Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Superchunk – Erasure

We like the 90s, but do we love the 90s?


Katherine St Asaph: Incomplete, Idiosyncratically Personal to the Point of Being Useless, But Hopefully Reusable Criteria for Alt-Rock Comeback Crucialness: CRITERION 0.5: Is it better than the hypothetical song Erasure – “Superchunk”? Absolutely. CRITERION 1: Do they sound tired? No. CRITERION 2: Is it ambitious, and does it need to be? For the former: As protest songs go, it’s fairly anodyne; as music goes, nah. But for the latter, I would say no. CRITERION 3: How easy is it to imagine this track launching future albums? Sure; Katie Crutchfield’s presence helps. CRITERION 4: Would I listen to this over a randomly shuffled older track? I… maybe? CRITERION 5: How much of a fan were/are you of their older stuff? Scale score accordingly. So for me, that puts this around:

Edward Okulicz: The (chiefly U.S, I guess, but I’ve never talked to an American about Andy Bell and Vince Clarke) pronunciation of “erasure” where the last syllable is like “pressure” rather than “pleasure” is deeply puzzling to me, making me think that it’s a song about a girl with an unusual name like Araysha. Which would be just as legitimate a thing to make an indie rock song about! And it’d be a great idea to open it up with big power pop drums like you’ve exhausted all other avenues and realised that you should be The Go-Gos, and have a seething, nagging guitar hook coming in and out. The actual song on top isn’t as fun as that, particularly the afterthought chorus, and it actually sounds a bit too upbeat for its lyrics — it’s not too late to retcon it so it’s about our good friend Araysha — but it’s still better than the average indie rock song I pretended to like in the 90s.

Alfred Soto: Katie Crutchfield and Stephin Merritt’s background vocals aren’t noticeable but they’re not blank either, and doesn’t this description match Superchunk too? For almost thirty years they’ve cranked out punk-pop with no diminution of  speed or ebullience. What a Time to Be Alive offers irony if you want to hear it that way — Mac McCaughan and his three mates view every morning as a challenge, and not in that corporate way. While “Erasure” isn’t the album’s toughest or even most memorable tune, I’ve graded it on a slight curve because they make this shit sound so easy.

Julian Axelrod: After two years of boring Trump jokes, we can confidently say a fascist presidency isn’t good for art. Every absurd news item comes with a slew of tweets and takes, but nothing that addresses how this endless shit parade affects our psyche. “Erasure” is one of the few songs I’ve heard grapple with this daily malaise: the erosion of empathy, the evasive efficacy, the hopelessness that follows every small victory. But Superchunk do not sound defeated. They scream and stomp and stand beside their friends, refusing to be written out of history. They don’t claim to have any answers. But they’re still here, and so are we. In a year where nothing feels real, that’s a small comfort.

Juana Giaimo: Superchunk brings back the voice of those who aren’t satisfied with the world right now. By not being too explicit, “Erasure” can refer to many situations going on around the world: politicians are always trying to erase their corruption, erase the true history and fill it up with myths and, most of all, erase the ones who are willing to point them with an accusing finger. Superchunk may be grownups now, but maybe that is exactly why “Erasure” isn’t just a scream of rage, but a well-meditated political song about enduring decades of unfairness. 

Alex Clifton: Cheerful noisy indie rock circa the 90s. A pleasant enough tune in my book, and I quite like the harmonizing vocals in the chorus. I know the 90s are in vogue right now, and honestly if I hear more songs like this that are upbeat rather than the maudlin yet “anthemic” stuff that big-name groups keep dropping these days (cf. Thirty Seconds to Mars, Imagine Dragons), I can’t say I’d be mad.

Reader average: [5.5] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Comments are closed.