Despite the burgeoning of other French artists in the 11 years since Air’s debut, the duo is still among the crème de la crème of French beats. The playful and experimental tunes put Air ahead of the pack, and “Love 2” shines as a prime example of its eclectic style.
The highlight of “Love 2” is the album’s ninth track, which is also its first single. “Sing Sang Sung” vibrates with carefree sensitivity, pairing restrained, upbeat guitar riffs with a lush, downtempo melody. Wedged between the cotton-candy weight of the melody and the fluffy chorus are melancholy lyrics: “What are we doing here my friend?/Take a breath push your pain away/Nothing lasts it’s better that way/It’s better that way.”
Despite this, the sound is overall fun. This is also captured in the music video, which offers is ethereal, trippy and, at times, downright weird. Throughout the animated video, a black dot travels through scenes similar to levels of a Super Mario Brothers Game. The dot bounces off oddly shaped mushrooms and winds through a repeating set of women’s legs. (Check out the video here.)
“Eat My Beat” follows “Sing Sang Sung” with a bit more auditory variation and substance. It serves as the feisty, uptempo second wind of the album before it winds down with “You Can Tell Everybody,” the pleasant afterglow that features a lilting, melodious beat layered atop a rolling drum line. Air also mixes a harp with its signature androgynous vocals in that song.
Following “You Can Tell Everybody” is “African Velvet,” with a hint of rock and a smooth finish.
However, the album isn’t perfect. “Do the Joy” lacks the umph apropos for a leading track and falls flat under the grogginess of its fuzzy undertone. The song “Love” is heavy with repetition and sparse in lyrical diversity but it catches up in pace with a catchy hook.
“Heaven’s Light” follows a couple tracks later with a piece more true to Air’s musical style, which melds a rising cadence with a sense of emotion and urgency as it progresses. It’s a nice beat to chill to.
“Love 2” feels a bit domesticated when compared to the untamed “Moon Safari,” Air’s 1998 debut album, which is rich in sexy, quirky dance beats perfect for any Parisian nightclub. Even the band’s 2007 album, “Pocket Symphony,” incorporated the use of traditional Japanese instruments amidst an introspective, electro-pop exploration.
But the tracks on “Love 2” are varied enough to suffice. Some of the tracks are enjoyable as weightless background music and others are memorable enough to get stuck in your head.
Air has always successfully taken inspiration from a variety of musical styles to create something different and fresh. A sprinkling of synthpop, a bit of bossanova, a pinch of psychedelic ambient — whatever the flavor, “Love 2” is littered with countless auditory morsels.