BT tests the faith of his fans with his album Emotional Technology.
The artfulness of his production technique is great as ever. BR has been very innovative in his use of computers to edit audio, single-handedly inventing a style of rhythmic audio manipulation that has spawned many imitators. He uses his tricks throughout Emotional Technology, but where before it was innovative, here it often seems mannered.
Many of the songs on Emotional Technology are let down by their lyrics. Many of the songs just aren’t about anything, and aren’t catchy enough to make one not care.
A few cuts rise above the rest. Superfabulous features Rose McGowan on vocals, and she rises to the occasion. The lyrics may be trash, but McGowan makes trash sound Superfabulous.
Somnambulist is innocuous. The lyrics speak of “simply being loved….is more than enough”. BT’s lyrics and vocals are good enough, and he slices and dices his vocals in interesting ways. The song works, and he uses his formidable skills to good effect.
The Great Escape is a slice of trance pop that delivers. It starts slow and gradually builds for its nearly seven minute running time. The song has long breakdowns featuring BT’s rhythmic, percussive audio manipulation. He throws in some interesting, retro avant garde string writing courtesy of singer/cellist Caroline Lavelle. The song builds to several crescendos, and while it may not be a great escape, at least it’s an escape.
Unfortunately, much of the album is lyrically weak. Communicate features this chorus: “Learn to use your words so we can communicate, communicate, communicate now.” Pop music is built on simple ideas, but simple ideas delivered well. The album is also schizophrenic, jumping from mainstream pop, to rock, to trance, to rap. These problems distract listeners from the otherwise great production and excellent musicianship.
On Emotional Technology, all of BT’s many talents are on display. Unfortunately, so are all of his weaknesses are, too.