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The Pop Culture Wing of Hot Corner Harbor

Monday, August 3, 2015

Music Mondays: "Five Foot Ten (I)" by Passion Pit

Okay, finally, here’s the third part of my Music Monday series covering Passion Pit’s new album Kindred (parts one and two). And this one covers the song that I’ve come to think of as the best song from the album, “Five Foot Ten (I)” (The weird punctuation refers to its matching song “Ten Feet Tall (II)”, with each song closing out a half of the album).

Structurally, it shares a lot with “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go)”, starting with a fade in until and building into synth chords that form the backbone of the song, before swelling into a big chorus. However, where “Until We Can’t” thrives on its large scale, “Five Foot Ten” feels a lot less anthemic and more intimate. “Five Foot Ten” makes up for the lack of huge climax with a much more interesting texture, with it’s synthesizers feelings much more sharp and puncturing than the alternating crashing hits and calm atmosphere of “Until We Can’t”’s. And while I appreciate the relative simplicity of “Until We Can’t”’s arrangement, “Five Foot Ten”’s intricate arrangement feels much more exciting, with puncturing chimes, bells, wood blocks, vocal samples, strings, and all manner of things giving a frantic feeling.

Lyrically, it’s about equals with “Until We Can’t”; both deal with various anxieties singer Michael Angelakos is coping with. “Five Foot Ten” feels a little darker, though, dealing with his simultaneous frustration with and dependence on his wife, needing both his own space and companionship. Like their earlier “Little Secrets”, it’s a very personal song with somewhat dark lyrics behind a very bright façade (although here, the lyrics aren’t quite as dark, but a little more anxious). Unlike “Little Secrets”, this one offers more of a sense of resolution, with Michael reaching out and trying to work through his issues.

While I enjoy the lyrics, I think the music is far and away the highpoint. There’s just so much going on, and it carries on to the choruses. While the verses are sharp synth chords with more sounds as punctuation, the choruses build to the sizes of the choruses in “Until We Can’t” by just layering sound after sound. It’s a big and fitting conclusion to the rest of the song, complete with vocals as catchy and easy to sing along to as the latter without as much grandiosity. After much thought, I’d definitely call it the best song on the album.

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