With Social Media Anxiety Disorder, Minnesota singer-songwriter Dan Israel returns with his 15th studio album, a mere 17 months after his acclaimed 2018 release You’re Free.
Social Media Anxiety Disorder was recorded in the spring and summer of 2019 at two different Twin Cities studios, featuring a powerful batch of songs tracked with producer/engineers Jon Herchert (Thomas Abban, Annie Mack) and Steve Price (The Suburbs, Mary Bue), and featuring drummers Peter Anderson and David J. Russ, along with special guests Jeremy Ylvisaker, Steve Brantseg, John Fields, Janey Winterbauer, Tonia Hughes Kendrick, Jon Duncan, Paul Odegaard, and Randy Casey.
From the fiercely catchy, horn-driven power pop of the album’s opening track, “Be My Girl,” to the dark, moody contemplative drone of “Still I’m Lost,” the songs on Social Media Anxiety Disorder span a wide variety of textures and styles, pushing the boundaries of Israel’s past work. We get to hear what it sounds like when Israel works with two accomplished producers with divergent approaches. “Just Can’t Take It” finds Israel wearing some of his deep love of ’80s synth-pop on his sleeve, “Here for Today” revels in Stones-like crunch, while “125” takes on a haunting, psychedelic tone amidst abstract lyrical directions, and many longtime listeners might well be quite surprised at the many new and uncharted (for Israel, anyway) musical paths taken on “S.M.A.D.”
These songs, though, are brought vividly to life in ways that feel quite uplifting, and represent anattempt by Israel to transcend all of these woes with rock music. In short, Social Media Anxiety Disorder sometimes represents a departure for Israel, sonically, while also bringing him back to his roots-rock and folk roots.