Soft Revolution is in the Stars

Year in Review 2003

Soft Revolution is in the StarsYear in Review 2003
They made an album of pure pop perfection with lush backdrops, tales of mended hearts and oooey-gooey unrequited love. Stars' Heart is #18 on our year-end Pop and Rock chart this year and with their new focus — s-s-s-sex! — it might bump them up higher next year.
Their new album is expected in the fall of 2004 and they're torn between calling it The Soft Revolution and Le Petit Mort, a small death, or the luxe term for an orgasm.

"We're having a lot more sex and we're just trying to make an album where you can put it on at the beginning of the night and have sex all night until the cuddle at the end," says vocalist Amy Millan.

It's fitting that they're torn between the two names because it sums up the MO of their new New Romantic cohorts like Metric (#14), the Dears (#19), Hawaii, and even Matthew Barber, who talk of fizzy, dreamy love stories and mind-blowing, all-consuming, toe-curling romance — sex too, the kind depicted in the great classics though, not hump-heavy hip-hop tracks. Fidelity is prestigious ‘round these parts.

It's a question of good taste that's heard in the soaring heart/break-up balm lyrics. There's a chicness that surrounds these artful dandies who make up a movement that Stars rightly call the Soft Revolution: love songs that avoid the fromage factor by only a fraction, but are still sincere and glamorous thanks to the electro-pop aesthetic and lush layering.

The softies have a home in pro-romo label Paper Bag Records who this year released works from Hawaii, Barber and Stars. The upstart label moved distro operations from Outside to Universal this year promising a wider reach in 2004 for acts like Barber.

He yearned on his Means and Ends album. Real-life couple Sam Goldberg and Samantha Terry took the plunge on their self-titled swirling opus Hawaii, and Metric's kept a backbone, putting the brakes on a speeding heart by capping the mush with political overtones. It's deft and clever — but not entirely without heart.

Metric's Emily Haines told Exclaim earlier this year that she goes out with an open mind, but "More than often I don't find what I hoped would be there." But Stars have learned the art of satisfaction by doing things in the right order, with an album of romance and one to come about sex — in the context of love, of course. Soft revolutionaries can look to Stars for direction in the ongoing tales of the heart.

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