Sleater-Kinney
The Center Won’t Hold


1.0
awful

Review

by SandwichBubble USER (22 Reviews)
August 16th, 2019 | 85 replies


Release Date: 08/16/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Dig Me Out-ta this mess”

Janet Weiss wasn’t Sleater-Kinney’s first drummer.

And if the band intends to continue past her exit from the band, she won’t be Sleater-Kinney’s last drummer. But if there was ever a red flag bigger or brighter than that one, I don't know what it is.

When Weiss said that she was leaving the band because it was “heading in a new direction,” it was obvious what she meant. Listening to The Center Won’t Hold is proof enough that Sleater-Kinney is going in a new direction. And it’s a bad one. Not because it’s “different,” not because of its influences, not because of its producer, not because of the label it released on, not because of its "politics", and not even because a member disagreed during it’s recording: it’s because that direction is bad. Sleater-Kinney oiled-up and shiny like a high-end car right off the assembly line, with every bell and whistle installed and no expense spared. It warms your seat as you drive, it makes an obnoxiously loud noise as you rev the engine, and best of all: it drives on autopilot. But the soul isn't there.

The Center Won’t Hold opens on an absolutely baffling note with the title track, a ploddingly-slow, pseudo-industrial track that suddenly breaks into one of the worst produced guitars one could ask for. Some might say that the latter invokes a bit of The Woods, in the sense that it causes tinnitus. Now, I’ll be the first one to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of that album’s production either. So what’s different here? Tone and lyrics. Sleater-Kinney were masters of creating an ecosystem for their songs to thrive in, making sure each song had a purpose to be there and had a message that the listener could latch onto. It didn't matter how simple that message actually was, it accented the music perfectly. This album sort of understands the “simple” portion of the equation, but forgets to nurture the song as a complex piece. What tone does this album have? What lyrics grab out at you and demand your attention? Not by repeating the same line over and over, but by naturally blending it into the song. The Center Won’t Hold loses this subtlety in a rush to be as pleasing to everyone as it can possibly be.

Songs like “Ruins” and “LOVE” almost feel like flashbacks to This Island-era Le Tigre, with synthesized vocals and drum machines galore. “Restless” is an alarmingly timid ballad that sounds like a Courtney Barnett throwaway (fitting, seeing as how they’re labelmates now). It’s hard not to compare these songs to artists past, since Sleater-Kinney seem content with sounding like anyone but themselves on this album. As if they’re trying to sneak into the club in their younger sister’s more trendy clothes.

And that’s what the entire album feels like: a band over the hill. Perhaps this is Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein seeing how far people are willing to go, how far they’re willing to stretch just to hear an inkling of that former glory. And for me, it's about this far.



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user ratings (74)
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
hamid95 (4)
Tired of being told that this should be the end...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
SandwichBubble
August 16th 2019


10103 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I wrote this in about 10 minutes, enjoy.



Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/6ArjrXMlLegKiAPOp34K58

Digging: A Witness - Red Snake

botulist
August 16th 2019


85 Comments


yop, shit album

kris.
August 16th 2019


15340 Comments


i heard that first single they released and it was dogshit and it's gonna be a hard pass for me

SandwichBubble
August 16th 2019


10103 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Thanks fellas

It really is the worst thing they've released, tell your friends.



This better be the flagged review or deleted by the time I get back from work, or so help me god I'll start crying at this crowded walmart.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2019


56928 Comments


Nice summary

This is very depressing, band has one of the most consistent discogs in the game

Digging: Daniel Johnston - Songs of Pain

hamid95
August 16th 2019


664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah... I like it, though.

fogza
August 16th 2019


327 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I'm trying to decide if I would like this if this wasn't Sleater-Kinney, like maybe expectations are making me view this more harshly?

fogza
August 16th 2019


327 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

"Almost as if they’re trying to sneak into the club in their younger sister’s more trendy clothes."



Actually, you nailed it. Flicked through the tracks and I think I've probably heard a better version of all of these songs by other artists.

Papa Universe
August 16th 2019


22410 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, I'mma put a fist through your arse.

Papa Universe
August 16th 2019


22410 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

But I will admit that Screaming Females are a better Sleater-Kinney now...

SandwichBubble
August 16th 2019


10103 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Meet me in the middle and punch me in the face instead.



Probably no better place to say this, so I'll say it here:

Check Team Dresch's new song, cause it stomps all over this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNMipN4Xf84



Recommending another band in the comments of a Sleater-Kinney review, how the mighty have fallen.

kris.
August 16th 2019


15340 Comments


wait team dresch are still together?? that's wild

SandwichBubble
August 16th 2019


10103 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I thought they were still broken up too, but apparently they've been touring together for a while. Had no damn idea.

No new album as of yet, but this new song is enough to make me really want it.

Itwasthatwas
August 16th 2019


1742 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Correct rating, this album is garbage

Zorg
August 16th 2019


317 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's almost a spiritual successor to One Beat in how political of an album it is, however, like the modern left it misunderstands what they're up against and has zero self-reflection on possibly being part of its creation. The Christine Blasey Ford song Broken is so cringe I was laughing while I listened to it.

SandwichBubble
August 16th 2019


10103 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Didn't say it in the review, but a band like SK known for their stellar closers closing this album with some tepid shit like "Broken" is such a downer.



Please shut up, Zorg.

GhandhiLion
August 16th 2019


5668 Comments


Is this really a Sandbitch 1 or are you just butthurt?

Digging: Run On - Start Packing

kris.
August 16th 2019


15340 Comments


"like the modern left it misunderstands what they're up against and has zero self-reflection on possibly being part of its creation"

lmao

SandwichBubble
August 16th 2019


10103 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

"Is this really a Sandbitch 1 or are you just butthurt?"

Can't it be both? 😊

No really, it's a 1.0 both on principle and in execution. All the planets aligned, cities flooded, that kind of thing.

Zorg
August 16th 2019


317 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"Please shut up, Zorg."



Your review doesn't address how political of an album this is, and how that factors into it as a whole. Don't you think that's a pretty big oversight? And yes, Broken, a maudlin ballad for Christine Blasey Ford, is fucking cringe.



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