Album Review: 'What if Nothing' - Walk the Moon
Lindsey Lanham | A&E Editor
Though it’s been a long three years since we have heard from Walk the Moon (styled WALK THE MOON), it was well worth it. Finding a middle ground between rock and pop, the group makes it clear they are here to stay with “What if Nothing.”
“What if Nothing,” released Nov. 10, delivers something unique from Walk the Moon: vulnerability. The group has always been candid in their lyricism, open and honest in their songwriting, but now they’ve embraced insecurities.
The first single from the album, “One Foot,” is everything that Walk the Moon has made themselves out to be. It’s an easy going, encouraging, mix of what music the band as previously put out. Lyrically repetitive, musically appealing and an encouraging message blend together to create the perfect pop-rock anthem of 2017.
“Surrender” gives way to less hopefulness and more melancholy. Using piano as the backbone of an otherwise musically simple song gives the song a twinge of wistfulness. Paired with singer Nicholas Petricca’s secure, unwavering voice, this song is the most heartbreaking on the album, and the build-up of musical desperation only leaves the listener (and singer) lost with no catharsis.
At times, the record becomes a muddled mess of too much. There’s autotune experimentation in “Sound Of Awakening” that makes the track sound confused. “Tiger Teeth” has Petricca spending about two minutes too long to just say “love hurts.”
Aside from the few misses, “What if Nothing” has plenty of hits. “Kamikaze” is a fun, rock addition to the album. Petricca sings “Stepping out of body, you can tell everybody / Mama I’m a kamikaze,” in a confident, self-assured way. “Kamikaze” is well within their comfort zone, but the band does it well.
Part of “What if Nothing’s” charm comes from the lack of answers, Walk the Moon tells Billboard in an interview. “We came to grips with the fact that we didn’t have all the answers…” said guitarist Eli Maiman.
For example, on the song “All I Want” has Petricca offering many choices, but no answers. He sings “Maybe if I was straight, maybe if I was vegan / Maybe if I still had you to kiss,” trying to make sense of his life.
On “Headphones,” Walk the Moon deliver a full-on rock instrumental, but lack in lyrics. Petricca sings “I can take a beating like a good pair of headphones,” which automatically sets off any and all second-hand embarrassment the listener has. Petricca even likens himself to Harrison Ford, singing “And I can stand the test of time like Harrison Ford.”
Even after making music for nearly ten years, Walk the Moon is still heavily reliant on catchy hooks and repetitive choruses. A disjointed, eclectic collection of the band’s innermost thoughts and feelings, “What if Nothing” radiates creativity and freedom. As any Walk the Moon album should.