Monday, May 21, 2007

I Hope You're In Your Car Right Now, Turning This Shit Up So Loud

Lifetime - Lifetime
Decaydance Records, 2007

It's a story we've all heard a thousand times. Band goes unrecognized during their time, only to be fully appreciated after their demise. Everyone lamets the fact that the band split and wishes and wishes for a reunion, and when it finally happens, they all get excited. Then the band decides to record some new material that sounds a little poppier than it used to and their whole fanbase cries "Sellouts!"

After Lifetime reunited after an 8 year hiatus for a few shows in the summer of 2005, no one had really expected a new full-length within the next two years. What came even more unexpectedly was the fact that it would be released on Fall Out Boy Pete Wentz's label, Decaydance. Lifetime's two proper full-lengths for Jade Tree Records were the stuff of legends; part Husker Du, part Jawbreaker, all Jersey. So there was rightly a lot of speculation about what the album would turn out like. Fans of Lifetime should, in fact, be worried about this album, because all of the mall punk kids hanging out at Hot Topic are going to love it, and the worst part is, so are they.

Lifetime isn't really a departure from the the sound the band forged at all, but that speaks volumes for the driving melodic hardcore that Lifetime helped innovate. It holds up. The intro to "Try and Stay Awake" is a throwback to Jersey's Best Dancers' "Cut the Tension," and "Haircuts and T-Shirts" harkens back to everything you loved about every song Lifetime has recorded. In fact, the only discernable difference between the eponymous album and any of Lifetime's previous output is the change in lead singer Ari Katz' voice from a slightly mumbled, corpulent shout, to a slightly higher-pitched sing-speak, which make for a plethora of "Ari was better when he was fat!" jokes.

The lead track, "Northbound Breakdown" is one of the best opening tracks so far this year, with a chorus you'll be singing by the second time around, and a ridiculous breakdown, and the closer "Records at Nite" is a quintessential Lifetime breakup tune. Lifetime have a gift for not wasting any time. If you're thinking you can skip the last 15 seconds of any track on this album, you're probably going to miss the moment that will sell you on the song. Mr. Katz' gift of gab is second only to the honorable Blake Schwarzenbach in terms of punk rock balladry. His compelling and heartfelt words have always been the perfect compliment to his band's pop-punk-core. You'd be hard-pressed to find a punk out there who won't melt at a line like "I don't trust a thing in sight when everything is overrated. You're so good you just can't fake it." Katz lyrics aren't the only star of the Lifetime show though. Scott Golley's dextrous and powerful drumming carry many of the songs, pummelling each roll and crash with force and agility.

So what's the answer to the big question? Does it hold up to Hello Bastards and Jersey's Best Dancers? Admittedly, it is a much more commercially viable record, but a majority of that has to do with the musical climate of today. Lifetime is a more than worthy addition to a legendary band's catalogue. The band goes on to once again make it acceptable for even the most hardened of "punx" to have a heart. (4.3/5 Stars)
Key Tracks: "Northbound Breakdown", "All Night Long", "Can't Think About it Now", "Records at Nite", "Haircuts & T-Shirts"
More Along These Lines: Saves the Day - Can't Slow Down, Embrace - Embrace, Shook Ones - Sixteen
Download The Album In The Free Link I've Provided For Your Broke Ass:
Lifetime - Lifetime

Hey guys, this one was a little late today. I know the album came out in like February, but I feel like I've got a lot of catching up to do these days, so I'm kind of arbitrarily choosing albums for my reviews. Has anyone ever seen reruns of like the first 2 or 3 episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? There's this whole extended theme song that's a good 2 verses longer than the one we're all accustomed to. It details his momma packing his suitcase and his flight over in first class while he ogles the stewardess' tits. It's a little awkward and disillusioning.

In less exciting television news; tomorrow night, the CW network is airing the final two episodes of the brilliant and recently cancelled Veronica Mars. It may surprise a lot of you to know that VM is my favorite show on television (or was, rather), but The Simpsons hasn't been good since I was in middle school, and Arrested Development already got cancelled. But seriously, if you enjoy this blog, you'll probably like V Mars. It's got the same "snarky veneer of intellectualism," as I believe Lewie phrased it. Also, it has Kristen Bell, who is smoking hot, and the love of my life.

There's no link today, which I believe I explained to you fuckers yesterday. Seriously, I'll get that up and running again soon. Also, I found a track from Okkervil River's upcoming LP over at Pitchfork Media, and it's fantastic. Will Sheff's vocals are astounding, and it's got that same "big" Okkervil sound I've come to love. You'd do well to check it out. Your life will be better because of it. That's all for today, guys. I'll be back tomorrow with some shit or another. Later skaters.

Post Script: One of my roommates just clued me into this fancy screening of Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. It's being done at the Lincoln Center on Sunday (5/27), and it's a restored print that's apprently never been screened before, plus a Q&A after with one of the actors, who also helped create the fucking lens Kubrick invented to make the film. You can click this link here, if you're in the New York metropolitan area and want to check it out. I highly recommend it.

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