1. Fucked Up - David Comes to Life
Surprise of the century, I know. What can I say? This album challenged me from the first time I spun the promo copy I got at the Quietus back in May and continues to do so seven months later. At this point, it might be not only my favorite album of 2011 but my favorite album ever. There are many reasons for that, but I'll try to outline them quickly.
First of all, and probably most importantly, it makes me feel like I did when I was 12 and first getting into music beyond pop radio. I can't tell you how many times I've scrawled the Fucked Up logo or sketched the dual lightbulb art in my notebook this year, and I'm a goddamn 21-year-old college student. I've watched every video, read every review, interviewed the band, been to two shows, read the lyrics booklet while listening to the album, and basically done everything I can do to get inside this album, and I feel like there's still
some great truth that hasn't revealed itself yet. I'm enthusiastic and optimistic and bright-eyed about music in a way that I haven't been since junior high school, and it's thanks to this record.
Second, for as much exists below the surface, at the surface
it's fucking amazing. Every song is a rocker, filled to the brim with accessible riffs and vocal hooks and a fat, groovy rhythm section. It's also abrasive. Damian Abraham's bark is in top form here. On past Fucked Up records, I don't think he knew exactly how to employ his limited range, but here, every single take is perfect. There's absolutely no way to improve any of it. All of that exists before you even seriously delve into what else the album has to offer, which brings us to our next point.
It's a concept record, and the concept is actually interesting. It's simultaneously an easy-to-understand love story that drifts through tragedy but eventually resolves. Again, there's more to dig through. It's also a meta story about characters who become conscious that they're characters, cast on a stage night after night, sticking to their script, unable to change their fates. When our lead character finally does, of course, it grants the album title so much more power.
Lastly, what this album represents
is as exciting as what it actually contains. In a genre as bent on a fuck-the-system mindset as hardcore punk, making hardcore punk the system and fucking that is the most subversive act of all. This is a 78-minute rock opera with giant melodies that still fits into the punk camp. Suck on that, Johnny Rotten.
I've said this all very poorly because I did it in about five minutes and I've written far too much about this album elsewhere throughout the year, but for my money, Damian Abraham, Sandy Miranda, Jonah Falco, Mike Haliechuk, Josh Zucker, Ben Cook, David Eliade, Veronica Boisson, Vivian Benson, and Octavio St. Laurent are responsible for the greatest work of recorded music certainly of the year, probably of the decade, and possibly of all time.
"The Other Shoe"