Daily we wade through the sludge of social media as the waves of carefully curated photos and videos of our so-called friends living their best lives float down our timeline. Other than the occasional passive-aggressive cry for attention, we’re subjected to post after post of what is essentially a glorified highlight reel of the lives of others. Through this very narrow window, we get a picture of a perfect life, free from pain or challenges. But we all know such a life doesn't truly exist. We all love the ups, but the downs which are rarely shared have a beauty as well. Not everyone can gracefully shine a light on that beauty and balance both sides, but The Internet does that beautifully on their latest album “Hive Mind.”
I've felt that previous albums from The Internet were dominated by their more angsty funk tracks that overshadowed the more melodic and sensitive cuts from the album. With “Hive Mind" they've flipped the ratio. Heavy on the mid-tempo vibes, they open the door to more of the complete openness we don't usually see from artists. Throughout the album Syd deftly strikes a balance of “confident vulnerability”, clearly stating her feelings, wants, and needs not in vapid cries for attention but in boldness.
Nowhere in the album is this better displayed than on “Stay the Night.” Even though the song includes the lyric, “lately I've been going crazy, begging you to stay,” Syd delivers the poetic line with such a sultry self-assuredness that you'd never know she was begging if she didn't say it. You get the impression that she doesn't want to spend the night alone, but if she has to she's ok with it. There's a willingness to open herself up to potential hurt, but an understanding that if things don't turn out in her favor at that moment she'll still be ok. The following track “Bravo” finds more of the confident vulnerability that is the hallmark of the album. While most people would be torn apart to find that someone they love and trust had basically been living a lie and putting on an act, Syd handles it with aplomb by cheering “bravo" as she watches the show. Unbothered and unflappable, the album lyrically acknowledges the less than joyful feelings we all experience, but it never succumbs to the self-pity that leads to emotional destruction.
While there are a few upbeat funky tracks, “Hive Mind” is a mid to downtempo clinic on how to express ones whole self while standing in the certainty of who you are. The fortitude to open our complete selves to others is a trait seldom seen in today's world. Hopefully, we can take a lesson from The Internet and find our own confident vulnerability.