With Living Well Is the Best Revenge, Midtown earnestly tries to smooth out its power pop sound and succeeds so well that the album becomes barely noticeable. While frontman Gabe Saporta’s vocals have previously combined snottiness with catchiness, Living Well presents melodies lacking both attitude and pop hooks. Likewise, the lyrics on tracks such as “Like A Movie” provide nothing we haven’t groaned at a hundred times before: “I don’t believe in anything/But I believe in you/I never trusted anyone/But somehow I trust you.” A pair of ballads—“Perfect”, sung by guitarist Heath Saraceno, and “One Last Time,” sung by guitarist Tyler Ran—find the band at its best. The warmth of Saraceno’s voice is seductive enough to transform the track’s lyrics from trite to sincere: “This time I think it could be perfect/But you’d push it away/I came here with a purpose/Should I try or just let it go.” But while Midtown shines on these slower tracks, they aren’t bright enough to save the rest of the album. With such a smoothed out sound, Midtown offers the listener nothing to grab onto, and will likely slip easily out of their hands.
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