I think part of the problem when I start blogs like this is I suddenly feel overburdened to explain everything–to write essays, rather than simply catalog reactions, which is what I actually want to do. I don’t know that one can have a critical voice without a certain amount of immediacy, at least I don’t know that I can, and I need to shake the academia off a bit.
So in that spirit, I listened to the new Shins album this evening while I was doing my dishes and really dug it. A lot of it resonated with the part of me that’s conscious of my own aging. It felt sensitive without being overwrought, which seems like a harder and harder line to walk. And musically I liked that it never quite went where I expected it to.
Particular standouts are “Mildenhall,” which has this kind of rambling mix of Americana and Englishness, the sleek new-wavy “Half a Million” (see: what if Weezer hadn’t just kind of given up), “Painting a Hole” because I’m a fat sucker for psychedelia, and the title track, which is exactly what it should be.