Review: Aquarium

March 28, 2020 on RateYourMusic.
Release: Aquarium (Aqua, 1997)

As I get older, the complete dismissal of "cheesy" art makes less and less sense to me. There's usually something of worth underneath the tackyness of art written off this way; the bad acting in B-movies, for example, may be obscuring a well-written narrative, or their goofy effects artistic experimentation that's intriguing (and sometimes historically important) in its own right.

In music this "hidden treasure" usually manifests in a simpler way: pure, unfiltered expressions and celebrations of love and happiness, and plain old danceability. Don't interpret "simple" here as lesser, somehow -- actually, I think it taps into something more universal and puts it in easier reach than a lot of other art (cheesy or otherwise). We all like to have fun and feel love and dance a little sometimes. We all want that. We all need that, sometimes. It can become a little tiring after a while, but that's just how sweets are, right?

That's where Aquarium fits in. Most of the album is that cheesy, overly sincere, danceable bubblegum stuff we all crave deep down now and then. And it's just the right amount to avoid stomachache territory; the few slower tracks on the album are mediocre, but ultimately help balance things out without weighing down the rest of the release. If you need a pick-me-up and have a sweet tooth, this'll do the trick.

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