By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Perhaps you've heard Boston electro-pop quintet Passion Pit's back-story: Two years ago, falsetto-voiced frontman Michael Angelakos—at the time, just a dude making tunes by himself in his bedroom—wrote a batch of fizzy love songs to give to his girlfriend as a Valentine's Day present. Those songs ended up as last year's Chunk of Change EP, which elevated Passion Pit to the buzz-band status it still retains today.
But it seems Angelakos' feelings are the opposite on Passion Pit's full-length 2009 debut, Manners. Despite the cryptic nature of his lyrics, a critical analysis of the singer's words reveals an exceptionally bitter outlook aimed, perhaps, at the same girl.
Let's look at a few songs—and find out what Angelakos is really talking about.
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What he sings: "Yes, I lie and I wrangle with prospective angles / That glare me down and face me with all I do wrong."
What he means: "Since I became an indie-pop sensation, I've been cheating on you like crazy. Remember when I called you from Tallahassee and told you I was at Taco Bell with the guys after the show? I was actually in an orgy with a dozen groupies at the Holiday Inn."
What he sings: "Oh, have you ever felt so goddamn strong? / How come it takes some people so damn long / He tried to squeeze the lemon juice to rain / The citrus drawing out the season's stains."
What he means: "I couldn't get any tail for the longest time, but now that I'm a Pitchfork darling, I have to beat the ladies off with sticks. I didn't know how I would get all the lipstick smears and pussy juice off my boxers before I came back home to you after the tour, but I looked online and it said that a spritz of lemon can do the trick."
What he sings: "I believe in gentle harmony / Well, how I loathe all this obscenity / Is this the way my life has got to be?"
What he means: "All I want to do when I get home is sit on the couch, smoke a bowl and watch the Cash Cab marathon with you, but you gotta keep calling me a lazy, emotionally distant motherfucker with a voice like a helium-sucking dolphin. I don't need this shit."
"Folds in Your Hands"
What he sings: "Like the sun and the moon I will circle you till you bloom / I will crush our love, let it burn until I get to you."
What he means: "I heard you've been cheating on me with that bartender, so I'm going to stalk you day and night until I catch you guys screwing in the back of his Prius, and then I'm gonna set his car on fire."
"To Kingdom Come"
What he sings: "You dared me in the dark / I felt a hush fall quietly from my spark / So now I hide in piles of princely orange peels / It feels the way you told me how it always feels."
What he means: "I always thought your sexual fetishes were pretty weird, but I played along anyway, and now I can't get off unless there are several crates of citrus fruit involved. Thanks."
What he sings: "The currents pull me in / The tide has reached my chin / The seaweed tickles skin / Just let the water win."
What he means: "I'd really rather drown than spend one more goddamn minute with you."