The Pulse – January 2020 (continued)

There were a few words on some January releases in the previous edition of The Pulse. But now – what with writing this in February – let’s take a look at a few we missed, including from Eminem, the Drive-By Truckers, and more.

Eminem – Music to be Murdered By

From the opener Premonition, to the Alfred outro, the 11th studio album from the American rapper takes inspiration from Hitchcock horror, and a lot of the themes contained in those movies too, including death, murder, solace, and loneliness.

There are too many killer lines here to note, but standout tracks include the fast-rapping Godzilla, the hateful, vengeful Stepdad, and Darkness (the latter which is a sombre protest song, completely blown out of proportion over what is, to be frank, a rather forgettable lyric).

If I had one complaint, it is that a lot of the songs here follow a rather predictable formula. Basslines become similar, drum beats adhere to a certain pattern, and the album does become a little long in the tooth. Still, as a very late-to-the-game Eminem fan, I’m pleased with this offering. Solid effort.

Drive-By Truckers – The Unraveling

There seems to be a split among Drive-By Truckers fans. One side loves the older days of The Dirty South and the Isbell-tinged era, while hating the political aspects of their latest releases; the other believes DBT have become a vital protest rock band in a world consumed by craziness.

It’s a narrative that is, ultimately, stupid. Why can’t one simply enjoy all that DBT do? Why is there preference of one era over another? And, more to the point: even from the early days, how the hell did you not detect the political messages in all DBT songs?

Yes, The Unraveling continues the protest-rock movement kicked off by the superb American Band. And that’s not bad thing.

The Unraveling is the most politically-charged release from the band, tackling topics of white supremacy, the NRA, opioids, the border, and just how damn terrible Trump’s America is for everyone.

It’s an album of outrage, of anger, of disappointment, but it’s rarely preachy or dull. It doesn’t reach my personal highs of Let There Be Rock, A Ghost To Most, or Never Gonna Change. But then again, it’s not supposed to be. It’s an outlet DBT, and the audience, desperately need in an era defined by political polarity, outrage, and utter nonsense. A solid album.

Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

Returning from a long hiatus, Bombay Bicycle Club return with a Everything Else Has Gone Wrong – a slick, breezy, enveloping album tackling issues of angst, being forgotten by society, and the absolute shitshow we all find ourselves in today.

From the brilliantly wry, sardonic title track, to the swirling synths of Get Up, this might be the album that has gotten me into Bombay Bicycle Club. I’ve never really been a fan of them, and so to say that about Everything Else Has Gone Wrong is a massive compliment. Parts LCD Soundsystem, parts MGMT, parts The Smiths, I can’t wait to get this album on vinyl and turn it up loud.