When A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out first arrived in 2006, Panic! At the Disco was the most exciting mainstream rock band in the world. Pretty. Odd. in retrospect, isn’t a bad record, but it doesn’t have the same life that Fever does. In fact, the band didn’t even scratch that excitement until the release of the song “This is Gospel,” but on Death of a Bachelor, Brendon Urie sounds refreshed. The faux Sinatra songs like “Impossible Year” are irresistible, but he really shines on the songs that serve as bangers. “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” or “LA Devotee” are genuine pop hits, and P!ATD’s best records are still to come if Urie can keep up this output. Continue reading →
Following Trump’s election, various artists are calling for help to make their shows safe spaces. Kevin Devine has called to help anyone who may feel unsafe to contact the God Damn Band, Petal, Julien Baker, Pinegrove or himself. Mitski posted a similar message on Instagram: Continue reading →
Now, the polls have closed. Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump received the majority of electoral votes. He will be our next president. Eight years of progress will be undone once Trump takes office in January. While I legitimately do hope that Trump is a good president, my better senses tell me he won’t be. Even though it seems that no good can come of all of this, some of my favorite music came out of anger for politicians. Here are some songs for a Trump presidency:
American Idiot has been in heavy rotation today. Even though the title track is often used as the marker for discontent, “Holiday” is easily the most political fueled track on the album. Billie Joe has recently been altering the lyrics to include “Pulverize the Donald Trump Towers,” and just as Green Day amplified a nation’s disgust in 2004, this song still rings true. Continue reading →
Today’s Monday Mixtape lands on All Hallow’s Eve, thus we’ll be giving you a number of Halloween songs to begin with. What’s a better Halloween band than The Misfits? While just about any Misfits song could have worked, “Teenagers from Mars” feels like a cheap B-Movie, in the best way. Crappy horror films are what Halloween is made of, and this is one of The Misfits’ best songs.
Kevin Devine is a phenomenal songwriter in the same way Billie Joe Armstrong is a great songwriter. His songs can be very simple, but they’re all pretty catchy, and the lyrics and vocals are at the forefront. He’s also most well-known for mixing both intensely personal lyrics with some political views peppered in. Where Armstrong has gotten vague, Devine has become hyper specific, and Instigator is one of the best records of 2016.
Where songs about drinking alone, unrequited crushes and self-pity may have become old-hat, Devine’s latest is one of his best and most refreshing albums. Instigator is mostly a record about making peace with the world you live in. The title track and “Magic Magnet” romanticize both the good and bad in relationships. Devine is both madly in love and wants to have arguments with you (when you need to). The best part of these songs is the seeming glee that Devine presents them with. The guitar tones are bright, and the tempo is up. Both songs sound like driving down a Los Angeles highway in the summer time. “No One Says You Have To” is about as mellow as the album gets, but the quick fingerpicking and soothing tone are equally as positive. “Before You’re Here” is a beachy song about anticipating the birth of his daughter.
Even what appear to be Devine’s darkest personal moments have a positive twist on them. In “Daydrunk,” Devine sings:
But daydrunk is what I used to be
No Jimmy Buffet song
No island imagery
Bellies on the bar
Elbows up with me.
Despite the darker imagery depicting Devine’s alcohol and drug abuse, he sings it in a cheery, poppy little song. The album closer, “I Was Alive Back Then,” reflects on some larger moments in his life-depression, Christmas mornings, marriage. The song’s repeated chorus of “I was alive back then” makes it seem like Devine is beginning his midlife crisis at 36, but when he ends, he sings, “I was alive back then/Now, I am again,” singing about the birth of his daughter. It’s the most somber, sobering moment of the album.
Following the first three upbeat numbers, Devine gives us “Freddie Gray Blues.” It’s a haunting track that tackles not only the current issues of police brutality, but Devine addresses his own white-privilege from a very self-aware point of view. He also offers this different point-of-view that leaves a lot of people conflicted:
When I’m talking these killer cop blues
I’m kinda talking my family to you
See, my dad was a cop
And his dad was a cop
And my uncles were cops
And my cousins were cops
I’m partly here because of cops
And I love all those cops
And I know not every cop
Is a racist, murdering cop
But this is bigger than the people I love
The system’s broken
In a song like this, Devine mixes his two styles beautifully, and he’s penned a protest song as good as Bob Dylan’s “The Hurricane.”
“Both Ways” is a surf-punk jam that both satirizes and criticizes the United States. The song is mainly calling out hypocrisy that mostly seems to be calling out right-wing conservatives. One of Devine’s most clever lyrics is “You can’t weaponize Jesus/and be shocked when the heathens shoot back.” At the same time, it seems Devine is praising the United States for being a nation that could allow both, or he could be understanding of where both sides come from. He could also just be satirical.
