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PO - The Menzingers - Hello Exile (Oct. 4)

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5.8 from Pitchfork. I like the album but this is not an unfair review IMO

 

https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/the-menzingers-hello-exile/

 

The Menzingers write about basically one thing, though contrary to this tweet, it’s not the waitress outside the all-night diner. The seven-year span from their second LP Chamberlain Waits to 2017’s After the Party is a longitudinal study of men in their 20s struggling to process the passage of time, drinking away the tragicomic pain of reliving the good ol’ days that never happened. Imagine “Glory Days” if it was just the third verse, the high-school jocks and heartbreakers replaced by guys in dumpy vans and stalled relationships wishing they committed themselves to something more substantial—or as “House on Fire” put it, “waiting for your life to start, then you die.” After the Party occasionally gave the impression that the Menzingers recognized this form of nostalgia as an artistic dead end, posing “Where we gonna go now that our 20s are over?” as an existential crisis. Instead, Hello Exile reframes it as a question with a single, obvious answer: They’re gonna go right back to making Menzingers songs about getting older.

 

“How do I steer my early 30s/Before I shipwreck, before I’m 40,” Greg Barnett announces at the outset, and despite the parallels to the aforementioned line from After the Party opener “Tellin’ Lies,” the intention is different—there’s an unexpected optimism amidst the pervasive societal turmoil of “America (You’re Freaking Me Out),” a willingness to see a wasted 20s as a dry run for responsible adulthood instead of a sunk cost or an endlessly renewable resource for self-loathing. Like most bands in their position, Menzingers commit to living in the moment by proclaiming “we do politics now.” While the title of “Strawberry Mansion” would usually promise yet another hardscrabble account of drinking Keystone Light in the Keystone State, this time, the Menzingers describe the impending environmental apocalypse in the same language as “Born to Run” (“Set a course for the sun/To bittersweet oblivion”).

 

And while none of Barnett’s insights on “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” are remotely original—“What kind of monsters did our parents vote for?”; “Cranks for Christians in powerful positions/I’ve always felt like all their pomp and circumstance is just cover for the devil to dance”; “Can’t you recognize truth from clever lies?”— they paint a sympathetic and empathetic portrait. Menzingers’ narrators aren’t radicals, and neither are the Menzingers; their musical progressions are incremental and headed towards predictable outcomes. The slower songs are a little bit more country, the more uptempo ones a bit more rootsy, and all of it is bolstered by typically brawny Will Yip production that cuts through the chatter of any barroom or basement.

 

Since they perfected their craft with On the Impossible Past, the boundary between Menzingers songs and parodic “Menzingers songs” has all but disappeared, undermining their heartfelt honesty with bingo cards of burly, sensitive-rock-guy tropes seen through Pabst-colored lenses. “I was getting fucked up with a high school friend/Wondering where all the good times went”; “I know what you’re thinking but I can’t stop drinking”; those used to be the subtexts of Menzingers songs, but now they’re choruses on songs literally called “High School Friend” and “I Can’t Stop Drinking.” The plot to “Anna” is quintessential “Menzingers”—a guy starts to realize his girlfriend’s outgrowing him (“It’s like our studio apartment is just a place to keep your stuff”) and can’t summon the confidence to make up the ground between them. Instead, he begs her “please come back to Philadelphia” so they can relive their first days living together, dancing in the kitchen and “drinking cheap red wine.”

 

As it is in many Menzingers songs (scare quotes or otherwise), “cheap” is an important qualifier, one that cuts against Anna’s job promotion and newfound upward mobility. While people might not ever face abject poverty in a Menzingers song, they’re always one squandered paycheck or shitty tour away from couch-surfing for the next year. But throughout Hello Exile, “cheap” ends up exposing a poverty of new ideas: Barnett wants to rekindle a relationship on “Portland” with “cheap Champagne and roses”; he swears this “cheap motel” is temporary on “Strain Your Memory,” even though you’ll find him plastered off “cheap beer” in “I Can’t Stop Drinking,” and when everyone comes together in a “Farewell Youth,” they’re “drinking the cheap stuff.” “Farewell youth, I hardly got to know you,” Barnett sings, but even though they get older, “Menzingers songs” remain the same.

