Beauty Cannot Hide Absurdity
P.J. Olsson is a singer/songwriter from Michigan with a knack for writing good-hearted and rather catchy pop songs that any fan of Rufus Wainwright, Pete Yorn, or Jason Mraz could have appreciation for. Beautifully Insane is his third album of the sunny, up-tempo pop with splashes of psychedelia that set him apart from those individuals. However, his inconsequential and un-focused lyrics keep his music almost as uneventful as theirs. The opener, â€šÃ„ÃºVisine,â€šÃ„Ã¹ sets the tone for the entire album with its straightforward pop coupled with lush, psychedelic effects and layered vocals creating a very warm welcome. The catchiness trucks on from there through one cheery moment to another. On â€šÃ„ÃºMedicated,â€šÃ„Ã¹ the lack of lyrical focus comes to fruition with â€šÃ„ÃºGotta tell you that Iâ€šÃ„Ã´ve gone to South Compton in my mind/Gotta tell you that Iâ€šÃ„Ã´ve gone to the breakers in my mind/Hey there baby Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m lost on a traveling cloud/Iâ€šÃ„Ã´d rather be medicated than to be a bitch like you.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Other lyrical missteps come in the form of a rather out of place reference to Grandmaster Flash in â€šÃ„ÃºSoul Soul Superstarâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and a completely ludicrous mention of wanting to be the opposite of Adolf Hitler in the closer, â€šÃ„ÃºGood Dream.â€šÃ„Ã¹ In context, everything makes sense. Unfortunately, the fact that Olsson made the references is what will probably stick, not how or why.
In the end, Beautifully Insane is truly a warm, fun listen. However, an abundance of catchy songs laced with pop psychedelia has no way of hiding the ultimately aimless lyrics that flood this endeavor. After listening, one would be as lost trying to discover a message as Olsson is trying to convey one.