This is going to be my favorite album of the year. I’m not even slightly kidding, for I can’t imagine liking an album more that this one in the next five months. Maybe if Strokes IV dropped I would change my mind, but other than that, nothing would sway me from my previous statement. Champ is by far the most innovative and excellent piece of music created in 2010, and anyone who says different should be forced to listen to it ten times in a row at the very least.
I know there’s already been a bunch of great albums this year, but none of them have spoken to me like this one. It’s awash in childhood memories, tales of a forever youth that slowly grows into awkward adulthood, when childhood grows dim and all those memories start to fade away. At 22, that’s pretty much exactly where I am in life, with the real world looming and my sense of self being forced to adapt to not only my times, but the times of my friends as well. I am growing up, and Tokyo Police Club are giving me the solace of a few more minutes in the past every time I listen to this…
Some things that make this album stand out:
TPC have never written songs this long, and I was hesitant about how to take the longer track lengths. Suffice to say, they pulled it off. Every song has a hook, or better yet, a statement in music or lyric that makes it just as enjoyable with repeat listens.
The guitar work itself. Wow, how do you do that? As a guitarist, I can’t figure out how half of this album was even played. The leads are melodic as hell, even when they aren’t matching the vocal melody. The use of reverb and delay is gorgeous and used to a perfect degree.
Dave Monk’s voice. Nobody on earth sounds like him, and he uses that as a tool. His voice portrays an innocence uncommon in singers, but on Champ he doesn’t try to win you over. He just sings, and that does the trick more so than on previous efforts. He also stretches his range, which works wonders as well.
That all being said, I don’t want to do this, but here’s a track by track review that my inner self wants to convey:
Favourite Food – A simple acoustic song that grows into the what the rest of the album will sound like and deal with. Talking about getting older doesn’t usually feel this pleasant, but the melancholy tone stays throughout the track. Sadness leads to excitement by the latter half, changing the meaning of everything that came before and sounding incredible all the way to the end. Get ready for the future…
Favourite Coulour – You’re older but still younger than most. You’re in love and the only thing you want to know is more about the one person you’re infatuated it. What’s your favourite colour? How’s your family? Me? Who cares about me, I want to know about you. (The chorus is in your face and totally grabs the feel of the song, putting the emphasis on the wonder and infatuation. Do I sound too technical? Sorry…)
Breakneck Speed – This song sounds like a recounting of days gone by, being a teen and just generally fucking around. The fun ended, the big bad years are gone and you grow up. But still, it’s good to go back to your home, even if you don’t relate to the people you grew up with anymore. The slow pace is perfect for this song, as the guitar work is interesting enough to carry it completely. Let;s not forget about the epic Pixies “Where Is My Mind?” vibe in the lead, too…
Wait Up (Boots of Danger) – After reading some other thoughts, I would agree that this seems to be about a parent trying to relate to their child. It doesn’t matter though, because this is the catchiest song on the album and the obvious single. It sounds like more of the earlier TPC, and would fit in with their first album, Elephant Shell, quite nicely. The drumbeat is ridiculously awesome, and really makes the song stand out, even for an LP this good and solid.
Bambi – This is the biggest grower on the album. I didn’t realize just how good it was at first. It’s the biggest blend of keyboard and guitar on the record, making it hard to tell the two apart. It’s a song about who knows what, maybe addiction, probably growing up, but it doesn’t matter. The lyrics are oddly beautiful and take on a different meaning for everyone.
End of a Spark – This is slowly becoming my favorite song. Once again, it’s about growing up and making your own place in the world, with childhood slowly running out from under you. Everything is what you make it, but don’t think that wasting it isn’t an art in itself if you do it right. The sentiment match the strength of Monk’s lowest notes, which are pretty damn low…
Hands Reversed – I think this song might be about how fragile the distinction between work and play are. If you get too caught up in your work, you can forget about enjoying yourself n the long run. You might be the first to get there, but you might not know what’s truly important. Your Wheaties aren’t as good for you as you think they are, and neither is your career and money, for it leaves you missing out on life. Is your money worth the time you’re giving up for it?
Gone – This song is pretty specific, at least lyrically. It seems to be about not knowing what to do with yourself or the people you’re involved with, and as a result just needing to get away and do your own thing for a little while. Choices are hard to make when you don’t know what to pick, especially when they effect the rest of your life (duh.)…
Big Difference – The meaning here is probably the most hidden of all the tracks. I think it might be about not being as close to somebody as you think you are, but I could be wrong. I don’t care though, for the song is also the most driving and intense on the album, and it’s abrupt ending works wonders.
Not Sick – This just sounds like a song for a friend. Nothing more and nothing less. Carolina must be happy, I’d say… (super catchy chorus, by the way!)
Frankenstein – The last song and the most epic. The song presents the question of if it really is good to be back, to relive your childhood life in some small way. Your gold star might turn black, but you still get a perfect score, and thankfully, a perfect album as well.
There, I did it! That took a while, but I’m much happier to have something to look back on than not. I think Tokyo Police Club are as well. Enjoy the song and thanks for reading!
Of course you should go buy this album from their myspaces…