Bankrupt!

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For the legal status, see Bankruptcy.
Bankrupt!
Studio album by Phoenix
Released 19 April 2013 (2013-04-19)
Recorded 2011–12
Studios d'Herbécourt, Motorbass Studio (Paris)
Oscilloscope Laboratories
(New York City)
Genre Alternative rock, new wave, synthpop
Length 40:35
Label Loyauté, Glassnote, Atlantic
Producer Phoenix, Philippe Zdar
Phoenix chronology
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
(2009)
Bankrupt!
(2013)
Singles from Bankrupt!
  1. "Entertainment"
    Released: 18 February 2013 (2013-02-18)
  2. "Trying to Be Cool"
    Released: 8 July 2013 (2013-07-08)
  3. "S.O.S. in Bel Air"
    Released: 11 November 2013 (2013-11-11)

Bankrupt! is the fifth studio album by French indie rock band Phoenix. The album was released on 19 April 2013 by Loyauté, Glassnote Records and Atlantic Records.

Writing and composition[edit]

On 5 April 2011, Phoenix posted a blog update on their website revealing CCTV stills of a studio where the band was working.[1] The band stated in interviews that the album would be a departure from the pop sounds of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), and they were trying to create something more experimental.[2] The band also said that their work on the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola's 2010 film Somewhere provided inspiration for the creation of the album.[citation needed]

Promotion[edit]

Glassnote head Daniel Glass announced at a Spotify event on 6 December 2012 that the band had finished recording their new album, and it was scheduled for an April 2013 release.[3] On 16 January 2013, the album's title was revealed to be Bankrupt! and a teaser was released on Phoenix's official website.[4]

Phoenix will play various major music festivals across the world in support of the new album. Announced dates include headlining spots at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Primavera Sound. They will also play large European festivals such as Rock Werchter, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park and Glastonbury Festival.

The album's lead single, "Entertainment", premiered on Zane Lowe's show on BBC Radio 1 on 18 February 2013,[5] and was released digitally the following day.[6]

The second single, "Trying to Be Cool", was initially promoted via Soundcloud, with several remixes available for download. On 2 July 2013 a video for the song was released, with a live performance of "Trying to Be Cool" and "Drakkar Noir" in a studio in New York City. The video was directed by Spanish collective "CANADA" and produced by Phoenix in conjunction with Intel and Vice's 'The Creators Project'. "S.O.S. in Bel Air" impacted alternative radio in the United States as the third and final single from Bankrupt! on November 11, 2013.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 71/100[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[9]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[10]
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars[11]
The Independent 4/5 stars[12]
Mojo 3/5 stars[13]
musicOMH 4.5/5 stars[14]
The Observer 3/5 stars[15]
Pitchfork Media (7.5/10)[16]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[17]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[18]
Under the Radar (8.5/10)[19]

Bankrupt! received mostly positive ratings from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to ratings and reviews from mainstream critics, the album received a metascore of 71, based on 41 reviews.[8] AllMusic's Heather Phares highlighted that the album "isn't nearly as devoid of new ideas as its title suggests, but it doesn't feel like quite the leap forward Wolfgang was compared to what came before it. Not that it necessarily needs to be" because it "lets them celebrate with a victory lap that's enjoyable for all concerned."[9] At Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot found that it is more "cohesive than its best-selling predecessor."[10] Reef Younis of Clash rated the effort an 8 out of 10, and told that the album is "is as meticulous, likeable, and danceable as its predecessors."[20]

At Consequence of Sound, Steven Arroyo stated that Bankrupt! "could end up the most anti-pop pop album of the year" and although it has its confusing "fake-out" moments, "if the choice was between confusing or boring and safe, Phoenix made the right call."[11] Drowned in Sound's Krystina Nellis rated the album a 9 out of 10, and alluded to how the album maybe a "shock to the system at first", but called the process of listening to the album a "thrilling ride nonetheless".[21] Simon Price music critic for The Independent called the album "derivative and is a near hybrid of Mew, the Postal Service, M83 and Empire of the Sun, but it's perfectly likeable without ever inspiring outright love."[12] At Los Angeles Times, Randall Roberts found the album to be "hardly groundbreaking" because it "feels like a predictable progression, too logical an evolution", yet the release "succeeds despite its verbal elusiveness."[22] John Murphy of musicOMH wrote that the release was "well worth waiting for."[14]

