Posts Tagged ‘ Savages ’

Best Albums of 2013

In 2013, I reviewed 57 albums, 34 of which were released this year. Here are my picks for albums of the year, with the usual caveats: I know my experience was far from complete, but I think I do a good job of picking out the things I’ll be interested in. If the list seems weird, it probably has more to do with my taste than with the number of albums I bought. I pick my top 5, with confidence that even if I heard all the popular releases this year, these ones would still likely fit in my top 10. And if I discover the ones I missed later, I’ll include them in my list of the best “old discoveries” of the year.

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Savages – Silence Yourself (Music Review)

Silence Yourself cover

Savages – Silence Yourself

The term “post-punk” is supposed to imply that bands are merging the brashness, honesty, and non-conformity of punk with a musical growth that DIY screamers couldn’t manage. But too often, the music seems to be all “post” and no “punk”, with meandering, barely emotional songs that sound like the musicians want nothing to do with their namesake. On Silence Yourself, Savages show what post-punk is supposed to be, with intense, emotional songs that also have an art-school reserve and depth.

Loud all-female groups are rare, but Savages don’t push too hard to exploit that. The best songs, actually, take sideways looks at the female experience. “Husbands” is a nerve-wracking song about a confused reaction to domestic bliss, and “Hit Me” is a brutal challenge to the world. But most tracks are human, slightly obscured in meaning, and don’t obviously apply to one gender when the lyrics are looked at in isolation. If the ironic feminism of “Husbands” and “Hit Me” doesn’t appeal to you, there is also “Strife”, a heartfelt song about a relationship that is strong specifically because of the hardships. “Strife” perfectly captures an awkward but real topic that few song address.

Silence Yourself is far from perfect. The middle fades into that forgettable drone that reminds me of standard disappointing post-punk. In fact, I had probably listened to it a dozen times before I realized that “Dead Nature” was an instrumental; That part of the album is just one long muddy delay before “She Will” kicks off the incredible second half. For an album meant to be loud and in-your-face, it’s unfortunate that the band loses their way like that. But the high points are some of the year’s best. Savages have established themselves as a vital band.

Grade: B+