It was 1997 when Stephin Merritt released his first album under the name Future Bible Heroes, Memories of Love. In June of 2013 it is a brand-new thirteen track collection entitled Partygoing. For the most part, the album is most appropriately a testament to musical tradition of the ’80s. Partygoing is another one of those albums that suggest ’80s synth pop never really died. And convincingly, at that. Groovy and poppy synth rhythms make way to David Bowie references, drawling and dark lyrics, digital warps, and echoic subdued blomps.
Of the features that stand out about Partygoing, the particular effort on the vocals and lyrics are that ones that do the most. Partygoing definitely has an overall theme and a wonderful flow about it. And yes, it refers to partying. But it does it in a creative way. It plays on the darkness of the act of partying. It shines a light on the dismal nature of partying and how spiritually destructive it can become. It is not a depressing album–just serious; genuine. Right away, the album begins with “A Drink is Just the Thing,” which manifests notions of uncomfortably functioning alcoholism. Slow and morose, the texture of the instrumentation is sloppy and the track ends abruptly. Then, “Sadder than the Moon,” comes next, highlighting a very deep sense of loneliness. Obviously the depression from affliction has set in. The rest of the album seems to spike and descend from artificial yet seemingly innocent happiness brought on by a life of indulgence (i.e. “Drink Nothing But Champagne”) to the admission of guilt with an equal dose of apathy and desire to end (i.e. “Keep Your Children in a Coma”).
Overall, the music is wonderfully light-hearted while the lyrics and the themes are undoubtedly dark. With these elements juxtaposed together, Partygoing is rendered a unique piece of work. It is no doubt refreshing to still see the concept album as viable and interesting way of making an album. In the end, Partygoing is not only a great, new theme-album, but it is also an album of wonderful melodies and rhythm.