NME's Matthew Horton rated the release a 7 out of 10, and noted that the album has been "buffed and polished", which will edge the band "towards the big time" because "their own flashy banks of synths and treated guitars sound meaty and perfect together".[23] Stuart Berman of Pitchfork rated the album 7.5 out of 10, and evoked that the album "doesn't so much ruefully reflect upon Phoenix's whirlwind, globe-trotting lifestyle as drop you right in the middle of it."[24] At Rolling Stone, Jon Dolan called Bankrupt! an album "rich with colorful, astral-planing synths, wry guitar shimmer, pillow-pump drums and Thomas Mars' blue-eyed vocal swoon".[17] David Bevan of Spin rated the album an 8 out of 10, and affirmed that "the resulting album blurs the lines between simple and sophisticated more effectively than Phoenix ever have before."[25] This Is Fake DIY's Danny Wright rated the album an 8 out of 10, and felt that the album "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."[26] At Under the Radar, Dan Lucas noted how the album "will sound familiar to the band's fans from the off, but also represents the first significant aesthetic shift in their oeuvre", and the release "suggests that the rest of the world has a lot of catching up to do."[19]

However, Philip Cosores of Paste rated the album a 6.0 out of 10, and found that the album "is easy to excuse, only to the effect that the more you excuse its deficiencies, the more you realize you are making excuses for it. Little is bad, but little is memorable or exciting or even interesting."[27] At The Observer, Kitty Empire called the album a "classy, occasionally experimental set informed by breezy 80s sounds and vintage synths", which "it could have suited any number of other, cooler Coachellists in situ", and that it is "perhaps, a textbook post-success album."[15] Kevin Korber of PopMatters rated the release a 6 out of 10, and evoked how the album is "ultimately underwhelming" because the effort does not have anything "going on", but the project "still works as a solid effort from a band getting used to being big. They’re just doing what they do."[28] Slant Magazine's Mark Collett found that the "lightness of touch, however, is otherwise missing", which makes the album "cool and pleasant, but easy to forget."[18] At Mojo, Stephen Worthy said "the French quartet can be forgiven for not messing with the formula here."[13]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Phoenix

No. Title Length
1. "Entertainment"   3:40
2. "The Real Thing"   3:22
3. "S.O.S. in Bel Air"   3:43
4. "Trying to Be Cool"   3:48
5. "Bankrupt!"   6:57
6. "Drakkar Noir"   3:22
7. "Chloroform"   4:04
8. "Don't"   3:16
9. "Bourgeois"   4:53
10. "Oblique City"   3:30

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Bankrupt! adapted from liner notes.[29]

Phoenix
  • Phoenix – production
  • Thomas Mars – lead vocals
  • Laurent Brancowitz – guitar, keyboards, percussion, programming, backing vocals, artwork concept
  • Christian Mazzalai – guitar, keyboards, programming, backing vocals
  • Deck D'Arcy – bass, keyboards, piano, percussion, programming, treatments, backing vocals
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[30] 5
Austrian Albums Chart[31] 31
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[32] 21
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[33] 22
Canadian Albums Chart[34] 4
Danish Albums Chart[35] 34
Dutch Albums Chart[36] 57
French Albums Chart[37] 3
German Albums Chart[38] 18
Irish Albums Chart[39] 10
Japanese Albums Chart[40] 18
New Zealand Albums Chart[41] 27
Norwegian Albums Chart[42] 33
Scottish Albums Chart[43] 17
South Korean Albums Chart[44] 94
Spanish Albums Chart[45] 48
Swiss Albums Chart[46] 22
UK Albums Chart[47] 14
US Billboard 200[48] 4
US Alternative Albums[49] 1
US Independent Albums[50] 1
US Rock Albums[51] 1

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
Australia[52] 19 April 2013 Liberation Music
Germany[53] Warner Music
Netherlands[54]
Ireland[55] Loyauté, Glassnote Records, Atlantic Records
United Kingdom[56] 22 April 2013
France[57] Loyauté
Canada[58] 23 April 2013 Glassnote Records
United States[59] Loyauté, Glassnote Records
Japan[60] 24 April 2013 Warner Music
Italy[61] 14 May 2013

