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For the readers: I have an unhealthy obsession with the perfect pop song (read: Since U Been GoneYou Belong To Me — apparently my ears want me to be a teenage girl), understated guitar albums and I could not live without Weezer — well, maybe post-Pinkerton Weezer — or The Hold Steady.

Rating system
0 stars – Complete and utter garbage
1 star – Best just not to ever press play, save your ears for another day
2 stars – Not completely atrocious, but one you’ll probably forget about as soon as it’s over
3 stars – Good, but not great, likely with some excellent songs and others you’ll skip right through
4 stars – Damn good album, one you’ll definitely want to enjoy again and again
5 stars – Instant Classic

5 stars

When Titus Andronicus released 2008’s The Airing of Grievances it was a sloppy, sophisticated, refreshing album made by E Street fuck ups. On The Monitor Patrick Stickles is trying to distance himself from the O’berst and Springsteen comparisons which surrounded the 2008 release. I think he succeeded.

Loosely based around the Civil War, The Monitor reeks of overblown self-indulgence. But the “fuck you” attitude that it has comes off as charming and adds a very genuine quality to the music. There’s no doubt that this is through-and-through a punk rock record, but it’s amazing how that’s obvious with the amount of grandiose “big rock” shit going on. And the guitar solos. If you can get through this album without playing the air guitar I need to give you a medal or something.

This record isn’t just a sign of a band that is coming into their own. It’s them breaking every barrier ever they had and jumping head first into the deep end. Where The Airing of Grievances preached nihilism, The Monitor is their call to arms. Titus Andronicus convey the failure and disappointment and bile and sadness and pure fucking triumph due to all of that in a way that nobody could even manage to compete with.

I’ll always be a loser and I love it.