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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

A pop revival

Dominique Joe ’19 listens to “Paradise Waiting,” her favorite song from “Hyperion” (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

“Hyperion” is a much needed sonic study on optimism

“Hyperion,” the Brooklyn based indie pop band St. Lucia’s newest release, is a stand out album for this year, promoting a reindoctrination of positivity back into pop music.

As the third full-length album from the band, following the 2016 sophomore effort “Matter,” “Hyperion” is more of an experiment, an exploration of the band’s instrumentalism.

The album is still a relative continuation of the band’s synthy and ’80s nostalgia aesthetic but with notable and welcomed deviations.

“Hyperion’s” preoccupation with positivity is the catalyst for this experimentation.

Where a reliance on synth-heavy sound can make a song seem somewhat clinical (think Devo’s “Whip It”), St. Lucia uses synth and instrumentation to their advantage, prompting a danceable and warm sound for much of the album.

“Paradise is Waiting” exemplifies this experimentation, diverging from St. Lucia’s archetypical sound. Synth takes a backseat to a jaunty piano introduction and an acoustic guitar riff.

The opening of “Paradise is Waiting” is reminiscent George Michael’s iconic opening to “Freedom! ’90” with a punctuated piano sound and an infectious acoustic guitar riff.

The choir included in the song gives the grounded piano and guitar a lifted and ethereal sound.

“Paradise is Waiting,” a song preoccupied with “standing in the sun,” embodies that rapturous basking in sunlight.

“Wasting Away,” in turn, is the bass-heavy and percussive juggernaut on the album. The groove punches you in the gut.

It is a funkier version of Passion Pit’s “Take a Walk.” But where “Take a Walk” lilts in a listener’s ear until the bass drops, “Wasting Away” demands your attention outright. The horns and crashing cymbals have a chaotic yet intoxicating feel to them.

“Wasting Away” is a bacchanalian exploration of sound, punctuated by lyrics like “You’re breaking hearts, break ’em youth/ But it’s alright, cause the summer days are numbered.” It is a hedonistic revelry of sound that puts a wild smile on your face.

The song “Tokyo” best exemplifies this feeling of elation.

There is a heavy synth sound that runs through the song, along with the elevated harmonies and prominent percussion, not to mention the handclaps, that ground it. The percussion is overlaid on the initial synthy melody providing that never-ceasing beat. It doesn’t deviate and it is unyielding.

“Tokyo” begs the listener to get on their feet. It is an infectious and light groove that reminds you of a relaxing summer evening.

“Gun” keeps with the theme of a light and infectious vibe. Frontman Jean-Philip Grobler has an echoey dissonance that reverberates over the track akin to a Phil Collins song.

Grobler’s light and airy cadence denotes a more Wham!-like frivolity when coupled with the pure whimsicality of the song.

“Gun” feels like the song played as the redemptive arc comes to a close in a John Hughes movie. It feels final and it feels satisfying. Disregarding the song’s title and some of its subject matter, “Gun” weirdly enough sounds like a happy ending.

Everything about “Hyperion” promotes an all-encompassing positivity. Every song, regardless of its topic, gives off this atmospheric optimism.

One can listen to “Hyperion” and feel invincible. No wonder “Hyperion” is the chosen name for this album.

Named after the Titan god of Light, “Hyperion” is the light, airy and wonderfully optimistic sound that we need in a pop industry that is seemingly more focused on down tempo crooning and seductive slow beats.

And while “Hyperion” has some flaws, one being how the formation of the tracklist creates a disjointed listening experience, it is still the upbeat, exhilarating and spontaneous rumination on happiness that we need in pop music today.

St. Lucia will be playing the Theatre of the Arts in Philadelphia later this year on Nov. 7 as a part of their tour for “Hyperion.”

“Hyperion” is available on Spotify, Apple Music and all other streaming services, so go give it a listen.

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