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Superchunk

I Hate Music

Merge 480

Released on August 20, 2013


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Vinyl includes MP3 download card

If punk taught us anything, it’s that loud, aggressive music can provide the sweetest release. Shouting out can clear your psyche of problems ranging from a copy-shop co-worker who won’t do his part to the realization that you, along with all your friends and loved ones, are hopelessly impermanent. It’s a fantastic tonic for a wide spectrum of ailments, like aspirin. Where do you hurt? Sing this—you’ll feel better.

Superchunk has offered up that sonic salve off and on for two decades, at various volumes. Like most great bands that started loud, they also explored the quiet, beginning the 1990s with a self-titled debut and ending them with Come Pick Me Up, a stately set that incorporated strings and horns. 2001 saw the even gentler Here’s to Shutting Up, but the rest of the aughts saw so little activity that the end seemed nigh.

I Hate Music is Majesty’s dark twin. It’s similarly aggressive—often moreso—and every bit as energetic. It reflects the joys of a life spent immersed in music (“Me & You & Jackie Mittoo,” “Trees of Barcelona”), but there’s a dark undercurrent as well. That title isn’t tongue-in-cheek, but it’s really more a question than a statement: When you’re 20, lazy co-workers and romantic missteps number among your biggest worries; two decades later, life’s bigger questions knock louder and louder, demanding answers.

“Low F” finds Superchunk in classic mode: the rhythm section drops out for big choruses, and a guitar solo brings pure sunshine. “Trees of Barcelona” is similarly joyous; it’s “so happy, so happy to go with that flow.” The people and times that he’s missing haunt Mac’s lyrics this time out in ways both gorgeously sentimental (“You’re not around / but you are still the window we are looking out”) and angrily cathartic (“All I see is a void”). “Your Theme” longs for someone and somewhere that he will never know again. (The original definition of “nostalgia,” as you may know, was “severe homesickness,” and it was treated like a disease. It applies here.)

But in the end, I Hate Music sounds to me like an album about love more than anything else: love of life, love of living, love of people, and yeah, love of music. It defies its own title so completely and diligently that it never even seems like a fair fight: There’s no pain this deep or yearning this severe without the type of love earned over a lifetime. “I hate music – what is it worth? / Can’t bring anyone back to this earth” goes the first line in “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo.” That song and its ten companions can’t relive the past or resurrect those lost, but they can keep them close enough to see and hear and celebrate. It’s dark in here, but if we conjure the right words and sounds, maybe we’ll find our way out.

View other music on the same record label


Song Titles
# Song Name Popularity
1 Overflows  0%
2 Me & You & Jackie Mittoo  0%
3 Void  0%
4 Staying Home  0%
5 Low F  0%
6 Trees For Barcelona  0%
7 Breaking Down  0%
8 Out Of The Sun  0%
9 Your Theme  0%
10 FOH  0%
11 What Can We Do  0%
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