Music Track By Track Reviews

The Walkmen – You & Me (a track by track review)

It is time for my track by track review of the much anticipated new record from Brooklyn’s “The Walkmen”.

  1. Donde Esta la Playa – 8.0 (A solid opener that is heavy on the floor toms and has a great verse riff. The song only really gets bogged down a little in the chorus, where it is caught a little in limbo while it ponders rocking out or slowing down)
  2. Flamingos (For Colbert) – 6.5 (At 1:11 in length, I don’t quite understand why this unfinished guitar riff is on the album. It doesn’t really tie anything together nor separate anything. It is just there.)
  3. On The Water – 8.5 (Riding on the strength of singer Hamilton Leithauser’s distant yelps (1:15 & 1:40) the riff has an abrasive tension throughout which makes it so great. You wait for the band to explode, but what makes the song great is they never make it that far, just tiptoeing on the edge.)
  4. In The New Year – 10.0 (This is a perfect song. Infusing soul music into the classic Walkmen sound (guitars drenched in reverb and thumping drums). When Hamilton sings “And my heart’s in the strangest place” you can’t help but be filled with sorrow/confusion/longing. Such and amazing song.)
  5. Seven Years of Holidays (for Stretch) – 7.0 (A little too cookie cutter/white bread for my tastes. Not really good or bad, but more in the “b-sides” range than an album quality song. If you listened to their last album “A Hundred Miles Off” you heard a lot of this.)
  6. Postcards From Tiny Islands – 7.5 (The drums are very prominent on this whole album and once again carry a song, but the difference is that the bass player is finally heard. At times this song has a drunken-bar-sing-along feel to it, which is the ideal setting for the Walkmen.)
  7. Red Moon – 9.0 (Sounding like a lazy, drunken waltz the band has perfected the slow song. I also love how they don’t over use the horns, which give the song the perfect lonely feeling. Grab a pint and drown in your sorrows.)
  8. Canadian Girl – 8.5 (The song starts with a lullaby/50’s feel but works its way into a very infectious tune. A slow builder that sinks in when the guitar shifts tones and the horns chime in, once again centered around Hamilton’s great/gritty voice.)
  9. Four Provinces – 8.5 (A nice semi-driving song with more great percussion. The breakdowns are a slightly bland but they don’t last too long and don’t detract from the overall force of the song. Hamilton sure loves to yelp!)
  10. Long Time Ahead Of Us – 8.5 (Another dreamy lullaby that can really put you into a trance. Perfect use of the horns again with the perfect amount of tension throughout.)
  11. The Blue Route – 7.0 (Sounding like another song from the “A Hundred Miles Off” era, this track is washed in a little too much noise and never really gets going in an interesting direction. I guess with 14 tracks you might have a few misses.)
  12. New Country – 10.0 (Hands down the best song they have ever written. This one is just Hamilton and a guitar but the great push/pull pacing and soul filled vocal melodies make put it on constant repeat for me. So basic, yet so emotional with the lyrics “threw all my old things away” and several others you really feel him turning the corner on his past as the narrative goes. Makes you feel good when you listen.)
  13. I Lost You – 8.5 (I mostly love this song for the powerful ending and would almost serve as a better closer to the disc. You can imagine the lights coming up as the last notes are played.)
  14. If Only It Were True – 7.5 (Another 50’s vibe tune but this song would be better as a b-side and not at the closer to such a strong album. It doesn’t pull you back to the rest of the album. It just exists on its own.)

Overall Score – 8.2/10 (This record would have a much higher score if it weren’t for the worthless 2nd track)

My weighted score – 8.8/10 (What I think this record is worthy of as it is a contender for top 5 records of the year for me)

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