Walk the Moon’s second album underwhelms


Madeline Dupre

When I heard that Walk the Moon had come out with a new album, I was ecstatic. In the band’s EP from 2013, Tightrope, it had shifted from the continuously poppy sounds of its first, self-titled album, to something more substantial by adding more drums and a deeper bass line. The new album, Talking is Hard, however, has only three or four memorable songs, because the band did not use rock very well and the lyrics are still lacking any substance. It’s unusual for every song on an album to be incredible, but I had hoped for more from Talking is Hard.

The most obvious change from the previous album was how Walk the Moon mixed rock, particularly electric guitar, into its mainly pop sound. And, while I appreciate the attempt, it only works in small snippets of songs. When, in “Up 2 U,” the genre abruptly changes about one minute into the song, the guitar riff and the yell of the title creates an infectious energy like in “Anna Sun” from their first album, but in a rock context. But soon after this, the band flows back into the sound of the first verse. The merging of genres was great for a bit, but it left me wanting more of the new rock and a constant peppy dance feel which I became accustomed to after the first album.

Objectively, Walk the Moon has never been a great band. A lot of their songs, while catchy, are similar, and their repetitive lyrics aren’t exactly genius, but I was hoping for better quality in this new album. While none of the songs on Talking is Hard are bad, it’s hard to have any desire to sing along to “Down in the Dumps,” with a title that reminds me of something a grandma might say and that’s repeated probably a billion times in the four-minute song. Although, some of the tracks, like “Shut Up and Dance,” “Work This Body” and “Different Colors,” use repetition to their advantage, making them the best songs on the album. What Walk the Moon needs to learn is that it can’t just repeat any lyric and the same ridiculously happy and dance-inducing effect will occur like on its last album.

The best song on Talking is Hard is clearly “Shut Up and Dance,” which was the first single released before the album. The ‘80s pop feel mixed with ridiculously hormonal lyrics about nothing except dancing and maybe a slight love story is calming in a weird way during this stressful season. I know that Walk the Moon probably wanted to avoid the similarity between songs from their first album, but I wish more songs on Talking is Hard had sounded like “Shut Up and Dance.”

I liked this album. I really did. It represents the way a sophomore album is expected to be — flawed, but working toward something great. Walk the Moon definitely made mistakes here, but these mistakes didn’t ruin the band forever. I hope that the members backtrack some for their next album and focus on their original sound, but I also want them to incorporate more rock into their future songs. I can’t wait to hear what Walk the Moon comes out with next, and, until then, I’ll be bopping my head to “Shut Up and Dance” on repeat.

Click here to buy the album on Amazon