It’s pretty obvious that I’m getting old and lazy. I used to post immense lists of albums at the end of the year. In fact, in years past on another blog, I posted one review a day in the lead up to New Year’s Day. This year, I’m only posting about one album as my album of the year with brief mention of another album that after weeks of going back and forth about, took second place. Yes, the album of my year is The Walkmen’s Heaven.
This is an album made by dads and for dads, it seems. The band just capped its 10th year of existence and this release is the first to see all of the members as married fathers. There’s a sort of resignation on this album – almost a sense of surrender. While previous releases saw them raging against old lovers and musing about traveling to far-flung destinations, Heaven finds them taking stock of family and themselves ten years into the game.
There’s a portion of fatherhood and married life that they explore in-depth on this record. It’s the portion that realizes and accepts the imperfections of family life and actually embraces them as part of the intrinsic beauty of the institution. Expectations and hopes are dashed by real life but the band celebrates this disappointment with pride in having actually set up the opportunities in the first place. It’s an incredibly complex sentiment to capture in words in a blog post which makes it all the more impressive that The Walkmen managed to do it over two sides of a record. Throw in the fact that the albums sounds like it might have been made in 1950’s Sun Studios and you’ve got a real winner.
If you’re a dad or a mom or anyone with a family give it a spin. If you’re a dad, pour yourself a nice glass of brown liquor and give it a listen after everyone else has gone to bed. You’ll see what I mean.
Honorable Mention: It was a tough to choose between Heaven and Bob Mould’s Silver Age. 20 years after forming Sugar, this album captures Mould at arguably the best of his career. It’s distorted and melodic with lyrics as biting as ever. During the tail end of 2012, this has been the album to start my mornings on the trip to work. By the time I get there I’ve been fully amped.