The decision to go pop makes Black Bubblegum Copeland's most focused album. Where his past records were quick to veer off on far-flung tangents—often with thrilling results—here he keeps his eyes on the main musical idea in each tune. He's still in love with loops, and every track has a rhythm that holds firm throughout. But now repetition is less an end in itself than a tool for making melodies infectious.
In fact, the best songs are so infectious that Copeland himself sounds intoxicated by them. The call-and-response vocals of "Rip It" could be some alternate-universe party anthem chanted by spring-breakers. Spry beats dot the slithery "Fuck It Up" and the stoner hip-hop of "On." "Don't Beat Your Baby" uses chunky guitar chords and searing solos to set its hooks on fire.
Black Bubblegum might seem like a fleeting pleasure destined to slip quickly from memory, but there's more to it than instant gratification. As with all of Copeland's records, surprising angles and intriguing touches are strewn throughout. But this is also an incredibly fun record, which is enough reason to play it over and over.