Music columnist losing belief in sophomore slump
By: Colleen McDaniel – Music Columnist
Ephemera: “e-phem-er-a.” Noun. “Things that exist or are used or enjoyed for a short period of time.”
It’s been a few weeks since Little Green Cars released their sophomore album. In the off chance you didn’t catch on, the album is very cleverly named “Ephemera.” “Ephemera” because there are songs about premature death and broken relationships and other themes of that realm. “Clever” because if there’s anything this album is not, it’s ephemeral. That is to say, this album is going to last and grow—at least in my own heart.
If I’m being honest, I love it when sophomore albums tank. I think it’s a way to weed out the not-so-great artists of the world, way to preserve the one-album-wonders and a way to cheer a favorite band on to comeback-kid status. Fortunately for us and our favorite band out of Dublin, Ireland,—Sorry, U2—we can all put away our cynicism for the season.
“Ephemera” is my favorite album of the year—and I don’t mean 2016 because my musical year starts in May. It has been a fantastic year for sophomore albums. So great in fact, I’m starting to question my belief in the sophomore slump. Truly, I was even afraid for a while that maybe I was getting soft. Maybe my mind was too open to new music. How will I ever get my editing position at Pitchfork if I give out so many positive reviews? At least I still hate Nickelback.
But in all seriousness, there’s no way I’m getting soft. I think the artists I’m reviewing are just genuinely good. Here’s how I know: I was lucky enough to see Little Green Cars while abroad in Ireland this past semester (insert smug emoji here), so I cannot say I am at all surprised that they would be talented enough artists to create nothing but music we love. They played a handful of songs off their new album at the show. My favorite at the time was “Garden of Death” which lead male vocalist, Stevie Appleby, prefaced as an upbeat, cheerful tune. Anyways, my point being that when I saw them, I was blown away, completely beyond impressed with their sound and their presence and man is it hard to be a music critic when a band is that good.
On one hand, I don’t recommend listening to the album if you’re in the mood for something light-hearted and upbeat. It is by no means anything of the sort. One might describe their lyrics as melancholy or somber, and while I wouldn’t disagree with that…I still can’t say that they have ever left me feeling that way. I might listen to them on a rainy day, but I wouldn’t be staring out a window as drops of water rolled down the glass. No, I would probably be standing on my couch, singing my heart out with a gourd as a microphone—I’m not sure why I would have a gourd in this scenario, but let’s just stick with it. Or maybe I would be going on a peaceful walk to contemplate the complexities of nature. Or maybe I would just be in the mood for some friggin’ amazing music. Either way, you see what I’m saying.
Little Green Cars’ “Ephemera” is an album that proves the true artistry of its makers. Listen to it. Sing along with it. Tell everyone you know that I recommended it.
Album artwork courtesy of iTunes, where the entire album is available for digital purchase.