This brings us to perhaps my favorite Kevin Devine song ever written. “No History” is a song about the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. The song crams a range of emotions into three and a half minutes. The song begins sounding like a search party. Devine recounts the day of the attacks, his own coping, and turning to his father to try to make sense of it all. Devine sings as his father, “I know I see it/I thought it made sense. I don’t anymore.” The chorus erupts into a word salad of confusion where Devine sees a destroyed city, anger at Muslims, and a mourning nation. Before the final chorus, Devine reflects on how far we’ve come from that day. We’re still in a world where we’ve fought a war on terror that, at times, seems to have gone nowhere. Still, he reflects on seeing his niece as an infant, and how life does go on. “This is the future: severe and always happening.” It’s a song that’s powerful, to say the least. Devine’s politics may not be for everyone, but he certainly presents himself in an honest way that demands your attention.
This weekend saw the wrap up of the Desert Trip festival in Indio, California. McCartney was probably one of the biggest draws when the festival was announced, but he brought out a special guest who is definitely more suited for Coachella.
Aimee Mann-“Can’t You Tell”
The 30 Days, 30 Songs campaign has been a recurring story here at BurgerADay for the past week. Aimee Mann’s song is easily one of the best songs to come out of it. It’s a driving number that takes on a much sadder point-of-view that almost forces the listener to emphasize with the Republican Presidential Candidate
The Who-“Baba O’Riley”
Another “Oldchella” act. While The Beatles and Rolling Stones are essentials for any music fan, I always preferred Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwhistle and Keith Moon growing up. It’s hard to find a song as timeless as “Baba O’Riley.” That synthesizer riff is one of the most iconic in history.
Kevin Devine-“Freddie Gray Blues”
As the release of Kevin Devine’s Instigator draws closer, we’ve been treated to the album stream. Devine did release this track right after the murder of Freddie Gray, and it’s just as haunting. Devine both acknowledges his white privilege and relationships with cops, and it’s chilling.
The UK pop-punk outfit has just embarked on a US tour opening for The Wonder Years. Where their first album had more emo-influence, Blush is sugary sweet pop-punk, and the lead single is probably the best song from the album. The band is sure to be exciting.
Modern Baseball-“Phone Tag”
Another tour-opener. Modern Baseball has just kicked off a tour with Brand New and The Front Bottoms. While their setlist mostly features takes from the excellent Holy Ghost, I’ve been revisiting their B-sides. This reworking of “It’s Cold Out Here” is a nice change of pace, and the altered lyrics at the end are much better than the original.
Brand New-“Not the Sun”
Brand New has been playing Devil and God front to back on their current tour, forcing me to revisit the album. While the most popular tracks never fail to entertain, I’m pleasantly reminded how great songs like “Welcome to Bangkok” or “Not the Sun” are.
Bob Dylan-“Desolation Row”
The biggest music news story this week has been about the Nobel Prize winner. Dylan’s poetry is perhaps best summed up in this song, and here’s a video from this weekend’s Desert Trip.
Black Kids-“Obligatory Drugs”
Black Kids are back with this fun-as-hell track. “Obligatory Drugs” is a dancey, indie-rock song with an undeniable hook. I’m definitely in.
Green Day are vamping up for their return, and the title track from their new album is as explosive as ever. The melodic punk track features Green Day’s trademark catchy power chords. Tré Cool shines through locking the song down the most. Billie Joe Armstrong writes some of his wordiest lyrics continuing on from the equally intricate “Bang Bang.” Revolution Radio will be released October 7.
While Shape Shift With Me is streaming via NPR, the catchiest track remains the power pop gem “Crash.” Laura barks over some melodic guitar rock. “Crash” lands all the punches that Shape Shift With Me should when it’s released on Friday.
Kanye West-“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”
Not a new song, but I’m still coming down from a Saint Pablo tour hangover.
The Smiths-“Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”
As summer officially comes to an end, Morrissey and Johnny Marr have written some of the best Autumn songs ever written. This Louder than Bombs track is essential Smiths listening, and it’s a bittersweet take for the start of Fall. It’s a Pumpkin-Spiced jam.
Beach Slang-“Atom Bomb”
This sludgy track has one of the best music videos of the summer, and James Alex sings this song with an intense snarl, that’s irresistible. While “Punks in a Disco Bar” sounds like a chunkier version of a track from Beach Slang’s first album, this song shows that the Philly outfit still has some tricks up their sleeves.
Lady Gaga-“Perfect Illusion”
This Tame-Impala produced single may be Gaga’s best following the flop that was Artpop. This era of Gaga may be exciting.
Kevin Devine-“No History”
Remembering 9/11 this weekend certainly puts a lot of things into perspective. Over the weekend, everyone that was around the same age as me when the World Trade Center attacks happened remembered the confusion. Kevin Devine’s first song from Instigator captures what I imagine it must have felt like for people that were much older than I was when the terrorist attacks happened. Devine is also aware of how this event has echoed to this day. As Devine sings “This is the future severe and always happening” is one of the eeriest to come during this haunting song. Devine doesn’t really memorialize any of those lost, but he does reveal the confusion, fear and anger that has never been forgotten.