Teen Suicide – ‘It’s The Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir The Honeypot’ Review
Posted: by Eli
It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot, the new Teen Suicide record, personifies a very specific time, place and feeling. It’s 4am. Physically, you’re six hours past the point of doing anything productive. Mentally, you’re incapable of articulating anything, but your mind is halfway through a marathon with no intention of stopping any time soon. You’ve been restlessly squirming under your covers for longer than you care to know but you simply cannot fall asleep. Your eyes have been wide open and adjusted to the darkness for so long that it almost feels bright to you.
And that’s what hearing this record is like. Although your mind is awake, your thoughts are hazy, ephemeral. Manically jumping between nostalgic introspections and current realizations, effortlessly linking the two but worried that you’ll forget it all in the morning. Still, you have no intention of sliding out of bed to record your thoughts so you just continue to let your brain spin, kicking yourself for the stupid mistakes you made when you were young while wondering if one day you’ll think of this as a mistake too. Uncertainty encapsulates that situation, and uncertainty is what this record is ultimately about. It’s the uncertainty of an afterlife (“God”, “I Don’t Think It’s Too Late”), the uncertainty of addiction (“The Things I Love Are Killing Me”, “Alex”) and the uncertainty of love, either with another person or with the world as a whole (“It’s Just a Pop Song”, “V.I.P.”, “Falling Out of Love With Me”)
Frontman/songwriter Sam Ray is one of the more straightforward lyricists of our time, reciting tales of heroin addiction and severe depression over lo-fi productions in a winding and conversationalist tone that places the listener seated across the table from Ray as he speaks like an old friend. “Will we be this bored when the world ends?” he questions in “God.” “Write a love song once in a while/I swear it will make you feel so ordinary,” he says in “Devotion.”
These are lines that feel like knee jerk thoughts, unfiltered, raw and unrefined. The record is infested with these sorts of dialogues and it allows Ray to not only speak openly, but to speak personably. As many of his interviews have revealed, Ray has a dark, literal sense of humor and it bleeds profusely through this record’s lyrics. It’s the type of humor that only manifests in a person who’s experienced the lowest of lows and the highest of highs, quite literally in Ray’s case. He switches between light-hearted satire and deadpan sarcasm so quickly that it’s unnoticeable at first, leaving the listener to smile sheepishly and wonder whether he meant it as a joke.
“My dealer bought a car now he comes over to my house/He tried to buy my car but I told him no/So he bought another car now he comes over to my house/Now I don’t’ really need my car anymore,” he says in the Alex G-esque “Long Way Down.” “Nick is sick he needs it quick/We let him fix up in the car/Catching up with my old friends/That’s what the holidays are for,” he says in “Neighborhood Drug Dealer,” which he described as one of the funniest lines on the record in an interview with The Fader.
However, he’s got a more light-hearted, conventionally smarmy sense of humor as well that’s easier to pick up on. “It’s not art unless you laugh/One of these days I’m gonna laugh,” he says in “Pavement,” a song that wryly pokes fun at bands who too closely emulate their forefathers. “Do you want to come over? I’ve got three Netflix accounts/And we can watch a different show on each screen” he sings in one of the album’s highlights, “It’s Just A Pop Song.”
As erratic as the album is lyrically, it’s arguably more unpredictable on a sonic level. Ray and Co. bounce between gritty, lo-fi indie pop a la Alex G and Elvis Depressedly, noisy dream pop, and psychedelic electro, among countless other tidbits pulled from all over the indie rock map.
Upon first listen, Honeypot is a mess. However, it’s an intriguing mess. Over an hour’s worth of material that spans 26 songs is a beast of a listen and trying to make sense of it all is quite a task. Regardless, this isn’t the type of record that is supposed to make sense, at least not in the conventional way. Repeated listens lead to a further appreciation of the chaos, but ultimately Ray intended to leave his audience as uncertain as he is.