Parquet Courts’ new album, Wide Awake! has restored my faith in the rock during this rather slow 2018 for non hip-hop music. Simply put it, they are making punk-rock cool again. Released back on May 18, this groovy, original project just keeps on pleasing me more and more after every listen, and has everything an alternative music lover could want in an album. Looking back, I’m so very thankful for how Wide Awake! turned out, as the singles leading up to the release were on two different planets; “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience” was the classic Parquet Courts people have grown to appreciate, while “Wide Awake” was a little too poppy and mainstream in a bad way. I was scared they had taken a turn for the worse and were going to over commercialize their sound, but they stayed true to themselves, which is always the best course of action for musicians to truly prosper. The production on this album is somehow straightforward yet all over the place, thanks to a little help from Danger Mouse, the man famous for The Grey Album, an album where he took vocals from Jay-Z’s The Black Album and mushed it together with the instrumentals from The Beatles’ The White Album (Formally named The Beatles.) As you listen to each track for the first time individually you may find them bland, but as a unit this album is cohesive and authentically entertaining. You can tell they are still having as much fun recording music now as they probably did when they first formed. It is just so unique, so Parquet Courts. The tracks feature moments of gooberish horseplay yet also contain some pretty globally aware lyricism that is really impressive for a band that doesn’t seem, on the outside, to be very serious; the project is jam packed with memorable quotes that are both humorous and thought-provoking. It’s funny too; I still can remember listening to the band for the first time back when they released Human Performance, and I recall thinking of them as a band that was on the brink of something great, but not quite there yet. There was no doubt in my mind then that they would ascend in their musical creations and, although the Daniele Luppi-collaborated Milano wasn’t necessarily a disappointment or close to bad, Wide Awake! proved me right. In my humble and probably biased opinion, this bad boy might just be the best thing to be unleashed in 2018 as of yet for us alt-rock fans to feast on.
Hits- “Freebird II” “Before the Water Gets Too High” “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience” “Tenderness” “Normalization” “Total Football” “Normalization”
Misses- “Wide Awake” (Ironically)
By: Daniel Lopez