Hooray for Earth - Racy

Hooray for Earth forges a personal connection by telling you, “It’s all going to be alright".

Additional Info

6.4

ALBUM: Racy

ARTIST: Hooray for Earth

2014

Alternative

Hooray for Earth has an independently cultivated energy in their music that creates a uniform quality in their album Racy. With experimental, instrumental introductions and Pop-inspired refrains, the specific genre that they fall into is indefinable. They’re Pop, but they’re also Punk Rock. Oh, and they also claim to be alternative, so conforming to a single vibe is none of their concern. Though their sound is unique as well as complex, their lyrics are quite the opposite. It’s their lyrics that create the connection they so strongly bear with their fans. Hooray for Earth implements songwriting that triggers memories in the listener’s mind. They directly address them as, “Hey, little one", and make them revisit embarrassing situations with, “Now that I said it/ Immediately regret it/ As always the time will pass". They bring to the forefront of your mind unfairness and belittlement, and then tell you despite it all, you’re ok. In doing this, they forge a personal connection with their fans, giving off the energy that they understand the trials of being young, awkward, or broken-hearted.

The construction of their tracks allows for the listener to enter an ambiguous realm of mutual scenarios and conversations. This allows lyrics like, “Wake up (wake up!)/ I don't really think it's a home”, to trigger a parallel for the listener in their own personal life. Hooray for Earth identifies loss, heartbreak, and misunderstandings through the use of hazy, nonspecific lyrics, a key that unlocks their ability to empathize. They are able to bring the listener to into a space full of raw emotion, and it’s almost entirely conveyed through their signature sound. It shouts desperation, messy urgency, and anticipation, in a voice that is lulling and sleepy.

In an interview ,the band said that "the music that excited me most when I was young was really anything with huge powerful chords, good intertwining melodies…I don’t know. I just wanted to make the exact record that was living in my head for quite some time. I've been making music for a long time but for some reason was never comfortable enough to get out the record I really wanted.” He creates in the tracks a discontinuous cross between asking for help and ducking in fear, aligning Hooray for Earth with the emotionally confused suburban teenager. Racy offers these youths an unruly, unkempt escape from whatever ails them, be it a generation gap from parents, a grudge against the all-powerful institutions, or simply a misunderstood disposition. Hooray for Earth may not conform to a specific type of music, but it seems they definitively cultivate a specific fan base. Their name, for one, is initially intriguing and pertinent, via the popular “Go Green” initiative, but at its core, “Hooray for Earth” drips with sarcasm. Their lyrics portray the band in a post-cynical disposition, where the unfairness of life is recognized as a necessary evil. Hooray for Earth is a facetious quip portraying the band as too cool for school; in their minds, anyway.

Their online presence continues to perpetuate their misunderstood punker attitudes. The basic elements of artistic hipster culture comprise their official website: luminous, stone-faced selfies, tracks to stream at your fingertips, with the minimalist approach to design that screams we don’t care, we’re really obscure. They’ve taken the rebel-without-a-cause persona and made it their own. Transplanted in New York, singer for Hooray for Earth Noel Heroux shines light on how his songwriting ended up with the focus that it did. “I always say that New York is too insane and full of creative people to get caught up in your own BS. Since I’ve been here, I find that I never really write about myself, everything seems to exist outside of myself and that’s what I prefer to explore.” It’s true, no part of Racy resonates as a personal anecdote from Heroux’s life. If he does gain inspiration for his lyrics from his daily routine, it presents itself stripped of character. Even when he does reference himself, “Been in a fight every night/ Pushing my luck/ Can confide in you/ Say no words empty notes/ Pushing my luck", there’s no real connection between the words and Heroux. The stories of his songs can be extrapolated and applied to pretty much anyone’s life. The ambiguous language allows for universal empathy from Heroux, who seems to understand.

Racy is loud, unapologetic, and at times, a bit indecipherable, but Heroux gives his fans irrefutable encouragement, wrapped in small packages, like “Pray on something in your heart.” Their music has harnessed something unique that sounds edgy and exciting, but still resonates within the listener as something deeper. This resonance may be more explicit were the lyrics enunciated a bit more profoundly, but every artist has their downfall.

“Saying that it can’t be done, knowing that it can be done.”

