I thought The National had album of the year in the bag with 'High Violet', but I couldn't have been more wrong.
The Walkmen have taken a more subtle and precise approach with 'Lisbon' than their previous efforts. I can just picture them in some dim lit warehouse somewhere like mad scientists determining which note goes where and with what instrument and how loud to make each note andI thought The National had album of the year in the bag with 'High Violet', but I couldn't have been more wrong.
The Walkmen have taken a more subtle and precise approach with 'Lisbon' than their previous efforts. I can just picture them in some dim lit warehouse somewhere like mad scientists determining which note goes where and with what instrument and how loud to make each note and so on and so forth. It may not seem like that at first listen, but with repeated listens you will soon find out how much time and effort they put into 'Lisbon'. It's their most simplistic yet complex album yet. It's a well rounded mix of all the greatness of their previous albums but it doesn't feel old at all. It's as though they've figured out a way of making all their strengths feel new and refreshed.
From the ballad and first single "Stranded" which sounds like an album highlight from '100 miles off' to the intrepid title track, "Lisbon", that could have been 'Everybody who Pretended to like me is gone's' most idealistic single, the Walkmen dazzle in every way. The opener "Juveniles" is a perfect start to 'Lisbon'. It's slow and bending lyrics sound as though they are about to embark on a journey and they want you to sit back, drink your whiskey, open your mind and let your thoughts flow. As the end of the song echoes, "you're one of us or you're one of them", you will start to question which one you are as you anxiously await the ride to continue.
There are a few faster paced songs on the album like "Angela Surf City", which will probably be the biggest single on the album just because it's more of the sound the Walkmen are popular for. "Victory" and "Woe is Me" are great emotionally charged high velocity tempo storms that crash you with promise and misery all in a matter of minutes. Other than these three songs the rest of the album sits in the bondage of haste and perseverance.
The only setback on the album is "Follow the Leader". I only say it's a setback because it seems unfinished to me. It has perfect rhythm and smooth lyrics but just didn't seem complete and it kind of halted the album with two very strong tracks before it. On the other hand, I see why its on the album. It builds up to the highlight, "Blue as your Blood". "Blue as your Blood" is the Walkmen's best song to date. As Hamilton croons "Life rolled us over like a town car/Bruised up and busted to the ground", you can feel the sentimentality in his voice. It should be the anthem for every love story, every severed relationship, every guy/girl sitting at a bar thinking about the years past, drinking their favorite drink contemplating every decision, good and bad, they've made over the span of their life. Yes, it's that good.
"While I shovel the snow" reminds me of my childhood in Chicago, thinking of times past and what's transpired since. It brought back memories I forgot I had. It's simplicity and candid emotion will bring tears to your eyes and happiness to your soul. The lines "half of my life I've been watching/half of my life I've been waking up" will make you want to go back to that childhood and slap yourself in the face, tell yourself to do something with your wretched painful life ahead. "Torch Song" and "All the Great Designs" are standouts as well. They keep the album moving at a soul binding pace. As the album digs at your every thought and bulletproof emotion, not stopping until the end of the title track, "Lisbon", hits you and makes you crave a cigar and another drink to flourish what just transpired. But you cant go on this ride just once. It's like your 12 again at six flags on a Tuesday during the summer when there are no lines...just you and the rollercoaster and you keep riding it over and over again...feeling the pain and nauseau of the rollercoaster's jolt but loving every minute of it. You hunger and crave for more. The only thing that's missing from this album is taste and scent, but if you delve hard and long enough you swear you can smell that old after shave lotion your father use to wear or taste those homemade mash potatoes your mom use to make because memories is what this album is about.
Metronomes aren't needed because 'Lisbon' doesn't follow any sort of compliance or standard, it's original and that's something you cant say much anymore about music today. 'Lisbon' brings emotion, it brings character and most of all it brings memories for The Walkmen stand in the likes of none of their peers because their greatness cannot be compared.… Expand