dose your dreams

Fucked Up

Merge • 2018

Merge • 2018

As a fan of the Canadian punk band Fucked Up, I was excited to hear their latest…until I saw it was eighteen tracks clocking in at 82:15. Their 2011 breakout album David Comes to Life, a 78-minute rock opera, was an endurance test of its own, but one many listeners loved. (Though knowingly in the minority, I prefer the 42-minute Glass Boys.) Could lightning strike twice? In short: No.

Once again, we find ourselves following their character David, but this time on a more existential journey than his previous journey. Reality is questioned; navels are gazed upon. I devoted my time entirely to listening to the album and reading along with the lyrics, but sadly I cannot say I gleaned any deeper meaning. The whole may have actually added up to less than the sum of its parts. Looking at the individual songs, there is a wide variety of instrumentation and singers, but not much in the way of memorable melody or choruses. This isn’t a damning sentiment when you’ve got something else to cling to, but that something is sorely lacking here. Searing lines, like “How can you really give up / When you never tried?” (from “Normal People”) are rare.

I don’t want to snipe or throw low blows at a band I respect, but this album was a joyless slog for me--I was happy when it was over. I can name only one memorable track, “Torch to Light,” which poses a theory on death that is quite striking: “When you die, you get to see all the things you could have been.” I can only wonder what this album could have been with a little more clarity of vision.

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