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Songwriting…". Phoenix Diary. 5 April 2011. Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Montgomery, James (16 February 2011). "Phoenix Begin Work On 'Experimental' New Album". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "New Phoenix Album Set for April Release". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 6 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Phillips, Amy (16 January 2013). "Phoenix Announce New Album Title". Pitchfork Media. 
  5. ^ Minsker, Evan (18 February 2013). "Listen/Watch: New Phoenix Song "Entertainment"". Pithfork Media. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Entertainment: Phoenix". Amazon MP3. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "R&R Going for Adds: Alternative (Week Of: November 11, 2013)". Radio & Records. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Metacritic. "Bankrupt! - Phoenix". CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Phares, Heather (22 April 2013). "Bankrupt! - Phoenix : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Kot, Greg (22 April 2013). "Phoenix album review; Bankrupt reviewed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Arroyo, Steven (22 April 2013). "Album Review: Phoenix – Bankrupt!". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Price, Simon (22 April 2013). "Album: Phoenix, Bankrupt! (V2)". The Independent. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Phoenix Bankrupt!". Q (May 2013): 97. 9 April 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Murphy, John (22 April 2013). "Phoenix - Bankrupt!". musicOMH. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Empire, Kitty (20 April 2013). "Phoenix: Bankrupt! - review (V2/Glassnote)". The Observer. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Berman, Stuart (22 April 2013). "Phoenix: "Bankrupt!"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Dolan, Jon (23 April 2013). "Bankrupt". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Collett, Mark (19 April 2013). "Phoenix: Bankrupt!". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Lucas, Dan (22 April 2013). "Phoenix: Bankrupt! (Glassnote)". Under the Gun. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  20. ^ Younis, Reef (15 April 2013). "Phoenix - Bankrupt!". Clash. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  21. ^ Nellis, Krystina (16 April 2013). "Phoenix – Bankrupt!". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  22. ^ Roberts, Randall (23 April 2013). "Review: Phoenix's "Bankrupt!" filled with synths and non sequiturs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  23. ^ Horton, Matthew (19 April 2013). "NME Album Reviews - Phoenix - 'Bankrupt!'". NME. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  24. ^ Berman, Stuart (22 April 2013). "Phoenix: Bankrupt!". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  25. ^ Bevan, David (23 April 2013). "Phoenix, 'Bankrupt!' (Glassnot/V2)". Spin. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  26. ^ Wright, Danny (22 April 2013). "Phoenix – Bankrupt!". This Is Fake DIY. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  27. ^ Cosores, Philip (23 April 2013). "Phoenix: Bankrupt!". Paste. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  28. ^ Korber, Kevin (23 April 2013). "Phoenix: Bankrupt!". PopMatters. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  29. ^ Bankrupt! (CD liner notes). Phoenix. Glassnote Records. 2013. 825646464517. 
  30. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  32. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  33. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  34. ^ "Phoenix – Chart history: Canadian Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  35. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!". danishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  36. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  37. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!" (in French). lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  38. ^ "Phoenix, Bankrupt!" (in German). charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  39. ^ "Top 100 Artist Album, Week Ending 25 April 2013". Chart-Track. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  40. ^ フェニックスのアルバム売り上げランキング [Phoenix album sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  41. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  42. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!". norwegianchart.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  43. ^ "2013 Top 40 Scottish Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. 4 May 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  44. ^ 가온차트와 함께하세요 [Gaon Album Chart] (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2013.  Note: Select "2013년" → "2013.04.21~2013.04.27", then click on the "51–100위" tab below the chart.
  45. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!". spanishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  46. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  47. ^ "2013 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. 4 May 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  48. ^ "Phoenix – Chart history: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  49. ^ "Phoenix – Chart history: Alternative Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  50. ^ "Phoenix – Chart history: Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  51. ^ "Phoenix – Chart history: Rock Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  52. ^ "Phoenix Store – Bankrupt!". Getmusic. Universal Music Australia. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  53. ^ "Bankrupt!" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  54. ^ "Langverwacht nieuw album Phoenix" (in Dutch). Warner Music Netherlands. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  55. ^ "New Releases". Warner Music Ireland. Archived from the original on 27 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  56. ^ "Bankrupt!". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  57. ^ "Bankrupt – Phoenix" (in French). Fnac. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  58. ^ "BANKRUPT by PHOENIX". HMV Canada. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  59. ^ "Bankrupt: Phoenix". Amazon.com. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  60. ^ "BANKRUPT! / バンクラプト!" (in Japanese). Warner Music Japan. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  61. ^ "Phoenix – Bankrupt!" (in Italian). Internet Bookshop Italia. Retrieved 28 April 2013.