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I am convinced that there exists a laboratory, somewhere close to the Earth’s core, wherein every few years diabolical scientists manufacture pubescent, quasi-heartthrob vocalists to infest airwaves across the country with sterile sonic pablum. With Justin Bieber approaching the wizened decrepitude of 23, legacy sullied by numerous juvenile hi-jinks, and the Jonas Brothers but a distant image on the horizon of jejunity, it appears the scientists have been back at work; from the ashes of those once-mighty pop warriors has arisen a phoenix of similarly infantile proportion. Hair quiffed with airbrush-like perfection, Thrasher skateboard T-shirt at the ready, glasses big enough to encompass all hipsterdom, Jacob Sartorius has appeared, a picture of childlike innocence poised to be tragically destroyed by the vicious machine that is the popular music industry, and its equally soulless constituents.
The music on Mr. Sartorius’ debut EP, The Last Text (a title befitting a post-apocalyptic nightmare), is unanimously banal. The Bieber-clone tune “By Your Side” is a regurgitated pop shanty that your local supermarket will love. “Sweatshirt Remix” is a token acoustic ballad, complete with synthetic violin and cloying lyrics likely plagiarized from a fifth grader’s diary. “All My Friends” features a pre-chorus ripped from “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (Roland and Curt should sue). The title track, aside from receiving an atrocious pantomimed video, is more of the same, with trite melodies, bombastic production, and vapid lyrics.
Indeed, throughout the EP the lyrics are either weak, clichéd, or laughable (or all three). The clumsy, overproduced “Jordans,” which charmingly equates a female love interest to a pair of sneakers, features such gems as: “got you on my mind / ’cause I seen an angel fall right out the sky” and “you keep me focused / ’cause you be the dopest / no need to lie, girl, I know that you noticed.” Equally inept is “Bingo,” which contains an ear-grating chorus wherein seven Jacobs spell out the song title and, subsequently, attempt to compliment a girl by dubbing her a “head-knocker.” To be fair, though, I must applaud Jacob for exploring, in the song’s first verse, unexpectedly audacious subject matter via homoerotic undertones (“I just wanna know you real bad / can I pick you up, meet yo dad?”)
A sea of autotuned Jacobs rhapsodizes on “Hit or Miss”: “let’s not worry bout tomorrow.” And, really, why should we? The answer: because life isn’t a movie. Life doesn’t end with an Adobe Premiered fade-to-black or a soaring symphony or an end credits sequence. It goes on. There will be a tomorrow – unless you are among the 151,600 who die every day (undoubtedly, among that number are numerous listeners of this EP, driven to assorted methods of grisly suicide). Self-imposed myopia is not to be encouraged, nor romanticized. I implore all readers of this review – teens, tweens, children, parents, the elderly – to repudiate the brainless, plastic tripe that is The Last Text and supply their ears with something heartier. Tears for Fears is a good start.