Track: Empire
Genre: indie, pop
Music Rating: 10/10
Lyrics Rating: 9/10
Overall: 9/10
Sounds Like: Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic
Interesting Fact: the POPFILTER band members are Lord of the Rings fans
Best thing About this track: “We could make an entire world without anything at all.”
One thing I wish was different: This track is so great that even though it’s almost 4 minutes long, it still feels short because it ends leaving you wanting more. The lyrics have a really strong simplicity about them that is profoundly compelling. I guess if I could ask for anything more, it would be one more verse. I suppose I shall have to wait and be satiated by their next record (coming soon, so check their website soon or sign up for their email list).

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Anie, how could you rate the music higher than the lyrics and then say that the best thing was the lyrics!?” Well, I know. Let’s take a minute and talk about this track musically first. It’s insane. It’s perfection. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted. It has layers and nuances and is hard hitting, but still knows when to be soft. From the very first second, you know that whoever produced this knew exactly what they were doing. All of the layers work together so seamlessly without fighting for your attention. This song doesn’t have just one “drop” where the track picks up, because the entire song is a musical journey taking you back and forth, soaring through highs and then swooping down through the peaks and valleys of the sonic soundscape. Every part works so perfectly together, but if I had to choose one superstar it would definitely be the bass line. Unassuming and not in your face, it is definitely the underlying driving force of the track, even more than the drums and it takes you everywhere you ever wanted to go. On the opposite end the soaring background vocals provide the perfect complement on the higher end of the spectrum. The whole track is just a perfectly balanced masterpiece in a way that doesn’t counteract itself, but drives you forward until you feel like you can really overcome the world.

I understand that my opinion of the music probably did not do much to assuage your opinion of my mathematical skills. So let’s address that. How can you beat perfection? Well, there’s only one way. With imperfection. Imperfection is beautiful and compelling. While the track feels overwhelmingly satisfying and musically complete, the lyrics leave you wondering and wanting in the best possible way. The lyrical style is understated and simple yet carries thoughts, feelings, and convictions so powerful that it seems to scream out at you in its silence. The hope and conviction that a connection between two solitary souls is enough to overcome the chaos and loneliness of a fallen world is a beautiful concept that every heart yearns to believe in. And the fact that this message comes wrapped in such simple packaging drives home the point yet again that it does not take the loud and brazen authority of the world to create something powerful and enduring. “We could make an entire world without anything at all.”

I am pretty sure that the reference to The Giver was not intentional, but I still can’t help feeling the evocation of a fallen dystopian world masquerading as paradise while it frantically attempts to build itself even higher by eradicating the humanity of emotion. In the book, the entire system is challenged when a little boy starts to realize that perfection and uniformity do not bring about beauty and happiness. The boy is chosen as the sole vessel of memories for the community who all remain in an emotionless state of uniformity. He receives memories both terrible and wonderful from an elderly man called the Giver, transmitting them through touch. Realizing the true state of things and having experienced a small sense of hope, he and his mentor, the Giver, devise a plan whereby he can escape this society by pretending that he drowned in a river. At the end of the book, the boy leaves with a small baby as his companion and sets out against the perilous winter with the hope of finding Elsewhere, a mysterious land beyond the boundaries of the known world. There he hopes to experience love and joy and pain, and with those memories, start anew and build his own Empire.

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Empty streets, blank faces
I know I’ve been to these place before
One touch is just enough
I never wanted to be here anyway
And I know you feel the same

We could build an empire
We could have it all
We could make an entire world
Without anything at all

You want to climb mountains
No, we won’t back down from it
I’ll carry you wherever whenever you fall
I want to cross rivers. Could you be my giver?
And tell me everything about anything at all

We could build an empire
We could have it all
We could make an entire world
Without anything at all

We could build an empire
We could have it all
We could make an entire world
Without anything at all
Tell me anything at all
Anything at all


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