“Man of the World”
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Masking indie-rock alienation and angst in upbeat synth-pop.
As the bassist for Vampire Weekend, Chris Baio knows plenty about boiling down complicated ideas and feelings into simple, danceable moments.
He takes that idea to the next level with his side project, Baio, and his sophomore album, “Man of the World” (Glassnote). The epic “Shame in My Name” shows how layered his approach can be, building the song around the idea that he shares his name with famous Donald Trump supporter Scott Baio, though he doesn’t mention him. “I know I’m deeply privileged to be losing just my mind,” Baio sings over an anthemic groove. It follows a darker bit where he outlines how he recognizes he doesn’t like to interact with people who have different political views from him. “I’m fearful for the bodies of the vulnerable and kind. I’ve got shame in my name.”
Without paying attention to the lyrics of the funky single “PHILOSOPHY!” it’s easy to get lost in the uplifting groove, even though Baio is singing about a troubled relationship in brainy terms, including a grand chorus of “Sometimes I understand you less than I get Descartes.”