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Richland Student Media

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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

The Midnight: A synthwave wonderland

Cover of The Midnight’s new album, ‘Heroes.’

As someone who considers herself to be an ’80s enthusiast, finding a decent synthwave artist is an absolute must. I stumbled upon The Midnight as a highschooler and have fall-en in love with this band. Formed in 2012 at the peak of vaporwave and retrowave internet culture, The Midnight is a band that features enticing synthesizers, nostalgic, echoey drums, and most importantly, saxophone solos that I can only describe as candy for your ears.
The band was formed in Los Angeles by frontman Tyler Lyle and producer Tim McEwan. For over a decade, The Midnight has cultivated a sound that is truly unique and reminiscent of a different time. The band’s debut album, “Days of Thunder,” is a record that makes the listener feel as though they are in a high octane ’80s action film complete with an epic chase in a 1980s Corvette. One of the best songs off the album under the same title, “Days of Thunder,” is a song that gets your blood pumping with pulsating synths and one of my personal favorite saxophone solos.

The Midnight’s Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle.

In contrast to “Days of Thunder,” which feels more like the opening to a retro action film, the record’s final track, “Los Angeles,” feels like the ending before the credits. The song is slower, more heartfelt, and anthem-like. The listener is transported to a beach bonfire scene to a time where they can feel forever young.
“Nocturnal” is the band’s third full album and another one of my personal favorites.
The overall feel of the music shifts slightly to evoke a more mysterious, futuristic vibe. Arguably the best song of the record, “Crystalline,” is a slow-paced but thrilling track that gets your blood pumping once you finish the second verse. The song is a beautiful symphony of saxophones and synthesizers and creates the feeling of being in a neon-drenched city on a rainy night. Toward the end of the record, the listener is greeted by “Light Years.” It’s a melancholy but gorgeous song about a couple separated from each other. The song features the crystal-clear vocals of another synthwave singer, Nikki Flores. Her voice accompanied with frontman Lyle’s is an ethereal experience to say the least. The two singer’s voices truly shine on this track and complement each other well.
In the midst of the pandemic, the band’s fifth album, “Monsters,” was released. The title track “Monsters” is a more melancholic song about losing someone you love and feeling the ghosts of their memories. Oddly enough, the record almost evokes the sense of being in a classic slasher film. The dark synthesizers especially capture this as they beat furiously throughout the song and create a feeling of slight unease. Yet another personal favorite, “Deep Blue,” is a haunting, rush of a song that perfectly encapsulates the teenage angst of the 1980s. Once again featuring an energetic saxophone solo, the song is simply one of the band’s best and is a perfect representation of what The Midnight is truly about.
Finally, The Midnight’s most recent release, “Heroes,” was in all honesty, not as impressive as the previously listed records. The title track, “Heroes,” felt like it was missing something. The mixing sounded a little awkward and empty.
If you are wanting to listen to their new-est songs off this album, I highly recommend listening to the live version “Red, White and Bruised: The Midnight Live.”
The live version of “Heroes” has every-thing I feel the studio version lacks. “Heroes” is absolutely one of those songs that can only sound the way it needs to sound live with crystally, ambient glam-rock guitar solos and echoey vocals most befitting of a rock anthem. Simply put, it is a big song that requires a spacey, concert feel. While the studio version of “Heroes” leaves a bit to be desired, The Midnight will always hold a special place in my heart for how truly unique and mesmerizing their sound is.
The Midnight is a band full of talented musicians that love what they do and put love and care into every record they release. I highly recommend you give them a listen if you are a synthwave or vaporwave enthusiast.

Grade: A

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