Fitz and The Tantrums’ new album made me cringe



The album cover for Fitz and The Tantrums new album, Let Yourself Free.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA) Conference with the staff of The Central Trend. During the conference, I attended a review writing class led by a music journalist. He gave us the opportunity to write a short review on two unreleased Fitz and The Tantrums songs from their album, Let Yourself Free, which was released last Friday. I thought I was sitting in a chair at a conference, but it appeared I was in a Disney Channel Movie.

When the upbeat music of “Sway” reached my ears, I was disgusted. The beat was too quick for my liking and ultimately very summer-centered. As someone who believes in separating my seasons by the music I listen to, I was waiting in tortuous anticipation for the end of the song. Unfortunately for me, the song continued on and on. Through the monotonous repetition, I realized it would be perfect for a Disney Channel opening original movie montage.

I thought I was sitting in a chair at a conference but it appeared I was in a Disney Channel Movie.

“Silver Platter” continued this theme. It could easily be a duet sung by the main characters in a Disney Channel Musical—not the old good ones I grew up with, but the new, cheesy ones. It was slower than “Sway” but ultimately a very basic pop song.

“Good Intentions” brought me right back to the summer vibe of “Sway.” While this song couldn’t be in a Disney Channel movie as is due to the mention of drugs in the chorus line “love, drugs, and propane.” But, knowing Disney, they would make a ‘Radio Disney Version’ that I remember from my childhood. Basically, Disney makes a version where they just take out or change the wording when there are topics that they don’t want children to hear about. It’s basically a Kidz Bop version, but with the same artist and less cringey. Anyway, they would make their Radio Disney version and then have the movie’s main characters dance around to it. I specifically can envision it being a slumber party dance song.

Maybe I was looking at the rest of the album with a bias, but I felt stuck in Disney Channel. As much as I would love to never hear the songs off of this album again, they are likely to have some radio popularity. Fitz and The Tantrums have had two songs on the Billboard Top 100 that have trended for multiple months at a time. While this may not seem like many in comparison to the number of songs that the band has released, the songs on the Let Yourself Free album are reflective of current pop trends. Those trends are upbeat and summery. 

Unfortunately, for these songs to peak the most that they can, the album was released too late into the year. Had they been released in the spring, they could have become the top summer hits for a third-grader’s birthday pool party. 

Personally, I don’t think they’d be able to be in the running for the ‘Song of the Summer,’ at least not for anyone but children or middle-aged adults. But, they’d be perfectly suited for Disney Channel movies that make old-Disney-Channel fans cringe.