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Album Review by Tom Beninate
Neon Trees -
Picture Show

Produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen.

Fans of Neon Trees can typically be divided into two musical camps. The first group prefers the retro stuff which would include the hit, “Everybody Talks”. The second group gives the original tracks a higher rating. Tyler Glenn wrote all the songs on this record. However, there are co-writer credits on six of the eleven tunes.

Picture Show is full of energy.  There is some originality and a few unique perspectives but much of the content is based on familiar songwriting.  Tyler Glenn has a weird way of pronouncing certain words while singing. However, he is able to convincingly deliver the lyrics.

Overall, this is a typical record for a national release. Picture Show is definitely worth listening to and will not put you to sleep. It is suited to fans who liked the punk movement. But not everyone needs to have it in their collection.


01 Moving in the Dark Picture Show begins with a bang with this up-tempo perfect-for-an-opener song. Unfortunately the retro sound and stale chord progressions diminish that effort.

02 Teenage Sounds This Billy Idol-“White Wedding” based copy has lots of octane and is a good follow-up to “Moving in the Dark”. The not-as-good-as-Idol comparison indicates just how retro the first four songs from Picture Show are.

03 Everybody Talks Here we have a very catchy last-century top ten tune. The songwriting form and arrangement are just right for a quintessential pop hit. “Everybody Talks” is the most commercially successful track on this album although there are actually two better tracks.

04 Mad Love The tempo slows a bit here on this silly and repetitive cut. There is a huge contrast in form between “Everybody Talks” and this one.

05 Weekend The Neon Trees sound comes through on this one and continues throughout the rest of the record. David Ralicke seems to be imitating Clarence Clemens with the tune-ending sax solo/accompaniment.

06 Lessons in Love (All Day, All Night) featuring Kaskade This is the best cut on the record. With “Lessons in Love” the Neon Trees original sound comes through.

07 Trust This is the second best song on the album. The beat is good, strong, and somewhat reminiscent of the early-Madonna stuff. For the first time there is a good bass part that contributes to the piece.

08 Close to You There is a decent start to this almost haunting tune. The cut could have been really good if more songwriting effort was put forth.

09 Hooray for Hollywood We return to that Billy Idol retro sound on this one. The big problem is the goofy chorus.

10 Still Young This familiar-sounding tune could have benefited from a decent and original hook. The song gets dismissed for lack of originality.

11 I am the D.J. This interesting track contains a retro verse and a more up to date chorus. Tyler Glenn’s strange pronunciation is distracting during the verse but overall the song works. The ending snippet changes the pace and mood, and thus concludes the album.


Songwriting Tyler Glenn and company have average capabilities here. The writing is typical for one of today's national releases. The lyrics are also standard fare and completely harmless.

Arranging The arrangements are generally supportive and typical.

Album Presentation The packaging layout is professional and has a polished appearance.

Artwork The 12-page brochure contains the lyrics to all songs. Each song has a nice, individually-tailored poster next to the lyrics. However, the posters were scaled down too small to be able to read the appropriate credits. The photo printed on the CD is a cool night shot of a venue showing Neon Trees as the headliner.

Originality As previously mentioned, some songs are up-to-date versions of a retro sound and therefore lack originality. However, the rest of the tracks sound fresh. Perhaps with more exposure, Tyler Glenn and crew will write more from their own perspective. 

Performance The performances here are professional considering today’s recording technology and techniques. Although the musicianship is not exceptional it is certainly not dull.  
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Date: August 6, 2013
Artist:Neon Trees
Album Title: Picture Show
Artist's website: www.fameisdead.com
©2012 The Island Def Jam Music Group

out of 5

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