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2 hours ago, jerseypride said:

5.8 from Pitchfork. I like the album but this is not an unfair review IMO

 

https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/the-menzingers-hello-exile/

 

The Menzingers write about basically one thing, though contrary to this tweet, it’s not the waitress outside the all-night diner. The seven-year span from their second LP Chamberlain Waits to 2017’s After the Party is a longitudinal study of men in their 20s struggling to process the passage of time, drinking away the tragicomic pain of reliving the good ol’ days that never happened. Imagine “Glory Days” if it was just the third verse, the high-school jocks and heartbreakers replaced by guys in dumpy vans and stalled relationships wishing they committed themselves to something more substantial—or as “House on Fire” put it, “waiting for your life to start, then you die.” After the Party occasionally gave the impression that the Menzingers recognized this form of nostalgia as an artistic dead end, posing “Where we gonna go now that our 20s are over?” as an existential crisis. Instead, Hello Exile reframes it as a question with a single, obvious answer: They’re gonna go right back to making Menzingers songs about getting older.

 

“How do I steer my early 30s/Before I shipwreck, before I’m 40,” Greg Barnett announces at the outset, and despite the parallels to the aforementioned line from After the Party opener “Tellin’ Lies,” the intention is different—there’s an unexpected optimism amidst the pervasive societal turmoil of “America (You’re Freaking Me Out),” a willingness to see a wasted 20s as a dry run for responsible adulthood instead of a sunk cost or an endlessly renewable resource for self-loathing. Like most bands in their position, Menzingers commit to living in the moment by proclaiming “we do politics now.” While the title of “Strawberry Mansion” would usually promise yet another hardscrabble account of drinking Keystone Light in the Keystone State, this time, the Menzingers describe the impending environmental apocalypse in the same language as “Born to Run” (“Set a course for the sun/To bittersweet oblivion”).

 

And while none of Barnett’s insights on “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” are remotely original—“What kind of monsters did our parents vote for?”; “Cranks for Christians in powerful positions/I’ve always felt like all their pomp and circumstance is just cover for the devil to dance”; “Can’t you recognize truth from clever lies?”— they paint a sympathetic and empathetic portrait. Menzingers’ narrators aren’t radicals, and neither are the Menzingers; their musical progressions are incremental and headed towards predictable outcomes. The slower songs are a little bit more country, the more uptempo ones a bit more rootsy, and all of it is bolstered by typically brawny Will Yip production that cuts through the chatter of any barroom or basement.

 

Since they perfected their craft with On the Impossible Past, the boundary between Menzingers songs and parodic “Menzingers songs” has all but disappeared, undermining their heartfelt honesty with bingo cards of burly, sensitive-rock-guy tropes seen through Pabst-colored lenses. “I was getting fucked up with a high school friend/Wondering where all the good times went”; “I know what you’re thinking but I can’t stop drinking”; those used to be the subtexts of Menzingers songs, but now they’re choruses on songs literally called “High School Friend” and “I Can’t Stop Drinking.” The plot to “Anna” is quintessential “Menzingers”—a guy starts to realize his girlfriend’s outgrowing him (“It’s like our studio apartment is just a place to keep your stuff”) and can’t summon the confidence to make up the ground between them. Instead, he begs her “please come back to Philadelphia” so they can relive their first days living together, dancing in the kitchen and “drinking cheap red wine.”

 

As it is in many Menzingers songs (scare quotes or otherwise), “cheap” is an important qualifier, one that cuts against Anna’s job promotion and newfound upward mobility. While people might not ever face abject poverty in a Menzingers song, they’re always one squandered paycheck or shitty tour away from couch-surfing for the next year. But throughout Hello Exile, “cheap” ends up exposing a poverty of new ideas: Barnett wants to rekindle a relationship on “Portland” with “cheap Champagne and roses”; he swears this “cheap motel” is temporary on “Strain Your Memory,” even though you’ll find him plastered off “cheap beer” in “I Can’t Stop Drinking,” and when everyone comes together in a “Farewell Youth,” they’re “drinking the cheap stuff.” “Farewell youth, I hardly got to know you,” Barnett sings, but even though they get older, “Menzingers songs” remain the same.

The review is a longer version of my earlier comment. Wait until they hit 50. They're really going to lose their shit. I love getting older. It means I'm still breathing.

