Review - Woodkid - The Golden Age
Woodkid (AKA Yoann Lemoine) has been working in the music industry for a few years now as a video director (famously standing behind the lens for clips like Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, Taylor Swift’s “Back To December” and most recently Drake and Rihanna’s “Take Care”), and this past December he was even nominated for a Grammy (hopefully only his first) for his own video for single “Run Boy Run”. While working with a camera might be his initial bread and butter, songs have been up on his Youtube for over two years now, and he released his first proper single “Iron” back in May of 2011.
Anyone who has seen some of his work knows that the man has an extraordinary talent when it comes to film, and one listen to his debut album ‘The Golden Age’ shows that he can translate the same tones and feelings into music. ‘The Golden Age’ is easily one of the most thematic and dramatic albums to come out in years. Every song is exciting and highly emotional, and the instrumental tracks (and some of the sparser vocal ones) could actually fit in perfectly with intense film scores.
Aside from the thematic elements, there are several ideas that Yoann carries throughout the album. First, the extreme usage of both horns, and second, unusual percussion. What do I mean by unusual? Well, forget the drum set you learned to play in your garage and start thinking Asian taikos and bigger. Sometimes he pares things down with a piano, but a lot of what you are going to hear is rather grandiose.
Lastly, there is an overall theme of sadness that pervades the entire LP, whether it be in the form of tone, lyrics, song titles (“Falling”, “Shadows”), or Woodkid’s undeniably unique voice. The CD yearns and mourns, even opening with a song that contains the line “the golden age is over”. While this may sound like a downer, think of Adele’s “Someone Like You” (which Woodkid actually covered) and how powerful and oddly uplifting it can be. Not that I’m comparing Adele’s mastery to Woodkid’s…or am I?
Listen to: the entire album. Really though. Especially “Run Boy Run”, “Iron”, “Shadows”, “The Shore” and “Ghost Lights”.