Even if you haven’t heard of Alex G, chances are you’ve heard his works to some degree: through slowed-down, reverberant versions of his songs, such as “Treehouse” or “Mary “, on TikTok, guitar arrangements in several Frank Ocean songs on “Endless” and “Blonde”, on Jimmy Fallon, or in the score of a recent independent horror film called “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair”. His fan base continues to grow as he receives greater recognition for all of his works, new and old. In any “Alex G album ranking” video or blog post, there is never a consistent top album from him, which shows how timeless and consistent his works are.
Alex G remains consistent on “God Save the Animals”, but continues to improve his music at his own pace. He created all of his music on his own, until this release, where he enlisted the help of contributing producers at the studio. This shift doesn’t go unnoticed – comparing his debut album, Race, and even his 2019 album, “House of Sugar,” to “God Save the Animals” shows a marked increase in production value.
The most prevalent example of this is shown in the widely varying vocal timbres of each song. Alex G has always experimented with atypical vocals, and high-pitched childish vocals can be heard in every one of his albums to date. However, his vocal experimentation is amplified on this album.
He continues to use his signature high-pitched vocal style in both the foreground and background of several tracks, but also employs intense whispering on “Blessing”, wavering, heavily self-tuned vocals on “SDOS”, harsh , almost sobbing on “Forgive,” and slightly robotic vocals on “No Bitterness.” Sometimes these vocal modulations can be jarring, off-putting, or even funny, but they’re all a reasonable next step for Alex G’s music and are used with taste.
The vocals are perfectly complemented by each song’s unique instrumentals. A continuity of Alex G’s music is that it sits in a strange space between many genres. He incorporates elements of genres such as country, indie/alt-rock, electronic music, hyperpop, folk, psychedelic rock, and classical singer-songwriter on this project. Reading all of these genres and imagining them all existing in one space seems overwhelming, and you might think there’s no way they could all co-exist in the space of one LP, but you’d be wrong.
Bits of each genre are tastefully incorporated into each song. This challenge to musical conventions is refreshing for listeners, especially on later listens, giving this album incredible replay value.
Songs like “Runner” and “Miracles” don’t stray too far from a typical indie rock song and ground the listener in the lyrical mood. The other songs don’t get shockingly experimental, however – on “No Bitterness”, Alex G creates a slight instrumental disharmony through an inverted piano line, until the end of the song, when it turns into a hyperpop ballad ( which is certainly a shocking moment on the first listen, but an easy moment to love). On “Blessing,” he uses screaming synths to introduce the lighter rock instrumentals that follow, and as a synth line throbs over the instrumental outro, the electronics blend into the rock to create a cohesive piece of music. . Alex G works with layering on “Headroom Piano”, where piano lines, electronic sounds, guitar riffs and lyrics are methodically placed over a foundation of a looping drum and guitar pattern. Even on “Immunity,” which begins ambiguously and unassumingly, it throws listeners on a loop as pounding, jazz-inspired piano chords create a seductive outro.
Thematically, “God Save the Animals” is difficult to piece together, but that doesn’t become a weakness of the album. The title gives some clues, as religion and spiritual concepts feature heavily in the album’s lyrical content. In an interview with Document Journal, on the choice of the title of the album, Alex G said: “I stuck to it because it’s a bit ambiguous, everything it means is ambiguous. I don’t have a clear idea of what that means either. I like things where the meaning is malleable. He later expands on the religious part of the name, saying, “The theme doesn’t necessarily reflect my personal beliefs, but it seemed like a stimulating idea to play with.” The religious aspects of the album don’t end up being very authentic or satirical, they’re just there for us to listen to.
On “Mission,” Alex G speaks from the perspective of a missionary, not taking a clear stance on the subject, but instead detailing the perspective through lyrics like “I’ve lived my whole fuckin’ life/I’ve kept my mission tight/ Send my message to the leader. “Cross the Sea” appears to be from the perspective of God himself, or some sort of savior, and incorporates lyrics to the story of Jesus walking on the sea. ‘water.
The clearest signs that Alex G doesn’t take the religious subject too seriously, however, without completely disrespecting it, are in “SDOS”, where he sings in a silly vocal effect, “God is my creator/ Jesus is my advocate.” (lyrics that made me laugh on a first listen), and in “Blessing”, where his lyrical delivery is in a serious whisper, but often interrupted by loud shouts – “HUH!”
As someone who is not a follower of Christianity or any other religion, I think the way he handles the religious theme is mature and respectful. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but creates an atmosphere of spirituality and a sense of higher self/being that exists throughout the project.
Alex G is known to be a bit of a prankster in some of his lyrics (see “Whale” from his 2012 album, “Trick”), but he gladly tackles more serious topics on this project.
The album’s most mature song, and perhaps one of its most mature songs to date, is “Ain’t It Easy”. I listened to this song on repeat for days after first hearing the album due to its great chord structure and addictive vocal melodies, and it was already easily my favorite track on the album. .
However, on my second listen to this album, as I read the song with the lyrics, I felt my eyes well up with tears as I read the tragic story of two lovers, former drug addicts, who try to get sober together. , but the narrator’s partner fails and presumably dies from an accident or overdose (this is not definitive, but from the lines “I should have known/That you had lost control/Working every night until dawn/Finds to sleep with the headlights on “I feel confident drawing this conclusion). This storyline reminds me of “Hope” from “House of Sugar,” which tells the story of a close friend of Alex G who overdosed on drugs. Alex G has been in awe of his drug abuse in his music, and the songs he writes about these issues are authentic and, while sometimes heartbreaking, overall inspiring.
“Forgive” and “Miracles” also contain incredibly authentic lyrics about events in Alex G’s life and his feelings about them. He not only talks about drug addiction in this album, but also about his personal fears, his mistakes, his forgiveness, the overcoming of the past and his investment in his career.
The real highlight of the album comes in “Miracles,” where he says, “Baby, I pray for children, sinners, and animals too, and I/I pray for you.” The “I pray for you” line feels pointed at himself, the people in his life, and the listeners, and it shows the true scale of emotional sophistication that Alex G is able to access in his music, despite his lyrics. often wacky in other pieces. it happened in the past.
Overall, “God Save the Animals” shows a new sense of Alex G’s maturity through musical and lyrical elements, while not taking itself too seriously and challenging a traditional listening experience. This album is a must-have for any Alex G fan, whether you prefer his older or more recent projects, but also serves as a great introduction to his catalog for new listeners.
Alex G is currently on tour across the United States and will be near Boston on November 8-9. Tickets are sold out but can be found for resale.