Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Album Review: Bankrupt! by Phoenix

Back in 2009 Phoenix exploded on the large scene with their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. It was a big hit for the band and cemented their influence on a lot of what was happening at the time in the indie pop world. In some ways what makes Phoenix interesting is that they came out of France. They were part of a group of French indie pop acts who were having a fairly heavy influence on the indie pop sound in the late 2000's. The trick of course for Phoenix is following up their fourth studio album which also happened to be their big breakthrough. There is a part of me that wonders if it is possible to actually follow up something that made such a big splash. I think this is especially true when what made that album so successful was the culmination of work they had done for nine years to get to that point. They had finally found that magical formula that worked and I'm not sure you can ever follow that up with anything equal to it, unless you go off and create an entirely new formula. If you simply build on the formula you created you can make a better album, but it will never have the impact of that initial breakthrough.

Anyhow when I put on this album that was what was running through my mind. Phoenix has tried to tweak their sound a bit and for this album have pulled in a lot of Eastern influence but in the end it is about what I expected. It's a solid album but it doesn't have the same appeal that it would have had back in 2009 because their sound has been so copied so muddied that it's simply hard to come up with anything that can live up to expectations.

Still it's another solid album. Following the Rhapsody rating method I give it 2 out of 5 stars for Not Bad.

One note don't waste your money on the deluxe version. It adds a track of what they describe as sketches and is pure torture to listen to. My initial listening on this album came during a workout and I got to this 11th track and didn't know what was going on and was hating the album more and more with each passing moment. Definitely avoid track 11.


  1. I am thrilled to see this video, because I'm pretty sure I've seen this act in a commercial. I figured they were just actors portraying a band, but, alas, ...

  2. It'd be great if every song on this record had something to do with Monopoly ... one song about going bankrupt when you were already losing badly, one about a breadkup that transpires over the course of a game of Monopoly, one imaging the beauty contest in which the little guy on the community-chest cards finished second place and won $10 ...

    1. That first one, of course, would be the title track.

      The second one would be called "Park Place."

  3. "Happy Days Are Here?" would be about the very popular game going unsold at a Kansas town's general store during Christmas 1931. It would, of course, be ironic.

    "Get Out of Jail (Free)" would be about this from Wikipedia: "In 1941, the British Secret Intelligence Service had John Waddington Ltd., the licensed manufacturer of the game in the United Kingdom, create a special edition for World War II prisoners of war held by the Nazis.[4] Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money, and other objects useful for escaping. They were distributed to prisoners by Secret Service-created fake charity groups.[5]"

    "Roll Again" would be about a boy who keeps a solo game set up under his bed. He pulls it out and plays whenever his to-be-divorced parents fight.