Thirtyseven’s This Is What I Want

Its always odd to encounter a punk album that doesn’t swear, or even show any signs of wanting to chew your face off. Its so far from everything the genre has billed itself as over the years that one can almost expect it to be luring you into a false sense of security.

ThirtySeven’sThis Is What I Want is as positive and upbeat of a pop-punk album as you’re ever going to see. The only mosh pits it’s going to inspire will be considerate and full of people saying “I beg your pardon”. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine; in fact it’s kind of nice. Not every band has to be Mindless Self Indulgence, and it’s actually refreshing to listen to some rock that has absolutely no ambition of pushing the envelope. Sometime it’s pleasant to just leave the frigging envelope alone.

Technically, everything about This is What I Want is extremely solid. The instrumentals have a sense of discipline and consistency to them, with no single element ever getting out of sync with the others. The result is one of the easier to listen to albums I’ve ever encountered. It never gets particularly dull or cringe inducing, a rare occurrence. Even the great albums inevitably have had a song or two that need to be skipped over, but you can easily listen to this thing end to end without so much as touching your I-pod.

But here’s the downside: I can’t find a favorite song on this album. Nothing jumps out as my song or even the song of the album, even after multiple listens. Sometimes they even just blend together until you’ll have to check the times to makes sure the track has switched. It lacks a sense of flair and theatrics that made other pop punk bands such a rush back in the day. In fact, this isn’t a band you’re going to want to listen to in order to “get pumped”. This is the album you put on after the big game rather than before, which is odd for this genre.

Best guess at the reason why? Most music of this sort is a balance between the practical and the crazy. You want a band that carefully crafts an aesthetically pleasing sound, but is also capable of throwing all of that out the window in favor of artistic expression. It’s the tug of war that’s defined punk since The Sex Pistols. But this is an album with absolutely no crazy. None. It lacks fire, passion, and a crazed shirtless guy screaming at you to overthrow the government– all the staples of the genre. Rather, it’s well-adjusted and fairly upbeat, which makes it great for a leisurely bike ride or a workout, just don’t expect it to get you through a breakup any time soon. Really, the deciding factor here is whether or not the words “punk rock” and “soothing” are allowed in the same sentence for you.

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