Punk music definitely gets a lot of its energy from the anger of civil, emotional, social and political unrest. There are, however, a few instances where punk can get its energy from harnessing the human urge to simply dance and have a good time. This is where Totally Michael comes in.
Totally Michael is everything the name says: It's just a dude named Michael. And a guitar. And a laptop. Okay, so the guitar and the laptop aren't so obvious in the title, but they're there. And the three of them make one of the most powerful trios of all time.
Seconds into a first listen, the Atom and his Package comparisons are daunting. While it is true that Atom patented the "electro/pop-punk" sound 10 years ago, ever since he and his package broke up, there has been a goofy void in the music scene.
Totally Michael attempts to fill that void with this cute little EP. The disc gets off to a start with the anthemic "Death Hill (Over and Over)." The chugging guitar and cheesy "drums" are very Atom-esque, but that's definitely not a bad thing. While the song is wonderful, the repetitive chorus of "over and over and over and over I will echo my name through the clouds" is only funny if you haven't heard Hot Chip reach for the same effect in "Over and Over" or Bomb the Music Industry!'s "King of Minneapolis Pt. I & II."
The fire on the EP really gets started with the electro-only "Alicia's Song." It's a fun, happy, dancey song, but it is also fleetingly sad. The following song, "Shake Your Booty or Die" keeps the fun-wagon rolling with the most traditional punk song on the disc. The song displays Michael's knack for writing pop-punk riffs and oven-fresh sing-along gems. The sing-along element of "Shake Your Booty" carries over to "Cheerleader vs. Drillteam," one of the best crowd-participation songs since "The Twist." It is definitely post-Napoleon Dynamite in its campy goofiness, but it sure works.
For You. closes with the rousing "Don't Stop," which urges the listeners to not "stop fighting for the ones that you love." It is by far the "heaviest" and strongest track on the EP. Sadly, the title of the song, "Don't Stop" is misleading, as it abruptly ends the EP, and the dance party that the previous five tracks had incited.
While not perfect, For You. shows that Totally Michael is on the right track. A full-length is definitely over-due from this Bloomington, IN party king. Let's hope he can settle down long enough to pump one out. At your next dance party, be sure to add Totally Michael to the set list next to Girl Talk and the Rapture. Or, better yet, catch him live on one of his extensive tours!