Before I even heard Forget, I knew that lead single "Slow" was going to be a fixture on mixtapes for years. Especially for anyone I knew who was in love with The Smiths or new wave. It's emotional, kinetic, and the chorus is unbeatable. The kind of song you wish you could have first heard on a semi-static-y radio at a slumber party when you were 12. You wouldn't understand what you were feeling, but it'd be something serious. It doesn't hurt that George Lewis Jr. aka Twin Shadow sounds uncannily like Morissey on the track.
Basically, in my heart, Forget had a lot to live up to. And the first few times I listened to it, it was far from what I'd hoped for. The songs felt listless and limp. There definitely weren't any other ecstatic rushes like "Slow." But then I frequently started finding myself walking around with its refrains in my head, unable to wait to get back to my dorm to play those songs. And then I when I did get back I would play the shit out of those songs. I don't know what party pooping veil was over my eyes, but I'm glad it's gone; the album's (considerable) charms have unraveled, and Forget is a keeper.
And a versatile one at that. Twin Shadow's music walks that wonderful line of danceable melancholy, that was popular in the era he hearkens back to but we rarely get enough of in popular music these days. So whether you're trying to keep the kids moving at a get-together or stew in your gray after a shitty week, Forget can hit both marks amply. Despite the uptempo grooves present all over the album, you can't really hide the deep longing in Lewis Jr.'s voice.
The sound of the album reminds me in places a lot of TVOTR's recent forays into throwback funk. I would actually love to hear an alternate version of this album produced by Dave Sitek, the way Jon Brion did with Skeletal Lamping a couple years ago. Not that Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor didn't do a damn good job, because he did. The songs are sly and mature from top-to-bottom, the production striking a perfect balance between being economy and wonder. There are definitely a few standout showcases, though, in the trembling tambourine and tumbling drums underneath "Castles in the Snow," and the subtly mind-bending backwards-singing portion that coasts the title track (and album) to its close.
Forget is an album that feels brimming with history. From Lewis Jr's old soul voice, to the nostalgic (but still thrilling) bent of the production, to the song narratives' plentiful allusions to unresolved longstanding pain, it feels like you've stepped into a full world of someone's experiences and desires. It's a really beautiful feeling.