunately, not all of the record is able to hit this same balance, with the band’s dense micro-sampling, upbeat group vocals, and darting melodies sometimes offering diminishing returns over time. If anything, their songwriting is often more scattered on World Wide Pop, with more of a focus on genre-blending and guest features which can leave some tracks feeling unfocused or cluttered. Title track “World Wide Pop” feels overwhelmed under the weight of all of its audio chaos, while “It’s Raining” feels rudderless, drifting without the alluring hooks or memorable melodies that carry much of the record.
However, even when the record feels unfocused, it’s hard not to be charmed by melodic highs and eccentric self-referential humor found on World Wide Pop. The constant barrage of samples, production tricks, and playful lyricism verges on excess, but in the album’s best moments the chaos seems crafted with intention. The shimmering psychedelic melodies of “Solar System” capture the track’s celestial setting perfectly, while the hyperactive samples that color “Oh Come On” make it a joy to unpack and examine.
In contrast, the album’s lyrics offer a few more shades to the band’s irrepressibly bright songwriting, tinging the record with some moments of searching melancholy as Superorganism wrestles with life in our increasingly online and isolated world. “Solar System” and “Into the Sun” are meditations on cosmic insignificance, while “crushed.zip” instead dives inward, offering the band’s most emotive and confessional balladry yet. The record’s most enduring theme is found with disaster and collapse looming in the background of the band’s lives, as it does on “Black Hole Baby,” “Don’t Let the Colony Collapse,” and “Everything Falls Apart.”
Superorganism may spend most of their lives and their music in the digital world, but the cracks in the auditory fantasia often let the real world bleed through. In the face of that decay, the band have turned their sophomore album into the purest form of Internet-addled escapism. The results can be overwhelming and unrestrained, but they also capture a freewheeling euphoric high that is undeniable. Even if you may want to enjoy it in moderation, the band’s universalist vision of indie pop has a little something for everyone. (http://www.wearesuperorganism.com)
Author rating: 7/10
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