Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life Review

I’m really trying to get into the habit of doing this every day. It’s a process of course, but I think one of the problems that I keep running into is that I run into albums like Near to the Wild Heart of Life–albums which for better or worse–I don’t feel like I have much interesting to say about them. Japandroids are for all intents and purposes a good band. At least that’s what I’ve heard from a pretty large amount of people. And I mean I can hear why, they are pretty good at making bog-standard rock music. It’s just that it’s not very interesting.

Don’t get the wrong impression I’m not saying that they’re bad artists, there are some genuinely great moments on this album. “North East South West” is great! It has this very R.E.M.-esque guitar intro, and the chorus is anthemic as fuck and leads into a tempo change for the finale that is legitimately intense. All over the place on this album there are great pop melodies that are aesthetically pleasing, but the whole thing is superficial, like something my dad would listen to. The Apple Music editor’s blurb says something like “their springsteenian indie rock approaches the stadium-sized grandeur of bands like Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam”, and that explains exactly why this music doesn’t vibe with me. I actively loathe all three artists they’re compared to there.

That raises the question of why I’m even bothering writing about this album. I find it bland as all hell, and even if I didn’t, this is the exact opposite of what I actually enjoy listening to. The problem comes from the fact that I saw that this album was on so many people’s anticipated albums list, so I decided that I should review it for this fledgling blog. But that was probably a dumb decision.

I am instead going to use this album as a springboard to say that from now on, obviously barring Near to the Wild Heart of Life, I’m going to stick to music that I actually have something interesting to say about it, or music that has something interesting to say to me. Unfortunately neither apply here.

I mean check this album out if you’re into generic indie rock. But if that’s what you’re into, you’re probably on the wrong website.


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