Celebration Rock by Japandroids review

January 24, 2013
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

This year a whole bunch of bands decided that rock, in the traditional indie rock sense perfected by the Replacements, was cool again. But more than any of those other bands, I want to be Japandroids. I want to live the lives described in their songs – stories of being young, drunk and recklessly in love.


Celebration Rock, the Vancouver duo’s second album, is everything they used to do refined and pushed to extremes. Japandroids used to sing that “Young Hearts Spark Fire,” but now they actually sing about what that means. It means “that night you were already in bed, said ‘fuck it’ and got up to drink with me instead,” from album highlight and possibly the greatest Japandroids song ever, “Younger Us.” Even if you can’t relate to the kind of drunken adventures that singer Brian King describes, the music makes you want to. Japandroids want you to live, damn it.


King said in an interview with the Village Voice that he made every song on Celebration Rock “positive and uplifting” and that “on the whole record I think there’s nothing negative.” While it’s fine for a band to want to make an album that’s nothing more than a celebration of being young and having fun, King doesn’t give himself enough credit. “Younger Us” retells a spontaneous night as a memory - and with it comes the longing and sadness of all nostalgia.


Japandroids used to be “too drunk to feel it” but now they feel everything. “If I had all of the answers and you had the body you wanted,” King sings on “Continuous Thunder,” “would we love with a legendary fire?” I don’t know. But the expectation and desire for everything to be perfect and the importance and difficulty of accepting when it’s not is something that anyone in a relationship has experienced.
The intensity of the emotion on Celebration Rock is what makes it so great. Every song is never less than intense and exhilarating - except for one. Japandroids aren’t very good when they try to be menacing and aggressive on “For the Love of Ivy.” They are much better at being sweeping and epic. But the best part is that “For the Love of Ivy” is a cover. The only way for Japandroids to suck is if they play someone else’s song.

By: Nolan Matthews




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