Bankrupt! - Phoenix
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fifth full-length studio release for the French rock band was co-produced with Philippe Zdar of Cassius.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. 90
    The songs on Bankrupt! all still feature scintillating synths, gorgeous melodies and soaring moments of transcendent skill but with more of a flair for the dynamic tense of music.
  2. 83
    Best of all is "S.O.S. in Bel Air," a deceptively giddy song about the loneliness of guest-list-only parties. "Alone, alone, alone!" Mars sighs. And you can just imagine a stadium full of kids shouting the line back to him, alone together.
  3. Apr 22, 2013
    After the immediacy of Wolfgang, ‘Bankrupt!’ can seem like a sidestep. But delve deeper and this is an album reveals itself as a gem; one which mixes their crowd-pleasing hooks with an inventive shift in their sound.
  4. Apr 22, 2013
    The big thrills come so fast it almost feels like a blur, only equaled to the ravished excitement of making a score on a big night. It’ll knock you senseless, possibly bankrupt, until the urge comes back in full force.
  5. Apr 23, 2013
    By design, the new disc is less precisely crafted and more taken with posh, atmospheric grooves than hot power pop.
  6. Apr 25, 2013
    Despite the flashy production values and singer Thomas Mars’s wispy croon, it ultimately feels as superficial as its subject matter.
  7. May 10, 2013
    Not only does Bankrupt! propose a big, stadium-ready sound, it offers one that nearly suffocates its creators. [No. 98, p.59]

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Jan 14, 2014
    Wonderful album. Definitely different than their last albums; that's one of the reasons I like it so much. If you don't go into this album expecting Wolfgang Amadeus (which seems like the only other Phoenix album many know), you'll be pleasantly surprised. Expand
  2. Apr 23, 2013
    The vocal melodies may meander slightly here and there, but everything else is so on-point I can't help but fall in love with it all. Phoenix remains king of that indie pop-rock sound. Expand
  3. May 20, 2013
    I'm going to say what I didn't like first. There are 3 songs on this new record I don't particularly like. Ironically, the title track 'Bankrupt!,' along with Chloroform, are my least favorite. Chloroform just seems underwritten (especially the lead synth part.)

    Ok, now for the good. The track "Trying to be Cool" is one of the best '2010's 80s-revival' songs I've ever come across, "Oblique City" is one of their most adventurous songs ever, and "Drakkar Noir" hints at their earlier attempts. Overall, I find this to be far more interesting than their record 'It's Never Been Like That' but probably won't garner the attention of 'Wolfgang Amadeus'
  4. May 1, 2013
    Almost exactly four years of waiting for a follow up to the Grammy award-winning Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix are finally over, Alternative French music lovers. On April 23 Phoenix released their fifth album to many eagerly awaiting fans, but were all those sleepless nights of anticipation worth it? Well, yes and no. But mostly yes.

    The album opens up with the widely beloved “Entertainment” that is just so energetic you can’t help but move at least one part of your body to. Kicking off the album with this song was a wise choice on the band’s part, as it is the most reminiscent of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, helping ease listeners into their new material with a familiar sound. It also doesn’t hurt that they really nail this song live; if you caught it on SNL, lucky you, but the real magic was at Coachella where they opened with this song as well as finished their set with a take on it, making for an incredibly entertaining (see what I did there?) experience.

    Continuing on with the album, listeners hear songs like the synth heavy “The Real Thing” which seems to be lacking in areas but is overall a fun and catchy listen. After that comes one of my favorites on the album, “S.O.S. In Bel Air”, which is another tune that could force you to cut a rug against your will. The best part comes when the lines “Put my name on your list S.O.S. in Bel Air” are shouted, not just for how cool they sound being called out, but because the music that follows can possibly give you whiplash if you bob your head to this catchy beat too fast....

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  5. Jun 18, 2013
    Phoenix is an alternative indie rock band from Versailles France with Thomas Mars on vocals, Christian Mazzalai on Guitar, Laurent Brancowitz on Guitar/Keyboard and Deck d’Arcy on Bass. This is their 5th studio album.
    This effort is a solid one; I will give Phoenix that. However, their promise of more experimentation is more than lacking. For a phoenix album, it is a lot more synth heavy, that’s for sure. In fact, The extra synths make the album more interesting overall. But as far as experimental albums come, this is not one.
    Entertainment (8.3/10) The album starts off with a catchy electric piano riff with the first single. This sounds like a traditional phoenix track, with more synths and pianos. It’s very catchy and exciting.
    The Real Thing (6/10) This track starts off the bat clunky. It’s all over the place with its sounds and lacks unity with the sounds created in the length given. The light gruntle vocal sample that is repeated throughout is distracting and unneeded. the song’s hook has good build up behind it, but as a whole, is pretty forgettable.
    S.O.S. in Bel Air (9/10) Track 3 begins much better than where 2 left off. It jumps into a nice light beat with a smooth groove, leading to the hook that happens to be one of the best on the album. Thomas Mars’ vocals seem to be much more excited than in the previous track
    Trying to be Cool (7.9 /10) A smooth beat and a coherent sound leaves this track to be more than just filler, it’s the good kind of filler. One with a decent hook and a creamy center. Like in a custard donut. This song is a custard donut
    Bankrupt! (9.5 /10) Easily the most experimental of all the tracks on the LP, this track starts off slow, with layers of sounds that begin to form into what seems to be reminiscent of a pretty Sunday morning. Suddenly the 2nd half dives to introduce a darker sound of keyboards that come in and fade into the repetition of chime sounds on the keyboard. Mars’ vocals come in high pitched and he ends the song ambiently with a mix of acoustic guitar and dreamlike synth notes
    Drakkar Noir (7.6 /10) This song feels like it could closely compare to the songs on the previous LP. With its straightforward guitar, and nice taps of the high hats and even with a touch of electric piano.
    Chloroform (8/10) Chloroform is a jam that keeps a slow pace, almost leaving you at a daze. Never the less, its one of the most relaxing of all the tracks, giving off a strong vibe of the 80’s, really something you can take a cruise to.
    Don’t (7.3/10) Contains loud sounds of electronica, with some fat hits of the drums. Mars sings lyrics of not worrying so much about the stresses of life and just letting go sometimes.
    Bourgeois (8.3/10) Bourgeois is definitely a builder. It has a promising start, then it comes to a halt and becomes sort of disjointed in the middle. However, the track picks up the momentum almost as fast as it lost it. The chorus is exciting and really brings you to a high emotional level.
    Oblique City (8.9 /10) Oblique is a poppy closer. One that is very upbeat compared to the tracks before it. Easily accessible, decent blends of drums, guitar and electric instruments make this closer one worth repeating.
  6. Jan 3, 2014
    I have to admit, the first time I heard this album, I didn't like it. The style was different from Phoenix's previous albums and anything else I'd ever heard. Most of the songs grew on me after a while. The keyboards are great, and they are prominent in many songs. The only problem is some of the lyrics; they don't make sense. For example, "Trying To Be Cool" seems to be a collection of random words and phrases in no particular order. "Wildlife binoculars, tell me that you want me." Expand
  7. Jul 5, 2013
    Not as good as Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. It's really lacking something, but I can't particularly pinpoint exactly what. Not the worst, but don't pay for it. Expand

See all 17 User Reviews