Although grabbing this album was probably the first time I've made an active effort to listen to Beirut in about three years--I'm just not as folksy as I used to be--I'm not one to deny the truth, and the truth is that I still sometimes hear various parts of The Gulag Orkestar in my head as I fall asleep. It's one of those albums that I listened to over and over and over again, an album that, for me, was perfect. It was right for me at that moment in my life, and that resonance earned it a permanent place in my mental catalogue.
I can't possibly ask for that much from Beirut's newest LP, The Rip Tide, out today, but I thought that, regardless of the evolution of my personal tastes in a different direction, I ought to give his newest work a try. It's safe to say that this album is classic Beirut, something that's a little bit odd but also, perhaps because of its quirkiness, carries a degree of universality. It's the sort of thing that feels separated enough from fast-paced modern reality that it's a welcome, slowed-down escape. And even when Zach Condon sings about the city (like he does in "East Harlem"), you still feel like you're being transported somewhere much more tranquil.
This album's rich, complex sound takes you on a run through the full gamut of human emotion, and because it is so heavily reliant on emotion (both lyrically and musically) rather than a particular narrative, it feels exquisitely intimate and relatable. It's personal to the point where you might, for a moment, feel like you're understanding something special, but then you'll remember that a ton of other people are probably listening to it and feeling the same way, though for their own reasons. The further along I got in this album, the more I remembered why I love Beirut in the first place.
Regardless of your tastes or your place in life, there's probably a spot for Beirut in your iTunes library, and this album isn't a bad place to start (or continue, if you're already convinced of Beirut's merits). The Rip Tide is available in MP3 format from Pompeii Records now, or you can grab a physical copy August 30 if you're feeling old-fashioned.
Purchase: Beirut - The Rip Tide