Sadnecessary – by Milky Chance
This album was suggested by a colleague months ago, but I forgot the group’s name! Milky Chance is apparently a musical duo from Germany that published their debut album in 2014. The vocal style reminds me of a cross between Andre 3000 and Beck – sort of gritty and grainy, sometimes playful; sometimes monotone. It alternates between a little hip-hop and indie feel, depending on the song.
Even though Milky Chance seems to have created a distinctive and identifiable “sound”, there are still many style variations on the very different songs from this album. There is a copious use of electronic elements here – without being “dance” or “techno”. Milky Chance has instead found a way to incorporate these fresh electronic beats with the more laid-back, moody, singer-songwriter style of music that appeals to the “Indie Folk Revival” crowd. The result is actually excellent – the album is well done, and feels very novel compared to other music popular today.
“Stunner” starts the album with a great beat background, and fun lyrics. Almost danceable! “Flashed Junk Mind” is also really good; I love the use of a classic rock-band guitar with other electronic elements and piano. This is actually one of the few upbeat songs on the album. “Becoming” is slower and in a minor key, but the backing vocals create a great theme – as they also do on the next song “Running” (featuring a gunshot sample, or what could also be the sound of angrily broken chalk).
“Sweet Sun” is my absolute favorite, built on a 50s-style rhythm guitar, with Jonathan Richman-style of spoken-word lyrics broadcast over a truly rocking background. It also gives a shout-out to “Jimmy and Janice” and I just love this acknowledgement to two music greats of another era. “Feathery” and “Indigo” start to lose me a little bit, because they are more melancholy in tone and slower in beat. And I’m sorry, but “Down by the River” sounds like your expected cautionary tale of long-lived regret, told over ballad-style guitar (complete with backing vocals reminiscent of howling coyotes). Sigh.
My conclusion is that all of the fun songs are towards the front of the album. After a few mellow songs that seem to stretch out towards the end, everything sounds the same to me – sleepy and slow. The chorus on “Fairytale” comes across like a well-meaning guyfriend slurring his confessions of love after too many beers. It just goes on and on! After this one comes “Feathery” then “Loveland” – even the song titles are kind of blah and they just blend into eachother.
Thankfully, “Stolen Dance” is shoved back here to keep you listening, and it breaks things up a bit. This is the radio single you are most likely to know, with an upbeat chorus and recognizable hook over a good beat and acoustic guitars, that mix with the gritty vocals to create that unique Milky Chance style. And don’t forget “Sadneccessary”, the title track –this invented word describes the tone of all of their songs, and feels like a smoothly read poem. A bit moody, but tolerable in the way it is presented – so shake it off and enjoy.
I’m giving this album a B+, because although it is VERY good and you should totally check it out, I find that the slower songs at the end just kind of fade into the background of my commute, instead of standing out and making me want to really listen. I’m curious about what this duo will do next, because this is a remarkably unique first album, and I’m sure there is more greatness to come!
Link to Google Play to Preview Tracks:
Link to Amazon to Purchase Album: