Music Review - March 2024

by BTM

Tue, 05 March 2024

Music Review - March 2024


Verdict: Iconic punk rockers back close to their best.

What’s the story? 
The band’s 14th album, Saviors was recorded in London, England, and Los Angeles, California. The album constitutes “a look at the way the traditional American Dream doesn’t work for a lot of people” but hurts them instead.

Worth a listen? 
After a few albums in the wilderness, Green Day are truly back by going back to what they know works: heavy, hooky power pop given crunch and weight by Rob Cavallo, the producer who helped beef up their sound 30 years prior on their major-label debut Dookie. Saviors follows the same rough blueprint as its forefather – garagey rockers are countered by exuberant melodies and wistful ballads – but the trio is smart enough to not attempt to mimic either the snottiness or their frenetic rhythms here. Green Day sound exactly like what they are: rock & roll lifers settling into middle age, irritated by some shifts in culture but still finding sustenance in the music they’ve loved for decades. Saviors sounds cleaner, stronger, and purposeful, all due to the still-sharp pop instincts of Bille Joe Armstrong.

USHER: Coming Home
Released to coincide with his show-stopping halftime performance at Super Bowl LVIII, Usher is striving to remain relevant while recognising his status as a legacy act. His first true studio album in eight years, Coming Home is long and pieced together. None of the collaborators, a mix of longtime partners and new associates, is on more than a handful of the 20 tracks. It starts at what sounds like a closing chapter of a love story: hard-fought resolution of romantic perseverance through slick dance-pop. The album hits its stride with a sequence of slow jams demonstrating that Usher is still at the top of his game as a singer. 

The Interrogator
After forming in 2012, the Paranoid Style set a raw, tuneful, playfully disgruntled tone for their articulate, reference-filled takes on art, politics and society right from the get-go. Meanwhile, stylistically, the band have wrangled garage punk, classic indie pop, early rock & roll riffs, glam influences and more, and fourth album The Interrogator is no different on all the above counts. Led by singer and main songwriter Elizabeth Nelson and her spouse, Timothy Bracy, the project has welcomed numerous support rockers into the lineup over the years. The Interrogator is definitive Paranoid Style and, as such, sure to be a boon for fans as well as an excellent test case for the uninitiated.

Walls Have Ears
Sonic Youth’s best live albums shed light on their mood and creative process at the time of recording, and Walls Have Ears is no exception. Gathering recordings from their second tour of the U.K. in 1985, the album reveals them as a band on the verge of a breakthrough. Despite its thorny history, this is an exhilarating portrait of the band’s shift from their no wave beginnings to the more complex and melodic style that defined their later work. Having your mind and eardrums blown at any of these shows would have been amazing, but witnessing Sonic Youth reclaim this part of their history with an official, cleaned-up version of Walls Have Ears comes close.