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Album Review

Wide Awake! Review

May 28, 2018

Written by: Micah Gonzalez Photo Courtesy of:

Prior to this album, I had never listened to a Parquet Courts record. I heard this album was good and decided to give it a shot. Coming out of the record, I had heard one of the most exciting and fun rock records that have come out recently.

Wide Awake! takes a bunch of inspiration from the punk movement coming out of the CBGBs in the late 70s. Most of the tracks on it gave me some major Talking Heads and Ramones vibes. Like the Ramones, most of these songs are pretty short and the music is not too flashy. The songs mostly rely on their raw energy alone. Like Talking Heads, the lyrics are very philosophical and sometimes are delivered like an angry preacher rather than sung. Tracks like "Normalization" do a great job of channeling the energy of that vocal delivery along with a great rhythm.

Rhythm is easily this record's strongest element. I found myself constantly tapping my foot along with it. The album made me want to dance on multiple occasions, and honestly, a lot of these tracks are incredibly danceable and groovy. The title track is easily the best example of this, as it takes some cues from African rhythmic styles to make an irresistibly funky song.

The album is very politically pointed, with songs like "Before the Water Gets Too High", a protest song against climate change denial, greed, wealth inequality and the corporations that push for that. "Death Will Bring Change" criticizes the lack of change that has come from countless school shootings and the fact that ultimately, real political change will only come from a natural replacement of the ruling class through age. The choir of children singing along makes this track aesthetically just as eerie as its subject matter.

Overall, Wide Awake! manages to be incredibly fun while addressing tough issues, and without being too overly indulgent. If you want an exciting punk rock record with smart songwriting, diverse songs and incredible rhythm look no further!

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