In the last few years, we’ve seen a wave of nostalgia for the pop culture of the ’80s, reaching near apotheosis in the Retro Wave genre with artists like D-Noise and Robert Parker. Few, however, have embraced its playful soul with the earnestness and verve of French indie garage rockers Phoenix.
This year’s “Ti Amo” is less a copycat homage than a full throated love song to the glistening electro pop radio candy that was the hallmark of that decade. The top-down sunshine of the opening track “J-Boy” snaps like 1983.
The album doesn’t let down as it bops joyfully through the DIY lo-fi disco of “Lovelife” and the title track, with reverb-drenched synth ballads like “Via Veneto” and the bubble gum funk of “Goodbye Soleil.”
This is such a breath of optimisism and whimsy that it feels almost anachronistic in this tumultuous year, but it’s so genuine — executed without any hipster irony or cynicism. It sticks the landing hard enough to be my favorite albun of 2017.