About a week or two before the album dropped on January 24, 2012, NPR began streaming Nada Surf‘s new album, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy, in its entirety. I listened to the album about six times straight through, two times a day, on my way to and from work.
Without fail, every Nada Surf release reminds me of adolescence and how, regardless of the stress and disappointment, there’s always something to be optimistic about. This reminiscence isn’t due to the lyrics, rather it is due to the sloppy arrangement of instruments which the lyrics combine with. Nada Surf reminds me of a teenage garage band breaking in to the scene. Which also means that the band has yet to lose their passion for music. It’s as if my friends and I were back in my parents’ garage or in a friend’s bedroom with amplifiers plugged into wall outlets and input cords snaking the floor.
If you ask someone today if they remember the song “Popular,” I’m willing to bet you’ll be seeing a blank face. Why not? The song is almost a decade and a half old and was obviously influenced by the pop, punk, and grunge of the late 1980s and 1990s. However, there continues to be a hint of this in every succeeding album released by Nada Surf.
It’s not that Nada Surf can’t compose clean and crisp arrangements; The Weight Is a Gift, proves they can. Sometimes, it’s seems that Nada Surf is just trying to force everyone to relax and just have fun. Nada Surf seems to ask its listeners with this most recent album to throw away the elitism and need for poetic turns of phrase or words requiring a dictionary, only to find they’re archaic, and just enjoy the sound, the music, your life. Have fun.
The band members may be in their 40s and front-man Matthew Caws may not recognize the world he’s living in, but I think he’s connecting with a giant mass of fans who believe or dreamed of an amazing adult life while in their teenage-dom only to find that after growing up they are wondering “what was that world I was dreaming of.” A large portion of that crowd also relates to weighing the benefits of sleeping or being awake.
Ultimately, the album is not as great as I was hoping it would be. It’s a strong effort and a decent album with solid tracks, however, I do not feel that it compares to the previous records that comprise the band’s discography. Generally, I like to listen to an album longer and in different positions, different surroundings before forming my opinion about them. Unfortunately, NPR removed the stream and I have not purchased the album. I like to examine the album and take it apart.
As I previously stated, consistency isn’t always a bad thing. Nada Surf’s “Waiting for Something” sounds, at times, like the vocals in Maritime‘s “Someone Has To Die” as well as number of other artists. If I do end up getting this album this year, maybe I’ll spend more time on this. Nada Surf’s “When I Was Young” seems, in some ways as a slightly more depressed follow up to “Amateur. Though after listening to it six times, I no longer think that “When I Was Young” is a follow up to “Amateur,” though I do see similarities. The album also resembles bands like Aster, Superdrag, Rogue Wave, The Long Winters, as well as a few others.
In case you don’t remember or haven’t seen it…
And, as for the new album…
- Nada Surf – “Waiting For Something” (MP3 download) (boingboing.net)
- Nada Surf: When I Was Young (video) (somuchsilence.com)
- Nada Surf – “When I Was Young” Video + Fallon Performance (stereogum.com)
- Nada Surf (seattleweekly.com)
- Nada Surf – “Waiting For Something” (stereogum.com)
- Music in 2012 – Resolution 1 (syntheticaposteriori.wordpress.com)
- New Nada Surf: When I Was Young (somuchsilence.com)
- Nada Surf: Life After The One-Hit Wonder (entertainment.time.com)
- RE: Paste Magazine, 25 Albums…in 2012 (syntheticaposteriori.wordpress.com)
- Video: Nada Surf – “When I Was Young” (thewoundedjukebox.com)