On 10/9/2019 at 9:14 PM, lexicondevil said:

This isn't bad. It seems like they keep getting mellower and mellower. They also seem to be obsessed with their aging.

 

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"Like most bands in their position, Menzingers commit to living in the moment by proclaiming “we do politics now.”" 

 

The guys in Cursive are nearly twice their age and dedicating entire albums to that crap now lol. Nothing us minorities enjoy more than hearing white dudes from mostly white states who've only lived in mostly white metropolitan areas write songs about how hard it is to be a brown person lol.

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2 hours ago, Shitty Rambo said:

"Like most bands in their position, Menzingers commit to living in the moment by proclaiming “we do politics now.”" 

 

The guys in Cursive are nearly twice their age and dedicating entire albums to that crap now lol. Nothing us minorities enjoy more than hearing white dudes from mostly white states who've only lived in mostly white metropolitan areas write songs about how hard it is to be a brown person lol.

This lyric has always confused me. I'm not really sure what they are saying, but when I hear it, it triggers me a bit. I will bring it up if I ever meet them.

I was born on a light-skinned road,
I was born with an engineer’s gold,
I did better than most.

Now I live on a dark-skinned road,
The collectors call they try to take my gold,
I’m happier than most.

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3 hours ago, lexicondevil said:

This lyric has always confused me. I'm not really sure what they are saying, but when I hear it, it triggers me a bit. I will bring it up if I ever meet them.

I was born on a light-skinned road,
I was born with an engineer’s gold,
I did better than most.

Now I live on a dark-skinned road,
The collectors call they try to take my gold,
I’m happier than most.

In 2008, Tom May and the rest of the Menzingers moved into a house in South Philadelphia from their hometown of Scranton, PA. While Scranton is 84% white, Philadelphia is a majority African-American city. The change from a homogeneously white town to a diverse metropolis quickly had May faced with his privileges

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Hey Rambo. We get it, white people aren’t allowed to write songs about not white people, and Cursive are a horrible band with horrible lyrics about horrible things they have NO RIGHT TO SING ABOUT. Fucking white devils, they are. How many threads ya gotta talk the same shit in?
 

Maybe... just don’t buy the new Menzingers or Cursive records if they trigger you so much.

 

But I guess playing “super woke sjw lyrical topic gatekeeper” online is a better look. Is Frank Turner a misogynistic pig for making an album about women? Go write an article about it for The Independent instead of repeating the same dreck here over and over.

Edited by holyvacantsholyhell

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2 hours ago, holyvacantsholyhell said:

Hey Rambo. We get it, white people aren’t allowed to write songs about not white people, and Cursive are a horrible band with horrible lyrics about horrible things they have NO RIGHT TO SING ABOUT. Fucking white devils, they are. How many threads ya gotta talk the same shit in?
 

Maybe... just don’t buy the new Menzingers or Cursive records if they trigger you so much.

 

But I guess playing “super woke sjw lyrical topic gatekeeper” online is a better look. Is Frank Turner a misogynistic pig for making an album about women? Go write an article about it for The Independent instead of repeating the same dreck here over and over.

art is hard

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57 minutes ago, jerseypride said:

Triggers you? Curious to know what you mean by this.

Mostly the "Now I live on a a dark-skinned road". What does he mean by that? I've always lived on that road, I guess, and it wasn't a choice. It's a strange line and if he and I were chilling having beers, I'd like to have a meaningful discussion about it. Not a big deal. When you grow up non-white you notice things that others may not. Sometimes it means something and sometimes it doesn't. I'm not trying to say they're some sort of racist band. Still dig them.

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17 hours ago, Shitty Rambo said:

"Like most bands in their position, Menzingers commit to living in the moment by proclaiming “we do politics now.”" 

 

The guys in Cursive are nearly twice their age and dedicating entire albums to that crap now lol. Nothing us minorities enjoy more than hearing white dudes from mostly white states who've only lived in mostly white metropolitan areas write songs about how hard it is to be a brown person lol.

What are you talking about? Tim literally calls himself out on the 2nd song on the new Cursive record:

 

"I was a middle class kid from the middle west
I was the quintessential, sheltered innocent
I didn’t know what segregation meant —
I didn’t have to know — the world I knew
Was white as snow
And so I look back now at these severed towns
All the hate they spread, simply not spreading out
Fuck this denial, fuck their ignorant bliss"

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