The Midway State – Paris or India album review

(Please note: there is a good review of this album on this site as well, you may want to click on that one instead.)

If you are addicted to Oxycodone, this music has the dissociative aspect that will definitely improve your high.  If your life consists of trips to strip malls and plasma screen televisions, and you high five your friends when a new Panda Restaurant is opened up because it will add exoticism to your life, this music is for you.

 If I were to choose music for a 90s romantic comedy, specifically for the ending credits, I’d definitely opt for any of the trac ks off  The Midway State’s sophomore album, Paris or India.  I can totally see Meg Ryan walking into the sunset to “Atlantic,” for instance.  It’s no wonder the band covered Spandau Ballet’s “True,” a song famous for its role in the John Hughes film, Sixteen Candles.  Their version, by the way, will be featured in the film Textuality. 

They are youthful and perhaps I’m jealous of their hairdos.  If this is the case, I’ve sublimated that aggression and am totally unaware of it.  Lead singer Nathan Ferraro’s breathy urgency rings false to me.  The lyrics are unimpressive, an incidental afterthought to fill out the catchy hooks of the synth.  I especially like the first seven seconds of the track “All Anew,” but the song is much longer than seven seconds.

There is a woeful quality of privilege and ease permeating the songs.  I believe the band’s cultural inheritance must be relegated to potato salad and commercial pop music, which I cannot stomach.  Although I do like my tater salad. 

Excellently mixed down by Randy Staub, the same engineer who did Avril Lavigne and Metallica, the album is flawless in its sterility.  Producer Gavin Brown has hit all the right notes for commercial success. 

Many of the songs, especially “Atlantic,” reminded me of  Christopher Cross’s “Sailing,” which is one of my favorite songs, especially when I need to calm down at the dentist.   I’ve heard all of these songs in other forms a hundred times already.  The aesthetic modus, a reductive smear, is like a mutating virus that has decimated the music industry.

By Jon Bennett

Jon Bennett is a musician and writer living in San Francisco.

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