Synthetica picks up where “Stadium Love” (the closing track on 2009’s Fantasies) left off. “Artificial Nocturne,” the first and longest song, serves as a dramatic and daring introduction, capturing the full range of the album’s atmosphere. It starts off with bold synths, ascends into something uplifting, then descends into a dynamic, electronic symphony of sorts. Each song melts effortlessly into the next.
Although “Youth Without Youth” seemed slightly underwhelming as a single, it shines brightly on the album, seamlessly connected to the introductory piece. It has an 80’s feel without sounding dated. In signature Metric style, the taunting and relevant lyrics contradict the polished pop sound.
“Dreams So Real” is chill-inducing, stripped-down and intense. Bold synths and an echoing rhythm surround one of Synthetica‘s most memorable lyrics, “So shut up and carry on/The scream becomes a yawn.”
The catchy, energetic title track serves as the album’s mission statement proudly proclaiming, “Hey! I’m not synthetica. I’ll keep the life that I’ve got.”
Emily Haines almost meows on “Lost Kitten” with playful, mocking vocals. While the lyrics (e.g. “kitten on the catwalk, high heeled shoes” and “I was looking for a hooker when I found you”) are faintly reminiscent of “Hustle Rose” and “Poster of a Girl.”
With a necessary decrease in tempo, the album loses a bit of steam during “Clone” and “The Wanderlust” (which features Lou Reed). But both songs highlight the clarity in Haines’ poignant and unique lyrics.
“Nothing But Time” reaches great depths with minimal lyrics, and a wealth of layered synths, intricately ornamenting every other instrument. It leaves behind echoes of haunting optimism.
For anyone who enjoyed Fantasies, Synthetica is full of driving rhythms and supplies rich, ominous, life-affirming pop.