POZ Decade: Head Automatica - Decadence
Head Automatic's Decadence was released ten years ago this week, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the album today! We have commentary on the album from POZ team members Adrienne Fisher andCaitlin DeWeese so enjoy and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Decadenceten years later!
Legacy of Decadence
While the mid-2000s brought to the forefront plenty of pop-infused, mildly dance-y projects from those co-opting the “punk” aesthetic, few could compete with Head Automatica when it came to innovation and spirit. The Glassjaw frontman’s offshoot project differed from GJ in every way imaginable, dropping the serious faced Long Island-alt attitude in lieu of a musical endeavor that was completely at home on the dance floor rather than the floor of the mosh pit. But Decadence wasn’t just the side project’s record that allowed itself to be dismissed by fans of GJ and the genre, despite being as far as one could get from Palumbo’s tortured wailing on Worship and Tribute. Instead, very much in the spirit of its name, Decadence combines the free-falling party sensibilities of 70’s disco and funk with the proud tackiness of pop-synth 80’s music, which, to those deeply invested in that early 2000s wave of pop-punk and screamo, was an unheard-of combination. It’s music that can make suburban kids (including me) feel like they have the slightest idea what DJ and dance culture is about without the hallucinogens. It’s an exercise in guilty pleasures, except without all the embarrassment since the same person who sang “Ape Dos Mil” is now lightheartedly asking you “Maybe you can help me, I am looking for someone to dance with – “ and it is really, really fucking good. – Adrienne Fisher
How Decadence holds up in 2014
From the frenetic and boisterous opening of “At the Speed of a Yellow Bullet” to the calmer grooving pace of “Please Please Please (Young Hollywood),” Decadence is a record that hosts a bevy of funky influences, but all centered around the same “let’s let loose” mission statement – and for that, the record holds up tremendously. Modern EDM and techno styles of dance music can credit their popularity to repetitive sections and catchy-but-uncreative centerpieces, and for that, the songs within those trends will burn out just as quickly as their fans do the day after Electric Daisy Carnival. But Head Automatica wrote Decadence to be richly diverse and endlessly entertaining, with elements of hip-hop, funk, synth-pop, and rock bubbling over one another in a wildly creative whole. The unhinged and slick “King Caesar” sounds nothing like the driving force behind “Dance Party Plus” or that haunting hook in the chorus of “The Razor” – and it all feels timeless, immediate, and flat-out awesome. Seriously, where’s the ten-year tour for this record? Or just give us one last show at Gramercy, please. – Adrienne Fisher