By David Peter Simon | November 3rd, 2010
New Love is that anxious feeling you had when your ex broke up with you. It’s those once-beautiful-yet-now-repulsive memories that you hate reliving. It’s the pathetic and cynical self you became when you realized you were all alone. And it’s also one of the best albums of twenty-ten.
But first things first, who or what is Former Ghosts? Well, I can tell you one thing: don’t call them a side project. It’s a collaborative effort between Freddy Ruppert (This Song Is A Mess But So Am I), Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu), Nika Roza (Zola Jesus) and newcomer Yasmine Kittles (Tearist) that sounds like despair wrapped in synthpop.
Now… get ready for one of the most depressing listens of your entire life, because they just dropped a new album, New Love. Recipe for New Love: Throw loss, longing, jealousy, and pain into electric blender. Next, add a small splash of hope. Blend until fucked up.
So… the lyrics are bleak and the motifs saddening. The theme concentrates on lost love. There is only one song that can be considered slightly (note: slightly) hopeful. It reminds you of your ex (you know, “the one that got away”) and your identifcation with the dreary and exhaustive verses makes you feel like you have the mean reds. Listening to it continously is analogous to listening to Sylvia Plath read her poetry on loop (not recommended unless you want to end up with your head in an oven).
Why the hell, you’d logically ask, should I listen to this album? Simply put, Former Ghosts has succeeded in releasing one of the most brutually honest yet beautifully delivered albums of this year. Both those who have experienced loss and those who haven’t will not only sit in their bed and weep all night long (because the lyrics are just that sad) but also bop their head to the intricate synth loops while at the Farmer’s Market (with a smile on their face). Trust me, I’ve been there for both.
Furthermore, digesting the depressing lyrics brings you to a level of internalization — something only that raw could reveal to you.
New Love includes eight songs sung by Freddy and two (respectively) sung by Yasmine and Nika. The differences in the deliveries and sounds of the songs align perfectly with the emotions traversing throughout the album. Yasmine’s delicate yet intense voice infuses a sense of devastating loss in “Winter’s Year” (featured) while Zola Jesus’ overpowering drone in “Chin Up” haunts you until you want to break down and cry. Jamies’ contributions on synth, organ, percussion and backing vocals neatly guide together what might be thought of as Freddy’s intimate, confessional style lyrics written post break-up. Taken together, it’s simply delicious.
In the ending scene of Fight Club, all the buildings crash down around the protagonists until the movie ends. Imagine that New Love is that scene bundled up into thirteen relatable tracks. Listen to the lyrics. Revel in the pain.
The album drops November 8 via Upset the Rhythm.