The problem was always going to be objectivity. Certain songs, certain albums, encase certain moments in your life. Like a picture in a frame. For me, the late 90s, and early 2000s, are framed with the music of Lit. A Place in the Sun, Atomic, and certain moments of my youth are all sewn together. This music has been completely mixed into my salad days. Over the years, as my musical interests have shifted, I’d still find myself checking in on Ajay, Jeremy, Kevin, and new drummer Taylor Carrol. I’d dip back in as a new single, EP, or album was released. Sometimes I’d enjoy it. Sometimes I’d simply appreciate the evolution and change in musical direction. Sometimes I’d nod my head as another rocker blasted through my speakers. But whether I heard songs that I liked, didn’t like, or was indifferent to, I inevitably slid back to my place in the sun. I’d rewind the tape and the years, bombing atomically into the past. Revisiting, “My Own Worst Enemy”, “Zip-Lock”, et al.
So how could I approach Lit’s new album objectively? How could these new songs compete and stand against such biased comparisons? How could I review new music without the influence of music that’s been steeping inside for two decades? Lit recently released Tastes Like Gold, their seventh full-length album.
“We made a conscious decision to go back to when we had arrived at what we represented musically. It took a little bit of time to cleanse the palette and hit reset. However, the creativity flowed better than it had in the past couple of decades,” said Ajay Popoff, the band’s lead singer.
And so, I dropped the needle, as it were, and listened. The album opens with the single, “Yeah Yeah Yeah.” It’s a hit. No doubt. It starts with the chorus and proceeds to bury an earworm so deep into your brain, that you’ll need serious medical intervention to remove it. In fact, there are many catchy songs throughout the album. Tastes Like Gold speaks to many of the same themes that Lit’s music has always spoken to. It’s simple. The ideas are universal. The songs celebrate the good times and rally for overcoming the bad. Memories of days gone by, and dreams of the good days to come. The album has that one-hand-on-the-wheel, sunny-day-summer-wind, window-rolled-down, screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs feeling.
Lit’s songs have always been love songs, directed at the various people in and out of their lives. Clearly, on this record, included in that group, are the fans that Lit found 20 years ago. I listened to the album and felt a joy for their music that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Ajay said, “this is new Lit, but we hope it’s the Lit you fell in love with.” Well, I think it is. Objectively.
While no Lit album, for me, could ever take the place of A Place in the Sun, there’s still a lot to enjoy. And I’m sure a whole new generation will discover the band through this album. And it will go on to frame pictures in their lives. And I’m sure, decades from now, when Lit is releasing another new album, some music reviewers will also ponder the issue of objectivity, as they wrestle with the strong feelings they have about Tastes Like Gold. How do you remain objective? How do you remain unbiased? Well, you don’t. But you appreciate what there is, and you appreciate what there was. We all have our places in the sun and Tastes Like Gold just might be yours.