Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Second Chance

Song: Second Chance
Artist: Peter, Bjorn, and John
Album: Gimme Some

It's hard to imagine hearing a song like "Young Folks" for the first time and not being completely swept away initially by its catchiness, then by it's pure joy as a song.  The track that put Peter, Bjorn, and John on the map also may have been it's biggest crutch... how do you follow up something like that?

It helped that the album it was on, "Writer's Block" was a pretty solid collection of catchy indie-pop that while may not have included another gem as mind-blowingly great as "Young Folks," it was consistently enjoyable and put the band center stage for a "what will they do next?" guessing game.  Well, a song like "Young Folks" maybe only come along once a career, so it's no surprise that the band followed up "Writer's" with the "experimental" "Seaside Rock" in 2008.  By putting out something so left field... the pressure is off right?  Well I would describe "Seaside Rock" as less "experimental" and more straight-up "unlistenable."  Just a year later they truly followed up "Writer's" with another pop album, the unfortunately disappointing "Living Thing" which contained a desperate-to-be-catchy single "Nothing to Worry About" (which I liked okay) and then a lot of okay filer that didn't leave much of an impression.  I just couldn't get into that record.

So it is with much joy that I report that Sweden's Peter, Bjorn, and John's latest album, "Gimme Some" set to be released in March is a return to form.  From the beat-heavy call-to-arms opener "Tomorrow Has to Wait" to the moody rock of "May Seem Macabre," the album crackles from track to track, jumping genre's, and brings the band back to center stage.

My initial favorite is the cow-bell lovin' "Second Chance," a punchy number that might just be a request from the band to give them another shot.  I'm sold, it's a layered rocker with some 80's strut, a great groove, and most importantly... that sense of joy that's been missing a bit from their recent work.  "Eyes" is giving me a Go-Go's-meets-Vampire Weekend after they meet Jimmy Buffett vibe, and "Breaker, Breaker" flies by at a (ahem) break-neck speed that despite its length, doesn't feel like an interlude.

By third listen it was clear that the band has taken some time with this record and really wanted to reclaim the magic of "Writer's Block."  And yet this isn't as sunny of a record.  This is much more a "rock" album while still containing the pop elements we fell in love with.  Great stuff.

"You can't can't can't count on a second chance..." the band sings on this new stellar album, but I'm certainly glad they've gotten one.


Second Chance


I Know You Don't Love Me

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