Blue Weekend from Wolf Alice is the best album in years

posted by Jeff | Friday, July 2, 2021, 5:00 PM | comments: 0

If you stalk me on social media, then you know that I am absolutely obsessed with what I consider one of the best albums in years. I bought the previous two Wolf Alice albums, My Love Is Cool and Visions of a Life, and they were both pretty strong, if a little inconsistent. I've always loved "Sadboy" from the latter as one of those fantastic songs that builds up, chills out in the bridge, and then shreds.

Blue Weekend is extraordinary in part because this is a bona fide, long-form album. I don't know if they meant for it to be listened to for 40 minutes straight, but it deserves and demands it. There are no throw-away songs at all. Every one is good, and they range from piano ballads to face-melting screamers. Prior to the album release, they put out "Smile" and "The Last Man On Earth," and I thought, "Wow, these are both amazing, I hope they can deliver on the rest."

Spoiler alert: They totally nailed it.

If I had to label Wolf Alice, I'd call them indie or alt rock or something like that. They're fairly guitar driven, but these are real compositions, with rich texture from all the parts and beautiful production that doesn't bury singer Ellie Rowsell's voice. And like I said, she's equally comfortable behind the piano as she is screaming at you. She captures what I like about other female-led rock bands (Garbage, Metric, Yeah Yeah Yeah's), her feminine voice contrasts wonderfully against a wall of sound. Where they leveled up though is that this set of songs has an amazing flow, and I find it hard to not finish the album. It's so good.

About the songs:

  • The Beach - A perfect intro song. Not sure what the context is, but it feels like questioning the value of your relationships.
  • Delicious Things - The classic girl-goes-to-Hollywood story. Naive, ambitious, possibly self-destructive, but it sounds hopeful.
  • Lipstick on the Glass - Expert production and beautiful layers here. I think it's about people who are bat habits, but regardless, beautiful song.
  • Smile - The self-worth confidence song we all need. Girl power. "And you don't like me well that isn't fucking relevant."
  • Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love) - Bring on the harmonies, it almost has a Queen feel to it. Title is pretty obvious.
  • How Can I Make It Ok? - Paired with the cute video of a guy connecting with an older guy in a karaoke performance (I think), this is a nice pop song.
  • Play the Greatest Hits - It's short, fast, and declares, "It isn't loud enough!" This is the screamer, and it's glorious.
  • Feeling Myself - Exactly what it sounds like it's about. Sweeping vocals and layers that maybe sounds like it sounds when you "get there." This is one of my favorites.
  • The Last Man On Earth - This is such a beautiful song, maybe the best on the album. Starts out pretty basic with the piano, builds from there with all of the skills. I'm not sure what it means, because it could be about someone alone because of their narcissism, or just unhappy because of the forces at play, but I feel empathetic to the subject. It could be me.
  • No Hard Feelings - I used to say that Dido had the best breakup songs, but this one is right up there. As someone who can count epic love stories prior to my marriage, I feel this one. More stripped down, slightly more electronic sounding than the rest of the album.
  • The Beach II - If it relates to the first song, then they're both about rough friendships that are ultimately reconciled. A great cap to the album.

I challenge you, as a rock music fan, to not like this album. It's so good. I haven't felt like this about any album in years. Probably the last two in this category are The Naked And Famous' 2013 album In Rolling Waves and Grouplove's Spreading Rumors from the same year. This one is just so good.


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