Talking Is Hard (2014) has some strong singles, especially “Different Colors” and “We Are The Kids.” With their focus on youth and what it craves, Walk the Moon both celebrates and subversively critiques its largest listening demographic. What surprised me about my students was they knew the songs, but didn’t realize the band was local, and they were mixed in how they felt about them. I don’t know if that was because they picked up on the ambivalent thematic undertones of the album’s lyrics or if they just didn’t like some of the songs.
Walk the Moon has a similar sound to two other recent groups that hit it big: fun. and Foster the People. fun. started around the same time (2008) as Walk the Moon, though the members had been in other bands and had a few years on the Kenyon College students inspired by The Police’s “Walking on the Moon” (1983). Some Nights (2012) vaulted fun. into major stars and lots of Grammys, which are awards somewhat indicative of little that lasts. Foster the People formed in 2009 and leapt out of the commercial and critical gates almost immediately with Torches (2010) and its first single “Pumped Up Kicks.”
Saturday Night Live, I wanted the album. However, I didn’t give their second album much more than a cursory listen in a record shop. That sense of moving on to the next thing, which doesn’t sound any different from the last, big thing, is the downfall for pop. Country, hip-hop, Americana, and rock generally thrive because fans are attracted to the artists and the genre sound, rather than the beat and a specific single.