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Album Review

Portugal. The Man – Woodstock

Portugal. The Man – Woodstock

By: James Kallianis

It may have taken thirteen years and eight albums, but Portugal. The Man have finally arrived in the mainstream. Following their signing to Atlantic Records in 2010, the Alaskan band has been working up their success on each album, with their latest album, Woodstock, being their most successful yet.

Woodstock is easily Portugal. The Man’s most ‘mainstream’ album to date. With previous albums like Evil Friends, their music has always slightly veered into pop territory, but taking on their own form. Woodstock keeps true to that but dives deeper into making more well-crafted alternative pop songs, while still keeping their edge.

Leading things off with “Number One”, you get exactly what Portugal. The Man is all about: trancing production, thought provoking lyrics, and lead singer John Gourley’s falsetto. The climax of the album is reached very quickly with the dynamic 1-2-3 punch with “Live in the Moment”, “Feel It Still”, and “Rich Friends”. “Live in the Moment” is an insanely catchy pop number that sounds like it could be in every car commercial in 2018. “Feel It Still”, the band’s biggest hit to date, has an irresistible bass line accompanied by Gourley’s insane falsetto on the track. “Rich Friends” was inspired by the band seeing Harry Styles at a birthday party they were attending. The song has the most quotable lyrics on the album (“Crashing on Chardonnay and Adderall, driving head on into the wonderwall”), while having a chorus that you cannot resist the urge to sing along. “So Young” changes up the vibe of the album by giving a mid-tempo flare and a sound that harkens back to the mid 2000s.

Even with the standout tracks, there is always room for improvement. Nothing screams ‘bad’ on the album, but songs like “Easy Tiger” and “Mr. Lonely” tend to get lost in the grand scheme of things as not living up to the rest of the tracks on the album. Even the psychedelic closer “Noise Pollution”, while a great way to close out Woodstock, it would not be soliciting much plays outside of a listening through the album.

Portugal. The Man may be hitting it big at the moment with “Feel It Still” currently climbing up the charts, but Woodstock shows that they have more tricks up their sleeves. “Live in the Moment” has the potential to top the already big success of “Feel It Still” with its catchy chorus, and “Rich Friends” sounds like a song that will have a hard time leaving high school prom playlists.

Rating: 7.5/10

Favorite tracks: “Feel It Still”, “Live in the Moment”, “Rich Friends”, “So Young”

Brian James

October 16th, 2017

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