Best of 2016: Glass Animals' "How to Be a Human Being"
By Jesii Dee
Glass Animals hits hard with their sophomore release; How to Be a Human Being is all over the place in that each song has its own thing going on, but still melts together to form one giant neon colored explosion. It's indulgent, lush, even playful, and - if you listen closely - somewhat dirty with a ton of cocaine and party references. The album starts out with a cinematic twirl before thundering drums and weird distortion starts dancing around. The singer, Dave Bayley, has a hushed voice most of the time, drawing your ear in. But his range comes to life during the chorus of lead track and the first single "Life Itself."
Moments of quiet suspend between much more broad strokes of melody and complex layers that they've been able to weave together. The bouncy "Pork Soda" was an instant favorite, and I've had it on at any point that I needed a little pick-me-up before or after a night out. It's probably the most trippy in that it starts out with the lyrics "Pineapples are in my head" and throws in a scratchy beat. This is a party anthem, undoubtedly; not a song you want to sing in the car with your parents or kids.
With ten tracks (plus one weird robotic transition track), and an unwavering pace, this record doesn’t let up to allow for a full breath until half way through at track five, “Mama's Gun.” And much like the rest, its subtle volume doesn’t mean there's less going on. Falsetto whispers and flutes meander through the technicolor sounds with the lyrics "In the summer silence I was getting violent // In the summer silence I was doing nothing." This sort of self-realization followed up by defiance peppers itself through the album.
"The Other Side of Paradise" is another favorite, and exemplifies what the band and record are all about. Starting off with a bark, and colliding with synths, bells, whistles, and more of Bayley's hushed melodies, it circles around the verses and tells a dark story of growing up and changing forever because of it. It has one of the catchiest choruses on the whole record, with a haunted little interlude before crashing into the last few rounds of it.
This record has been on repeat at least once a week since its debut in late August; it's my personal favorite of the entire year. Next time you need a little jolt of energy by way of blush worthy British alt-pop, just press play on How to Be a Human Being and have some fun.