With music, there is a certain point where creativity turns into narcissistic over indulgence that makes the music disingenuous and almost unbearable. All of the glitches, auto tuning, beats and atmospheric sounds we used to call progression know sound like unintelligent remnants of what we used to consider good music. When creativity happens for the sake of creativity it turns the most beautiful art into something we cannot stand sinking into. Artist just throw chaotic electronic noises together with no structure, no purpose, no originality and no real creativity, yet they expect us to recognize it as the most progressive, relevant, and creative piece of work we have heard in our entire lifetime. Records like Animal Collective's Centipede HZ which are supposed to be as groundbreaking, life changing, and special pieces of art end up being nothing but overindulgent, irrelevant, and everything but creative. Creativity requires the work of a free mind, their chaotic progress requires everything but the work of the mind. It is records like Centipede HZ that not only make you lose faith in what critics consider "good," but it makes you lose faith that any artist can produce something using their mind, their guitar, and their own voice. After I put myself through the musical water boarding that was Centipede HZ, I needed my faith restored in creative simplicity. Passenger and their new album All The Little Lights did that for me.Passenger's All The Little Lights is an oasis of simple creativity: every lyric reads like a line out of Michael Rosenberg's diary, every song has fantastic instrumentation, and the songs are filled with big hooks instead of pointless glitches. Rosenberg's mind and natural music talent allows him to create gorgeous folks songs like "Things That Stop Your Dreaming," great pop songs like "Let Her Go," sexy ballads like "Patient Love" and "The Wrong Direction," and even anthems like the hilariously witty "I Hate."
But in truth there is nothing to hate about All The Little Lights, unless you hate having your faith restored in simple, creative, and heartfelt music. All The Little Lights is for anyone who wants the ear raping glitches they call progression to be replaced with the simple sound of a G chord, it is for anyone who wants the murmured and repetitive cliches they call songwriting to be replaced with witty and metaphorical thought, it is for anyone who wants something to relate to and not something they should be told they have to relate to, and it is for anyone who defines music by the quality of the song and not by the artist's preceived importance and relevance. And by not perceiving himself as anything progressive, groundbreaking, or important, Rosenberg has created one of the most heartfelt, creative, simple, powerful, progressive, groundbreaking, and even important records of 2012. And a record you should overindulge in.