Jonathan Boulet – We Keep The Beat, Found The Sound, See The Need, Start The Heart
We keep the beat. We found the sound. We see the need. We start the heart. Yes, we really do. In his beautifully organic second album, Jonathan Boulet points the microphone directly at us, creating a simultaneously raw celebration and ironic criticism of youth. This album is made of driving beats, epic swells, crashing melodies and uplifting choruses, beginning with intensity and refusing to relent until the final track: this is what being young sounds like.
When I listen to this, I feel instant excitement. I feel like running barefoot through a sunset forest, shouting meaningless words that nobody can tell me I can’t. I see Instagram lens flare, free-flowing hair and teens adorned in leather and feathers, and drink it up without a trace of irony. That’s the magic of this album. It has a freeing, exalting sound that musically reads like a hymn to adolescence, to being fresh and dumb and crazy, to, as his chorus proclaims on the track “Trounce”, not knowing any better. It’s made to engage, to turn apathy into fervour.
But what Boulet does best with his sophomore record is capture the dichotomy of Gen Y, the dichotomy that supposedly defines us as a generation. While musically, it is one of the most swelling and blissfully happy albums you’ll hear, a sound that could excite you into changing the world, it has a lyrical snark that emulates Gen Y’s perceived self-interest, recklessness and laziness. Think of the disparity between the initial and subsequent reactions to Kony 2012, one day we can change the world, the next it’s easier to be cynical. Songs like the uplifting “You’re A Animal” (deliberately left grammatically incorrect) play on the conflict between our desire to be individual and that inevitable herd mentality, it’s a song sung in chorus, each voice shouting to be heard on its own though shouting at once. Similarly “Hallowed Hag” is a crashing criticism of the thoughtless oversharers of the social media world. The marriage of cynicism and idealism here is so perfect it’s delicious.
This album is just so damn clever, it took me by surprise. There’s so much to discover here lyrically, but the music just sweeps you away. It will have done its job just as well if you feel like doing nothing but being brainless, running and shouting to it. Boulet knows that no matter how hard we try, we can’t fight our nature, a battle this generation is intent on fighting, whether or not winning has a point.
by Natalie Tencic