Review Summary: RIYL: being young and carefree, reminiscing about being young and carefree, Japandroids
It’s hard to articulate exactly why one enjoys a certain piece of music. When a critic or fan does try to impose a scientific formula upon what makes music “good,” they almost always end up sounding like a complete idiot. We can’t say with any certainty that, for instance, a strong vocal performance will always hold more weight than a great guitar sound, or that a technically fantastic drummer is more important than a good production job. Similarly, it’s impossible to argue that one album or song is superior to another. We can post homophobic insults on certain musical discussion sites until we’re blue in the face, but a unanimous decision is never reached, and 99% of the time, people stick to their seemingly irrational opinions regarding whichever song, artist, or album, is in question.
When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is what the music makes us feel. I never know why exactly a piece of music will move me in the way that it does, but the important thing is that it does. This is why I personally hold Japandroids’ music in such high regard. They perfectly capture the sound of being young and carefree, flaws and all. On a technical level, their music is anything but impressive. They can barely sing, the guitar parts are mainly simple power-chord progressions blurred by a hefty dose of fuzz, and the drumming is exceedingly simple. But, in a way, this adds to their charm. They aren’t concerned with making things sound good because they’re too busy living the dream. They spend their days rocking out, hard (seriously, see them live), and writing songs about getting drunk and having careless sex (with wet-haired French girls apparently).
This review doesn’t talk about the specifics of the album; I haven’t mentioned any certain songs or moments. I haven’t talked about a specific genre or style of music and Japandroids’ approach to it. But attempting to dissect this record and justify my “classic” rating would be naïve, not to mention impossible. My reason for rating this album so highly is entirely personal, and I don’t expect anyone to agree with what I might have to say about why “Younger Us” is maybe my favourite song, or how the lyrics in the chorus of “The House That Heaven Built” are ingenious in their straight-forward approach, or how the album is bookended by two moments of brilliant musical restraint from a band known for their decidedly anti-restraint attitudes. Enjoying Japandroids’ music is simple: it either evokes positive emotions in you, or it doesn’t.
hear when I listen to Celebration Rock
is an audial representation of the memories of countless nights spent with close friends drinking beer, getting high, and feeling like we owned the world, if only for a fleeting moment. Nowadays, these memories are created less and less frequently as I attempt to be a responsible adult. My days of being young and stupid are (mostly) behind me. But when I put on Celebration Rock
, I remember that there is something to be said for being juvenile. The world is a stressful place, but sometimes the best approach is to laugh in the face of such mundane concepts as responsibility, restraint, careful deliberation, and foresight.
This album cannot be dissected or analyzed, it can only be enjoyed. If you’re a young adult yearning for the glory days of your youth, or feeling the weight of the world a little too heavily on your shoulders, or just looking to have a good time with some good friends and some good tunes, then Celebration Rock
is for you. And if it isn’t, well, rock on man. Come have a beer anyway, I’ve got the first round.
Remember when we had them all on the run, and the night we saw the midnight sun? Remember saying things live “we’ll sleep when we’re dead,” and thinking this feeling was never gonna end? Remember that night you were already in bed, said “fuck it,” got up to drink with me instead?
Man, do I ever.