Written by: Sherryn Daniel, Special to CC2K
Love 2 is the sixth studio album from Nicholas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, the French duo that comprises Air, whose name is a backronym for "amour, imagination and rêve," which translate to love, imagination and dream, and those last two elements — imagination and dreams — act as underlying themes for most of their work, especially Love 2.
What propelled this band to stardom was their smash 1998 album, Moon Safari as well as their soundtrack for the 2000 film The Virgin Suicides, which contained the hit “Playground Love.”
Love 2, meanwhile, keeps the duos’ consistent affection for synthesizers, space rock sound effects and spacious tones, but doesn’t steer this album into anything resembling the classic Air that endeared hardcore fans.
Love 2 was released to the world in the first week of October but their viral hit, “Do the Joy,” was offered as a free download for Air newsletter subscribers back in July. The album’s actual single, “Sing, Sang Sung” should’ve been re-released into new episodes of “ Sesame Street” since its lyrical repetition, placed amidst fluffy, wispy instrumentals at slow speed, evokes childishness.
“Do the Joy” is a bit quirky with its mash up of alien garbles and convoluted piano licks, but the intro slices the eardrums its blackboard crushing scratches. I wanted to decipher the alien noises but sadly, I eventually wanted the song to end its course faster than anything else. “Love” has sweet melodies yet light, crispy percussions that overall provide a yummy dunked vanilla wafer with a cup of clouds taste in my ears, by far the most appetizing track on Love 2.
Honestly, most of the songs found on this album were polluted, daft tracks with elongated ideas. Besides “Love,” the only other deep cut in my estimation is “So Light Is Her Footfall,” a pop ballad that foregoes some of Air’s worst habits. The melodic vocal hushes propel the song and create a sense of “love lost,” the sort of easy emotion that any listener can grab hold of.
Tracks like “ Night Hunter” and “Missing the Light of the Day,” however, just push Love 2 over the end into flippant, jilted schlock composed of flimsy, indiscernible bass lines. “Tropical Disease” is another long, curdled and wry track, with just enough spritzy piano taps to give the impression of morning falling into night.
But these small emotional releases don’t save the album. Perhaps the most demonstrative example of Love 2’s failures is the experimentation with 70’s pop and blaxploitation in “Eat my Beat.” Love 2’s overall alien theme licked away any clean and proper efforts of combining the genre with Air’s own French electro sound. The end result just sounds muddled, and that’s the story for most of Love 2.