All That Glitters Is Not Gold: An Album Review of Passion Pit's Gossamer

I wanted this post to somehow tie together my first trip to Seattle and my obsessive listening to Passion Pit’s Gossamer during that trip. I couldn’t really make it work it in a way that properly complimented one another.

I’ll have to spend more time in Seattle. I want to check out Belltown more, I want to actually go to the Space Needle instead of just snapping a picture of it, and it was nice to have good seafood back in my life. There and now, the last part kicked up my cravings for crabcakes even more, which were already at an absurdly high level. I honestly will spend the rest of the time I spend writing this, thinking about jumbo lumps. Nevertheless, I want to talk about Gossamer.


Passion Pit’s sophomore has been the first album to supplement The Lumineers debut as my most listened to in several months, which may not signify much to you, but it lets me know how much I like it.

Gossamer is not a decade-defining record. It may only be the band’s second best album. It’s not a career turn. It’s not so many things. I feel that people have overcompensated for Michael Angelakos’s story of bipolar disorder by heaping praise on it because it soundtracks the personal trials of the lead singer. I think we can point to the Pitchfork feature for this false gilded praise.

At first, I was glad that Pitchfork did that feature. It was a great story, and what Larry Fitzmaurice did needs to happen more often in journalism, not just music journalism. Yet, after cultivating an audience of slacker-elitist music listeners with their equally disappointing, haphazard “reviews,” it should serve as no surprise that this simple-minded mob (and let me not mince words, Pitchfork sought to ignite a music revolution; they just picked the army of idiots, which may mean monetization and wider exposure, but ultimately, also means you can’t change the music industry if you’re the hipster Tiger Beat) would not wholly comprehend the complexity of the situation, let alone the album.

Further, it does a disservice to what is one of the best pop albums of the year in my opinion. By attaching to one simple aspect of a more complex story, people misrepresented it. It’s not profound simply because someone is suffering a mental illness and willing to sing about it.

Gossamer is an album that I can listen to again and again. Yet it is oddly detached. It’s enjoyable and happy sounding; it’s depressing and lost–a record for our times.

While it seems obvious, there is this stark contrast of the poppy sheen of many of Gossamer’s songs with the lyrics and underlying sentiments. All that glitters is not gold. Here is a band making music that is rather personal but guarded by the sound they’ve developed. I don’t think this is by chance. It has been said that some criticism of the group’s first record deeply affected Angelakos. There is distinct lack of the helium vocals and increased attention to the lyrics on Gossamer. I assert this is probably pre-emptive (don’t give the critics anything to criticize) and that the music served as a cocoon from all the problems and criticisms and difficulties of life. It’s this bubble, safe and wonderful, in the mind of the creator and the listener.

I found a place, I found a place, I found a place where we belong

Michael Angelakos didn’t need a cover story, much more helpful would have been a friend. Reading between the lines, I hope that Fitzmaurice is there for him like his fiance is noted as. I fear because some level of detachment is expected nowadays. Well, at least Pitchfork readers got what they can call a brilliant story out of it. All that glitters is not gold…