Saint Motel, with Top-40 hit “My Type,” came out with their latest album “saintmotelivision” (stylized lowercase) Oct. 21, 2016. Members of the band include A/J Jackson, Aaron Sharp, Dak Lerdamornpong and Greg Erwin. The band is generally difficult to categorize. Saint Motel is indie, or pop, or rock, but most importantly, ridiculously fun.
The video for “Move,” the first track on the album, starts out in a retro living room, complete with an antenna television. To improve ratings for the stereotypical coffee-holding producer, Saint Motel performs their song over a backdrop of fire and rubble.
The lyrics suggest lust and morality. When you want something, but you “can’t have it… Oh, what’s a man to do?” The answer: “Move!” (and never stop moving, as suggested by the repetition of the word.)
With a similarly carefree mood, “Getaway” is all about a new Bonnie and Clyde taking the money and running. Up next is “Destroyer.” A man sits alone, contemplating an affair he knew would never last. “I was a man of flesh and blood,” he says, admitting that now there is nothing more than “just dirt and mud in my veins.”
He quotes his adversary as a self-proclaimed destroyer who says, “I don’t break hearts, no that’s not me, I don’t break hearts; I destroy them.” With lyrics like this, it can be hard to believe how enjoyable the song is. Truly, it is almost impossible to refrain from singing along.
We have to slow down a little bit to enjoy the equally catchy “Born Again.” This one cannot be interpreted simply, but it is easier to understand with statements from Jackson, the band’s lead singer.
The lyrics play on the Protestant Christian concept of being “born again,” becoming extremely religiously zealous and changing one’s ways abruptly. “The song is based on a friend of mine growing up who was sent away to get born again… he wasn’t allowed to be my friend or talk to me for years,” Jackson said.
When asked for his opinion on the matter, Jackson said he can see both sides of the coin. “I think the idea of getting born again is ridiculous,” he said, “but it’s also hopeful, which I think is good.”
Regardless of one’s religious understandings, the song is undeniably calming and foot-tappingly beautiful, with gospel vocals punctuating the background. The song is passionate, catchy and lovable.
The song up next, “Sweet Talk,” pulls us right back up onto our feet. A love song, a party anthem, a happy admittance of unrequited affection—the song’s relatability ties a nice big bow around it. The speaker admits that, “You could yell ‘piss off, won’t you stay away?’ It’ll still be sweet talk to my ears.”
“You Can Be You,” is hopeful and simple, reminding everyone that pain is fleeting, and anyone can achieve his or her personal set of goals.
Paying tribute to Hollywood is “For Elise.” The lyrics are a toast to the women who have been muses, women like Norma Jean and Carole King. Around half-way through the song is an interlude of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.”
As the title implies, “Local Long-Distance Relationship (LA2NY)” is about a distant romantic partner. A couple sits right beside each other, but it feels like they are on opposite ends of the continent.
Keeping with the theme of romance, anticipation and impulses, “Slow Motion” is about a woman’s seemingly supernatural power in the realm of desire, with a sultrier, sleazier edge in the feel of the music. The speaker says that “it’s magic, a strange voodoo” the way the world turns in slow motion when she enters a room.
To close out the album, Saint Motel slows things down and utilizes an acoustic sound. “Happy Accidents” is about just that—the random, unchoreographed things that happen in life that make us feel complete. The speaker sings to the girl he loves, wondering “what if we never met?” After all, “everything is just an accident.”
“Saintmotelevision” is an album about love, mistakes, lust and the complicated morals that make us human. Never underestimate a catchy song; sometimes the liveliest beats overlap lyrics that say a great deal about life and humanity.