Passion Pit Releases Emotive Call for Healing With ‘Tremendous Sea of Love’
Michael Angelakos is sick of the music industry, literally. As the founder and sole proprietor of the indie-electro project Passion Pit, he’s spent the past decade of his life pushing his music through the lens of record companies, and as he recently stated in a series of tweets, “Until it is safer and healthier for us to be advocates, to be writers, producers, and performers, I simply cannot continue making music.” It’s easy to imagine fans panicking at the idea of the end of Passion Pit, but Angelakos later clarified that he’s simply quitting the industry as we know it, and will continue to make music on his own.
Enter Passion Pit’s latest album “Tremendous Sea of Love,” an ode to the freedom of creating art and sharing it with the world. All proceeds of the album will go towards psychiatric scientific research at Broad Institute’s Stanley Center in Cambridge, Mass., a subject matter near and dear to Angelakos’ heart. In recent interviews, he has unveiled his struggle with mental health, particularly under the heavy thumb of the music industry. “TSOL” is his way of crawling out from under that weight and letting the world know how free-flowing the sharing of art could and should be, and the effects the industry has on the psyche of young artists. He has even said most of the songs were written and released in one day. He literally writes the songs and uploads them himself on his own personal computer.
As with most Passion Pit albums, this one is brimming with positivity and radiance. The first sounds come from the “Moonbeam” intro, a soundscape of otherworldly feelings. Angelakos likes to write songs to walk to, which is where the soundscape notion stems from. In a recent Reddit AMA, he stated on track two “Somewhere Up There,” “I wrote the music to, quite literally, walk in the city to.” Plus, as an admitted fan of classical music, a lot of the work on “TSOL” is structurally unpredictable. “(My music) became so predictable, people probably stopped listening,” he continues “or just could assume almost correctly what would happen.” This track is just that, unpredictable. With three movements, two of which are punctuated by voice recordings from one of his mentors and ending with a message from his mother, “Somewhere Up There” is a stunning journey through the mind of an artist grappling with internal issues yet invigorated with creativity.
As a short ten-track LP, this album is easily digestible. “You Have the Right” was originally posted to YouTube via an iPhone recording from Angelakos himself. This delicate single details the care and love he has towards an unnamed person. Perhaps his aim was to allow fans to interpret the lyrics as they wish, perhaps even towards themselves. “Inner Dialogue” is rife with unintelligible lyrics, a stream of consciousness trip inside the mind of someone struggling with their mental health, where thoughts come and go so quickly they turn to mush. This idea of love and understanding towards those who need it most comes up again and again. “The Undertow” and “To The Otherside” both express the importance of healing by way of love. Notably closing out the project is “For Sondra (It Means the World to Me),” a heartfelt song starting and ending with acoustics, with a flourish of synths in between. It feels as if Angelakos is saying, ‘I was born, I grew up as an artist under duress, and now I am myself again.’ From eager artist to music industry slave to the raw, open book you see today. He says of “For Sondra” in a Tweet, “This song sums up pretty much everything on TSOL.”
Aside from healing through art, The Wishart Group is an organization started by Angelakos himself built for providing health care, among legal and educational issues, to artists who’ve chosen to embark on a relationship with the music industry. He’s taken his struggles and turned them into an opportunity to help others, a selfless act during a time when money normally takes precedence. In a recent statement on Twitter, he closes out a letter with a big thank you to his fellow artists and fans, “You are tremendous, you are truly the reason I have, have always, and could continue to have everything. And you deserve a thank you. I really, truly love you.”
“Tremendous Sea of Love” is available July 28 on Apple Music.