Wide Awake! - Parquet Courts
Wide Awake!- Parquet Courts
Hailing from the indie scene mecca of Brooklyn, Parquet Courts released its seventh studio album, Wide Awake!. Parquet Courts collaborated with Grammy-winning producer Danger Mouse to create its most diverse and audacious record to date. The influences of 80s punk, political outrage and hipster angst can be heard from shouted voice by vocalists A. Savage and Austin Brown, as their brash opinions flow from track to track.
The introduction to this bombastic piece of art begins with the track “Total Football.” As for introductions, Parquet Courts set the tone of the album like a hockey fight before the official puck drop. With saliva-spewing from vociferous complaints about the state of American society, the lyrics “only through those who stay awake can an institution be dismantled. It is dishonest, nay, a sin to stand for any anthem that attempts to drown out the roar of oppression” are ever-so-fitting in the music industry today. However, this track is riddled with rebellious thought, as a call to action for those who have not acknowledged the oppression in America. Like a Rage Against The Machine track, the closing line is “collectivism and autonomy are not mutually exclusive. Those who find discomfort in your goals of liberation will be issued no apology.” The raw, political philosophy of being collectivist and autonomous displays more emotion than the common, oft-repeated, fuck the government type of song. Parquet Courts also placed a fresh, juicy, bright red cherry atop their noticeably Republican-hating sundae by adding a “fuck Tom Brady!” before the song closes. Total football is a football (soccer) strategy that requires all position players, besides goalie, to be interchangeable by position. So, the lines “swapping parts and roles is not acting but rather emancipation from expectation” and “power resembled, if we are assembled” give to the overall message and theme of the song. It just so happens that Tom Brady is Republican, and arguably the most hated American football player, making him an outlier for this uncalled for, but cheeky call-out.
The third track, “Before the Water Gets Too High,” is a defeated, hopeless song about America’s indifferences relating to societal issues. The metaphorical water simulates such problems, as the potential breaking point is expressed by the rich. With monotone questioning throughout, and lyrics aside, this song is awfully peaceful, as the harmonious singing from multiple band members formulate the coda. The lyrics can be left to interpretation, but this song is consistent with context, and strays with sound. A nice palette cleanse before the heavy-hitters.
Buckle up. The two-parter, “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience,” is a swift, stuttering, punk-inspired jam. The strong presence of rolling snare, questionable reiteration, and vehement yelling create the first single from the album. The two tracks are absolutely different, but both contain an identical mood. “Almost Had To Start A Fight” is a panicky, punk rock song with constant contemplation of the two paths of fight or flight. Either our protagonist can fight the power! or flee, accepting defeat. As the song transitions, “In and Out of Patience,” our confused protagonist exclaims that they have, well...run out of patience. Again, following the motif of revolt, this track literally and figuratively display the downward trends of the American society. Speaking of patience, the lyrics “most of mine’s been taken. Is there a finite amount? Had a little left (but I gave it to you). Now someone’s at my door (and he needs some, too). Lighting up my phone (darkeing my mood). And all I got left is this shit attitude. At least music’s still playing in my head. If it stops I’m, if it stops I’m, and if it stops I’m having an unshakeable nightmare ” tell a tale of everyday life. As a collective, our patience is constantly tested, due to the rat race we’ve placed ourselves in, and the only haven is the music that ever-so-conveniently causes this social buffer to eliminate day-to-day interaction. One that is and will continue to be socially debilitating. Crippling to the point of frantic, social idleness, as it becomes a nightmare, per se, to actually speak to someone when the music stops. Each song is its own, and can be left to interpretation, but this track astutely conveys the issues of mental and social illness.
“Wide Awake,” the title track, is easily the band’s most commercial release to date. Winning over the likes of Ellen Degeneres and Anthony Fantano, “Wide Awake” is a funk-pop jam with cowbell, a twangy baseline and catchy lyrics, all of which are the general makeup of a hit indie-pop song. If not right now, within the coming weeks “Wide Awake” will be heard on commercials and in advertisements. Please don’t kill this song for me, radio.
Wide Awake! vaulted Parquet Courts into commercial success for the first time in the band’s career. Whether Danger Mouse is to credit for that, or this has been the record Parquet Courts has been waiting to release, either way, this could land both parties a Grammy nomination. With praise from critics and a monumental step closer to stardom, Parquet Courts delivered the most influential, and artistically mature record in its repertoire.