Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Pop Psychology

Posted on

HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOES This album will make you groove all through your body
Andrew Zaeh

Pop Psychology

Current Status:
In Season
music label:

We gave it a B+

Neon Trees first sprouted nearly a decade ago, a mohawked branch on the Killers’ dance-rock family cactus. Like their desert-bred forebears, the Mormon-rooted Utah natives mastered the Technicolor hedonism of modern-rock radio — a sound splashed all over their breakout singles ”Animal” and ”Everybody Talks.” And on their third release, they’ve boldly put the word ”pop” in the title, signaling their full-on turn to sugar-smacked new-wave revivalism.

But lurking beneath the shiny primary colors is a complex new collage of adult perspective. It’s a natural reflection of their personal lives: Since their last album, frontman Tyler Glenn has come out as gay and drummer Elaine Bradley became a mother. Glenn’s few direct nods to his revelation are just one part of the wiser, more wide-ranging sort of poetry within the sonic gloss, adding an emotional heft the band’s earlier songs lacked. ”It’s never like it used to be/Maybe it just never really was,” Glenn croons on the humming ”Voices in the Halls,” letting in enough grown-up darkness to give the keyboard throbs some weight. Nothing here is as relentlessly hooky as 2012’s ”Everybody Talks,” but its bubbly propulsion informs the cheeky ”I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends)” and swooning ”Teenager in Love.” That mix of energy and insight makes Psychology a 40-minute master class in the kind of pop that moves both the body and the brain. B+

Best Tracks:
”Living in Another World”