A Few Thoughts (Unedited) Posing As A Review Of The New Tennis Album, Young & Old
1) I found out today at work that I didn't get the assistant manager job I had more or less counted on getting because I've been there the longest and worked the hardest of all the applicants. But this is a cruel, unusual universe that I inhabit, and I've long since adapted to survive as the life-long-loser. For some reason the lyrics "we could be good but we don't live the way that we should" from this album seemed especially apt today. Especially after I spent most of the day playing loud, noisy shit like The Black Angels and Flux Information Sciences with the bass and treble cranked.
2) One of my good friend recently moved to Kansas to pursue further schooling. He and I are fans, if not advocates, for Tennis. In a recent email to me, he summed up how he felt about this record thusly: "I listened to the new Tennis album; it is kind of different from what they did before, but I still think it is a good sophomore album." Pat, I couldn't have said it better myself.
3) I all-too-frequently go through periods of time where I feel an overwhelming apathy and negativity about a lot of things in my life. I end up listening to the first two Velvet Underground albums, when I normally only regularly enjoy their last two (post-Lou Reed VU isn't really VU, man). People try to cheer me up and, while it kind of annoys me because I wish people would commiserate instead of playing the "glass is half full" card so soon, I know, deep down, that they're right. In the same way, then, I know that I was wrong to underrate the first Tennis album when I reviewed it, and I also know that I'm right in declaring Young & Old a good sophomore album.
Oh wait, he just said that.
Um, let's see here.
4) Young & Old is smartly (and perhaps rightly) similar enough to their debut, while making some changes, to succeed mightily. This is especially key since this only follows Cape Dory by about a year, and I'd have been more than pleased if they'd turned in a similar-but-equally-good sophomore effort instead. But no, Young & Old still has a pleasant retro early 60s rock/pop sound with a little less overt surf influence; less sailing/nautical imagery, too, though travel as a concept still features prominently, such as on, you guessed it, 'Traveling.'
5) Think of a slightly more fleshed out, full-band sounding version of Cape Dory with some new instruments and textures, and you've pretty much nailed Young & Old. It beefs up Tennis's sound in a way similar to The Shins' change from the classicist indie-pop of Oh, Inverted World to the power-pop, more muscular sounding Chutes Too Narrow.
6) I was watching a Beach House video earlier and it once more occurred to me that the reason my (male) friends and I react so strongly to bands like Tennis, She & Him, and Beach House in that we all want women to promise the kind of poetical romance and dedication that normally only men will sing about and/or offer their partners. I know I'm always on the other side of the losing equation, pining after women or wishing they would never leave my side...and then here's a bunch of women in amazing bands singing those same things to me. If that makes me sound pathetic and creepy, I suppose it will have to. I love Young & Old but I've been programmed to, I think.
7) I love that every song on this record is between 3:02 and 3:45 in length. Tennis are a very three minute song kind of band. I respect such inadvertent consistency. Their next release should be a concept album about the number 3, or maybe do it like i by the Magnetic Fields and have every song start with 3. Just a thought.