It's hard to make an anthemic punk record about the shared anxiety and frustration of this moment. Young urban 20-somethings (h-words) in 2010 have no Springsteen, yet we have exponentially more stimuli to be pissed off about than any generation before us. How do you properly sum up the dread and confusion of being a disconnected young person in the most connected moment in history? What do you do if you feel alienated, even with ALL of the ways we have made ourselves the most socially connected humans ever? How do you feel disaffected when you're more embraced by the powers that be than ever before? Also, what the fuck is going on?!?
Much has been made recently of this record's raucous chants, Civil War themes, Springsteen references and sea shanty-inspired singalongs. And there have been bands that have done it very recently, as well (Fucked Up could have done it better but didn't). But this record, which is a quasi-concept album about a 20-something transplant in Boston from New Jersey, is a snapshot of a very real, very authentic angst that, unlike that of Springsteen or punk, has a completely amorphous adversary. "The enemy is everywhere," is one of the most visceral hooks. The opposition forces are so vast, so bewildering, that it's just too hard to wrap it up elegantly. There's just too much information, too many flashing lights, too many people to compare yourself to (on facebook, on reality TV), too many disparate and constantly changing cultural movements to keep up with, that sometimes the only way to break through it is to just strum the shit out of your guitar and scream something very old and very familiar at the top of your lungs. This feels like the underside of all the whimsical, detached reconnection to American cultural roots that we see in everything from fashion to tumblr-blogs that glorify anything khaki or wooden; it feels like a real working American man's despair in 2010, filled with nostalgia for stuff he doesn't know and smothered by more stimuli and "art" and relationships than any man should have to filter in one lifetime.
Also, another testament to the healing power of alcohol.
Titus Andronicus, "Four Score And Seven" by gardnerz