Relisten: No Doubt – Return of Saturn

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It’s often said that the best music is timeless. Some of the worst songs can reach the top of charts (*cough* “Thong Song” *cough*), but they ultimately disappear in a puff of smoke as if they had never existed in the first place. Good music has longevity. It’s the kind of music that speaks to the masses, that gets passed down from generation to generation.

No Doubt’s Return of Saturn, released in 2000, is the very antithesis of that kind of music. Instead of speaking to the masses, it engages in introspection. The music is raw and at times aggressive, which can be alienating. It can’t even be considered a compendium of the of the turn of the millennium’s zeitgeist, to be examined later for historical purposes; its sound is defiantly anachronistic, falling somewhere between new wave and post-grunge: too old to be modern, too young to be retro.

For those reasons, Return of Saturn won’t be what endures decades from now once No Doubt has stopped making music. The band will instead be remembered for hits like “Just A Girl” and “Hey Baby.” Unfortunately, posterity will overlook this gem of an album, its subject matter a rarity in popular music: an embarrassingly honest series of confessions about life and love from a mildly depressed woman on the cusp of her thirties. More

Relisten: Brand New – The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

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This is the first entry in a series of posts that I’ll be making about albums that are important to me. Either I count them among my favourites or they have influenced the way I think about music. First up: Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me.

Five seconds. That’s how it takes for The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me to obliterate any preconceived notions that a listener may have about Brand New. Opening track “Sowing Season” begins with a softly strummed electric guitar line while singer and rhythm guitarist Jesse Lacey half-mumbles, “Was losing all my friends / Was losing them to drinking and to driving.” The song’s first few moments are such a departure from the band’s previous work that they undoubtedly caused more than a few double takes back in 2006 when Devil and God first came out. Later, “Sowing Season” launches into its hook, which is merely Lacey yelping “Yeah!” over a barrage of distorted guitars. Simple, yet effective. How is this the same band that recorded “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad?” More