It seems strange to consider that when Animal first started to gain popularity, Miike Snow were compared to Animal Collective. Everything they’ve released since then has edged closer and closer to full-blown pop music, gradually losing indie pretension for clearer and catchier melodies, culminating in Heart Is Full, released earlier this year, which careened entirely into chart-ready mainstream sounds. That’s not a bad thing, however, as that song was extremely catchy, with great use of horn samples and autotune styled harmonies (the Run the Jewels remix was especially fun).
Their new song Genghis Khan actually feels like a backpedal of sorts, since it abandons the bombast and hip-hop stylings for a fairly minimal piano and drums beat. There’s very little variation throughout the track, the chorus just adding background vocals to enhance the soundscape. The actual piano line is fairly catchy, recalling Little Red’s Rock It, but whilst that song had a memorable vocal melody following the piano, Genghis Khan has no such thing. The hook is fairly lifeless, with vocalist Andrew Wyatt singing in far too placid a tone to convey the lyrics about a jealous lover – “I don’t want you to get it on with nobody else but me”.
Lyrically, there’s actually an interesting concept here, as the song’s protagonist explains his discomfort with a casual relationship – “and I don’t have the right to ask you where you go at night” – but begins to question his own jealousy in the second verse – “’cause I don’t really want you girl, but you can’t be free”. However, the aforementioned arrangement don’t give the track the weight the darker lyrical concerns deserve, instead simply being content to let the lyrics give the song all its depth. Hopefully when Miike Snow release their upcoming album III they’ll have some more dynamic songs to show off.