Joyce Manor-Million Dollars to Kill Me

Joyce Manor’s 2016 album Cody showed a band that was willing to take a step away from the abrasive, no bullshit pop-punk that they’d perfected into a band with similar ethics but making more power-pop inspired indie rock.  Sure, there were still pop-punk bangers like “Fake I.D.” and “Reversing Machine,” but songs like “Eighteen” or “This Song Is A Mess But So Am I” fell more into a sort of Blue Album worship in crafting great pop-savvy indie rock.  Million Dollars to Kill Me doesn’t feel like a continuation of Cody nor does it feel like it’s picking up after Never Hungover Again; it sounds like a band that is truly without a care and is making whatever the hell it wants. Continue reading

16 Odd Ends from 2016

Summing it all up.

 

Even though we’ve all been talking about how 2016 is the worst year ever, this year did see a lot of good coming out of it.  Don’t get me wrong, 2016 sucked, but it does seem like the arts flourished.  We got Stranger Things this year!  I’ve heard the new Star Wars is pretty good, and I don’t even like Star Wars.  I saw Brand New, The Front Bottoms, and Modern Baseball twice each!  Those aren’t bad things.  Since music is where my passion lies (and I’m not that original), I wanted to post BurgerADay’s official standings on Pitchfork’s normal and bizarre year end lists.

1.Best Lyric of 2016: The Front Bottoms-“Joanie”

            “I finally am what I am, a fucking bag of bags”


Although The Front Bottoms are stealing a page from Katy Perry’s book here, Needy When I’m Needy provided some of the most refreshing, fun songs of the year.  When Brian Sella sings that he’s just “a fucking bag of bags,” it’s absurdist but enticing.  It’s a line that you can’t help but to sing along to.  Unlike Perry, I’ve never “felt like a plastic bag/drifting through the wind,” but I’ve totally felt like “a fucking bag of bags.”

2.Best Rap Album of 2016: Kanye West-The Life of Pablo Continue reading

The Best Albums of 2016: Honorable Mentions

As album-of-the-year season approaches, we’ve been reflecting on the music we’ve heard this year.  While a more formal list is coming, these items are all honorable mentions for a number of reasons.  While it may just be that we felt our list was better, for many of these albums it has to do with the fact, we just didn’t get to spend as much time as we would have liked with them.  These are still some of the best records of the year, in no particular order.

Chance the Rapper-Coloring Book

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Chance’s third mixtape is one of his strongest.  With gospel-infused hip hop, he brought some of the best feel-good songs of the summer.

Must listen song: “No Problem”

Continue reading

Monday Mixtape: 11/28 (The Weakerthans, My Chemical Romance, Chance the Rapper)

The Weakerthans-“My Favorite Chords”


Following an excellent cover by Aaron West, I’ve been listening to a lot of The Weakerthans lately. Since there is not a lot of new music out at this time of year, I’ve found myself listening to Left And Leaving a lot lately.

Kanye West-“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”


Yeezy is still in the hospital, but The Life of Pablo is sure to be on many Album-of-the-Year lists. Most of the tunes that have been played lately have been checking back on old songs for the year-end lists.

Joyce Manor-“Reversing Machine”


This cut from Cody sounds the most like an old Joyce Manor song, and it’s perfect foe late fall and early winter.

Modern Baseball-“Note To Self”


MoBo have been one of the hardest working bands of the year, while touring behind Holy Ghost. They’re about to close out the year at the inaugural Something in the Way fest, and “Note to Self” is one of the best most restrained tracks on Holy Ghost.

Chance the Rapper-“Same Drugs”


Coloring Book was one of the best mixtapes of the year. Where a lot of the music was celebratory gospel-rap, “Same Drugs” is the kind of soul ballad perfect for cuddling up with some tea or hot chocolate.

Brand New-“Degausser”


The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me just turned ten, and there have been a number of pieces about the importance of this album. One of the most memorable moments from seeing Brand New on their most recent US run was during “Degausser” as the stage was soaked in red lights.

Mitski-“Happy”


Mitski’s Puberty 2 is sure to appear on my year end list, and “Happy” has been a stand out since seeing her recent Webster Hall show.

My Chemical Romance-“Welcome to the Black Parade (Steve Aoki Remix)”


While a MCR reunion seems unlikely, Steve Aoki has kept the spirit of their breakthrough album alive by turning it into an absolute fucking banger.

Joyce Manor-Cody

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Never Hungover Again was one of the most acclaimed punk albums of 2014 for its short, punchy, simple songs with great lyrics.  Joyce Manor’s follow up, Cody, sees the band with catchier, cleaner and more melodic songwriting.  The emotive vocalizing of poetic lyrics is still there, but this is Joyce Manor’s most accessible album yet.

Clocking in at 25-minutes, this is Joyce Manor’s longest record yet, and amidst the 90’s punk comparisons Joyce Manor gets, this album’s biggest influence seems to be Weezer.  The guitar-tones on songs like “Fake I.D.” or “Over Before It Began” bare a strong resemblance to The Blue Album.  The band are good at writing the type of riff-heavy power-pop with equally impressive lyrics.  The trudging pace of tracks like “Last You Heard of Me” makes it sound like it would fit right in on Pinkerton.  Songs like “Make Me Dumb” and “Fake I.D.” are much more in tune with arena-rock and pop-rock than melodic-hardcore.  Still, Joyce Manor retain some of the best elements about their sound.

Songs like “Reversing Machine” and “Do You Really Want to Not Get Better?” are short, to-the-point tracks that can’t overstay their welcome.  “Reversing Machine” has Barry Johnson yelping like he’s on the verge of a drunken breakdown.  “Get Better?” is quite different.  It’s a reserved acoustic track with lyrics that are written and sound like an empathetic conversation with a friend.  “Angel in the Snow” tracks some of the mundanity of young-adult life like previous Joyce Manor albums.  The well-paced track ends with the lines:

Paid seven dollars

For a plastic cup of vodka

Doesn’t make a difference

Doesn’t make it wrong or right

You gotta stay this way forever

‘Til it makes you want to die

You needed something out of nothing

While pop-punk tends to focus on not growing up, Joyce Manor focuses on the difficulty that inevitably comes when you do grow up.  “Stairs,” the album’s longest song, details looking for parental qualities in a significant other.  Where it initially sounds like a sweet sentiment, it eventually sounds sadly pathetic how incompetent and dependent Johnson is.  It’s important to remember that a lyric like “there’s so much good inside you” is preceded by the line “You are like a magnet for evil.”  Johnson’s sense of paralysis is what makes this track though.  It adds a sad twist on the catchy number.  It also makes the final song titled “This Song Is A Mess, But So Am I” much less of a surprise.

The album’s biggest weakness is its lack of hardcore influence and how polished the vocals and production sound.  The closest Joyce Manor get to preserving their old sound is on “Make Me Dumb” and “Eighteen,” but it doesn’t last.  Even “Make Me Dumb” seems to be more of a comment on success than it is on drunken college parties.  The band has more in common here with blink-182 than Into It. Over It.  But I guess, that’s growing up, right?

It’s not a bad album, by any stretch of the imagination.  Barry Johnson and company are just getting older.  We just have more bangers than ragers.