1. Hey
A gritty reverberation on a bass guitar accompanies Heroux’s advising lyrics: “Hey little one/ I’m going to find you/ Hey little one/ Let’s duck inside you". His invitation, barely heard over the raucous bass, is alluring, like a Siren to a shipmate. The chords struck over and over again, crashing like a wave, begin to symbolize chaos, and resonates with the listener as the chaos in their lives. Beyond this is Heroux, inviting us to enter into the album, to break through the noise and nestle up to him. “Hey” forces you to pay attention to Racy, first with it’s title, second with a bass slashing the background noise, and then with a sweet reminder that “we try and it’s more than enough". 7.8
2. Keys
“Keys” takes a moment to awaken. Shimmering strings in the introduction are cut short by an upbeat, unexpectedly pop-friendly musicality. We’re tossed into a full-fledged disgruntled dispute when the first lyric comes across, full of accusation. “Everything I planned, for you and I/(Cross winds)/ Changing our lives, (fortune's flights/ Same as before, former lives/ (Cross Winds)", emphasizes the uncontrollable aspects of reality. Crosswinds come in and blow debris as they please without regards to precious plans. With keys jangling in frustration at the front door, Heroux underlines how simple it is to lapse and forget that life is not meant to be under control and constraint. “Wake up (wake up!)/ I don't really think it's a home”, speaks to the illusion that many subscribe to that they have created of a happy home. 7.0
3. Say Enough
An electronic influence appears here, painting a picture of intergalactic imagery, backed by airy vocals reminiscent of M83. Hooray for Earth calls out to the hopeless and the lost through a heavily rocking bass that creates a pop-rock ballad engendering a bit of optimism. A simple, repeated refrain, “Saying that it can’t be done/ knowing that it can be done", comes across as a pointed allegation to the listener, but a majority of the lyrical content is drowned under layers of too many synthesizers, instruments and echoes. The optimistic ideals of “Say Enough” are reinforced by the upbeat rhythms of the song, but a majority of the message lies dormant under the messy, uncontained music. “Pray on something in your heart”, a bit of poetic advice, falls out of reach, as the rest of the lyric is indecipherable. The title of the track, “Say Enough,” seems without origin, distancing the track even further from belonging. 6.3
4. Somewhere Else
This track returns the album to its proper course, which was confused and led astray by “Say Something”. Upbeat pop characteristics are again backed with a heavy-handed bass, adding an element that’s gritty and raw. The bass trudges along behind the flickering plucking of strings. The refrain conforms to their structuring of uncluttered language through incisive lyrics, while inciting passion by acknowledging that we’d rather be, “Somewhere else/ Somewhere better than here”. The notes boosting the lyrics are so straightforward, repeating its three-key range, it couples perfectly with complex rock-pop energy. 7.6
5. Racy
“Racy” immediately drops into the album as a weighty, melancholy ballad that, with its strong musicality and concise lyrics, acts as an interlude from the more incisive tracks preceding. The song inspires the listeners to attribute their own experiences and perspectives towards understanding its meaning. The few lyrics, “Now that you said it / I start to forget it/ I know that design won’t last”, are heart wrenching, yet so nonspecific, allowing “you” to represent anyone in the listeners’ mind. “Well I could be watching you / Its keeping me awake/ But keeping you to stay", is a bit less lyrically ambiguous, and a bit hard to make sense of. Is he watching a lover without their knowledge, so he’s able to spy without them leaving? Or, does the object of his affection require constant supervision? The complicated aspects of “Racy” become less distracting due to the quality and truth in the surrounding lines, like “Now that I said it/ Immediately regret it/ As always the time will pass”. 7.2
6. Last, First
Playing off of a serious 80’s Pop-rock energy, the introduction to “Last, First” sets the track up to be a powerful, hardcore ballad. Hooray for Earth leans towards their punk side with a swift key change a few seconds in, bringing the music into a minor key. With the shifting of energies and tones, it’s difficult to place the exact tone that is intending to be conveyed. Heroux hums along, “Socialite for the night/ Take me out”, bringing up the collective need to primp and impress before a night out. The song loses clarity, though, as the lyrics continue on, edging on unintelligible, “Sunlight fading toward him/ My hands broken./ Sometimes waiting for it/ Is why I’m a rodent”. This disrupts the flow of the music, as well as any semblance of meaning rising from the songwriting. 3.0
7. Airs
This track carries on with the similar style of the album; ambient electronic sounds mesh with a deep, determined drumbeat, making for a smoky, indistinct ambiance. As athematic as the previous tracks, "Airs" doesn’t stand apart as all that different or unique. Heroux’s voice, as airy and ethereal as on the rest of the album, utters barely comprehensible lyrics. The rhythmic execution and simple rhyme scheme of his songwriting, though, counterweighs the muddled message. “Airs” makes for a low impact track amongst songs that are too similar. 4.0
8. Happening
Eerie, ear-piercing mic feedback makes for an interesting choice leading into this track. If anything, it works to grab the listener’s attention. Once again, Hooray for Earth takes on the subject matter of difficulty, disappointments, and hard truths that listeners can empathize with. “We waste our nights in parking lots/ Spacing out for something", recounts memories of loitering teenagers and ignored curfews. “It isn’t happening, happening this time”, is repeated again and again, with an 80s’s pop rhythm guiding the lyrics along. The track pushes deeper into the rock n’ roll genre as it progresses, jumping back to pop status with the refrain. In the final seconds of the song, the music dies down, leaving only an echoing Heroux murmuring an unintelligible word of advice. 7.0
9. Pass
The intro to “Pass” is distinct next to the repetitive styling’s of Hooray for Earth; a forgotten punk rock vibe rises out of the monstrous electronic synths. The stage is set as Heroux, playing rebel-without-a-cause, sings, “Been in a fight every night/ Pushing my luck/ Can confide in you/ Say no words empty notes/ Pushing my luck”. The songwriting here draws a realistic picture for the listener more so than any other track on Racy. Heroux’s serene vocal quality is exchanged here for a bleaker, duller feeling, his voice edging up against the off-key guitar and raging synthetic sounds like a rusty knife. It’s not pleasant, but it’s not supposed to be. Like in “Hey,” the initial track, “Pass” pulls the listener into a deeper atmosphere created by the sound. He repeats, “It’s a part of me/ I found out", as if he’s accepting a poor characteristic about himself. This unsettling imagery is entirely supported by the erratic movement of the background music.7.7
Written by Shelby Tatomir
Reading and writing are my roots, making music, design, and photography sprouting branches of special interests that I am always striving to cultivate.

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