“Most Wanted” by Cults

Cults’ self-titled debut was one of my favorite new albums of 2011.  Although the record has primarily been embraced by members of the hipster set, its sound isn’t exactly what one generally expects of contemporary indie bands; instead, Cults’ sound is straight out of the early 1960s.  In many ways, Cults is an update of Phil Spector’s wall-of-sound girl groups for the MGMT era.  Although all of their songs are original compositions, the band adheres closely to the songwriting styles used for the aforementioned girl group hits; the saccharine, sometimes almost childlike lead vocals of Madeline Follin further solidify the connection.  But their music is drenched in reverb, and the echoey atmosphere of the production is combined with creepy dialogue samples for a sometimes foreboding effect that one wouldn’t get from Spector’s records.  The lyrics touch on darker themes than one would find in early-’60s pop, as well.

One such theme is drug use, which is the clear subject of “Most Wanted,” the song I’m posting today.  The song’s music isn’t downbeat — indeed, its melody is quite sweet — and, if anything, Follin’s vocals sound more childlike than usual.  Nevertheless, I find this song rather affecting.  It conveys the narrator’s sadness over drugs’ ruinous effects on her life, at least in my opinion, almost as well as various songs on Alice in Chains’ Dirt communicate the bleak, devastating misery of Layne Staley’s heroin addiction.

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