lass Animals came out with their second studio album, “How to Be a Human Being,” in August 2016. While every song contains its own unique vibes, the whole album has an addictive quality. The band includes Dave Bayley, Drew MacFarlane, Edmund Irwin-Singer and Joe Seaward, who met while in secondary school in Oxford, England.
The first single released, “Life Itself,” has a sound that is much more upbeat and percussion-based than anything on the band’s first major album, “Zaba.”
Regardless, beneath the song’s catchy exterior is an alluring narrative about “a sci-fi obsessed dude who spends most of his time alone inventing strange things and writing stories about ray guns or looking for aliens on Google Maps,” according to Bayley.
Up next is “Youth,” another high-energy piece featuring synth background noises and foot-pumping percussion. Within the lyrics, a mother speaks to her son, saying that she wants him to be “happy all the time.” It combines hopeful motherly love with heartbreaking nostalgia.
“Season 2 Episode 3” is the most lovably unique song on the album. With a beat comprised of 8-bit video game sound effects, the lyrics are about a girl who spends all day laying around, watching TV and eating “mayonnaise from a jar while she’s gettin’ blazed.”
The accompanying music video is a must-watch. The song’s protagonist finds herself in an 8-bit world in which she fends off enemies with a skateboard. She’s “broken, but she’s fun.”
Once you listen to “Pork Soda,” you’ll find yourself murmuring “pineapples are in my head” all day, a line which repeats over an increasingly funky backdrop.
The speaker is going crazy; his relationship with the girl he loves has grown stale. He remembers how much fun they used to have when they were younger.
He asks her, “Why can’t we laugh now like we did then?”
According to Bayley, he once heard a homeless man proclaim that he had pineapples in his head; the line stuck with him, and “it evolved into a song somehow.”
On a completely different wavelength, “Mama’s Gun” incorporates an extraordinarily compelling flute line that creates whimsical imagery. The song starts off unassuming and crescendos into a passionate ballad.
The lyrics are based on a story that a taxi driver once told Bayley. The driver overdosed on hard drugs and blacked out for an entire month. When she finally came to, she found herself in another state with no idea of what she might have done in the missing time. Hugs, not drugs, kids.
The next song, “Cane Shuga,” is charmingly simple. Bayley describes the lyrics as a “stream of consciousness.” After “Cane Shuga” is a short, spoken interlude called “[Premade Sandwiches].”
“The chords are quite bizarre,” Bayley said, referring to “The Other Side of Paradise.” It tells the story of a young person whose lover leaves to pursue fame. Although he says, “please don’t worry,” the rush of wealth and excitement causes him to leave everything behind.
Next is “Take a Slice” with a groovier feel. The lyrics are about a character with insatiable lust who’s “sitting pretty in the prime of life.” The song can only be described as enchantingly sleazy.
Highly underrated, “Poplar St” is about a young man remembering a woman in his childhood neighborhood. As a child, he saw her sleeping around with local men.
When he got a little older, “she made her eyes at me, pulled me through a door and stuck her teeth in deep.” The affair doesn’t last long, however, because she calls him one day to tell him that she doesn’t love him anymore. To her, he’s “just another boy who lived on Poplar Street.”
Last but definitely not least, “Agnes” rounds things out. Bayley said that this is “the saddest song I will ever write.” It’s also his favorite piece on the album. The speaker observes someone he loves abusing substances to cope with the sadness of life. He longs for the “cheeky friend” that he once knew.
Truly, Glass Animals is incapable of producing anything that isn’t both memorable and deeply intriguing. Their sound eludes any categorization.
While most bands, even great bands, have hits and misses, Glass Animals just can’t seem to miss. Listening to the band is like diving deeper into a rabbit hole of musical utopia.