Album Reviews - Reviews

Superchunk – I Hate Music


This makes absolutely no sense to me. I have no idea why a label would release an album like Superchunk‘s I Hate Music at the tail end of the Summer. This is a record that was perfectly designed for golden hour driving sessions and mid-day drinks in the park. It’s an album that brings a near-insurmountable level of joy and energy with every song. It’s hard not to listen to this sweet little treat of a record without having a stupidly big, ear to ear grin plastered to your face. What’s even more impressive about this whole situation is that this is Superchunk’s 10th record in 24 years. The alternative rock wave that they, and bands like them, first rode to any form of notoriety has long since broken, yet they carry on putting out collections like this.

The album, in many ways, typifies 1990s alternative rock. No song does this better than the outstanding single ‘Me & You & Jackie Mittoo’. Beginning with a palm muted riff that blasts your consciousness back to Clinton’s second term, the song’s initial lyrics are both the typical angst-ridden ramblings as well as a kind of sweet little reminder of the ineffectuality of music in the grand scheme of things: “I hate music what is it worth/can’t bring anyone back to this Earth”. This gives way to a boisterous 4/4 rhythm section that recreates that Kim Deal/Dave Lovering force. It’s a lean power chord-driven exercise in exuberance and melancholy drenched in nostalgia. This feeling of nostalgia and disappointment infiltrates the entire album and adds a  new dimension to what could have amounted to the pretty standard 90s pop rock album.

As an album, I Hate Music melds together into a 38 minute blast of 1995. There are good and bad standouts: the aforementioned ‘Me & You…’ and the album closer ‘What Can We Do’ are absolutely fantastic and deserve to be recognized by anyone who loves that sweet grunge pop sound, whilst the hardcore- twinged ‘Staying Home’ is a song for which the skip function exists. This isn’t an album that you’ll sit down and listen from start to finish, it’s more a block of songs that you can dip in and out of at any time. For this sort of album to work, every single song needs to work as an isolated piece.

Sadly, it just can’t meet this condition. There are duds and forgettable swings, but most of the songs manage to hit a really sweet spot  between an in your face steadfast refusal to grow up and a wistful reminder of all that has been lost because of this fact. It is an album for the Summer months. Little blocks of glee and elation that we wish we could cling to forever but always just slip through our grasp. It is said that if the sun dies, we won’t know for 8 minutes. This album was intended for those 8 minutes. Will Murphy

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]