Review: Stars – The North (2012)
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of listening to Stars, then that changes today. The five-piece Toronto natives have just released their impressive sixth full-length album. They became know for their soft, dreamy vocals and eloquent ballads after rising to popularity with 2004’s Set Yourself On Fire. They have been featured in several TV dramas including Gossip Girl, Skins, and The Vampire Diaries, as well as the 2011 film Like Crazy. The theme is no coincidence. Stars has an undeniable gift for delicately transcribing tender and intimate moments into song. Each of their albums is like the chapter of a novel about the passion and turmoil of a young relationship.
The North opens with their first single “The Theory Of Relativity”, which sounds like over four delightful minutes of synth-filled, emotional sugar rush. You can’t help but bob your head along, no matter how you feel. It’s reminiscent of the direction they were trying to take with The Five Ghosts, except slightly more refined. “Hold On When You Get Love, Let Go When You Give It” is by far one of their top anthem songs of all time. It exudes a positive, upbeat, and uplifting vibe with the simple, eloquent poetry that Stars is so talented at writing.
The album takes a more dramatic turn with almost over the top, yet all too relatable, “Do You Want To Die Together?” as Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell sing a tragic duet. They sing back and forth about the conflicts in their devotions then singing triumphantly in unison, “Do you want to die together? Yes I do! Yes I do!”
The definite standout track is “A Song Is A Weapon”. The line, “I can only hope to kill you with a song, I’ve got one shot to kill you with a song” resonates somewhere deep, and it’s because it’s refreshingly angry coming from Stars. It’s honest and vulnerable, and it leaves you wondering exactly who they’re singing about.
I have enjoyed the musical evolution of Stars, but I appreciate that they have embraced who they are, what they are good at, and what we love to hear from them. They are still telling the best love stories in music.