Wavves - Life Sux EP (2011)
DISCLAIMER: This review has FUCK ALL to do with Wavves new Life Sux EP, out now on Ghost Ramp Records.
Sorry Nathan, I’m not buying it this time.
My relationship with Wavves doesn’t go back very far, but I remember all of the major turning points pretty well. I think I heard about the band in early 2010, but I didn’t really care at all at the time. I didn’t know what “chillwave” meant back then (give me a break, I was fourteen) but I thought it was stupid and I probably referenced Wavves as a chillwave band despite NEVER having actually listened to Wavves or any real chillwave act.
A few months later I listened to Wavvves for the first time because some friend of mine told me to. I’ll never forgive him for that. What a shitty album. I have still never listened to the first Wavves album, but I’m sure that I’ve lied to at least one person about how it’s ‘even worse than Wavvves’. For all I know, it’s amazing. But it’s not amazing.
I tried to ignore the hype. I think I succeeded for a while. When King of the Beach was announced, I thought it was hilarious. I saw the cover and it made me laugh, but not in a good way. The record came out in July of last year, I think, but the radio station I was working at around that time got it early as a promo. They had an extra copy so I got to keep one. I still have that CD. I remember thinking that I only had to listen to it because it was ‘my job’, even though it really wasn’t much of a job. I didn’t get paid or anything, but using that as an excuse actually helped me approach it without as much bias. From the first listen, I loved that record so much. I told people that I loved it because of the catchy melodies, jangly guitars and reverb-heavy vocals, but I secretly loved it because it made me feel like I was having a better summer than I was actually having. Maybe listening to King of the Beach actually made me have a better summer. I hazily remember dancing to “Mickey Mouse” in the late summer on at least a few occasions, and singing along to “Post-Acid” in the car with friends (although, let’s be honest, that song was kind of shitty). I have memories tied to that album, but they’re all washed out and blurry now. I was always really annoyed by people who liked Wavves, but there I was, loving King of the Beach along with them. I guess I became the people I hated for a brief time.
Fast forward to December and it’s my fourth favorite album of the year. Who knew. If I had seen Wavves live last Summer, I probably would have loved the show. Instead, I saw them in May, and it was boring as hell. Between then and now, I don’t think I’ve listened to them at all.
And now, almost a year after my appreciation for King of the Beach reached its peak, I have a new Wavves EP to take into account. Apparently he released some other EP since then? I never listened to it. I’m not even sure why I listened to Life Sux, to be honest. It’s probably because I blogged about it back it April.
I think that even after I accepted how much I loved King of the Beach, I knew that I wasn’t going to enjoy whatever he put out next. It doesn’t really matter how good or bad Life Sux is. I kind of forced myself to hate it on principle.
This is obviously my own problem, not Nathan Williams’ problem, and not the problem of whoever else is in the band now. My issue with Life Sux is primarily a personal one. I dislike it because it exists, and because of the way I heard about it, and mostly because of the time in my life that it crossed paths with me. My opinion of it is hugely biased because of this, but the critical problem with the EP itself transcends all of those things and becomes even more evident because of them. Here it is:
I honestly believe that if I had heard this EP in the Summer of 2010, right after King of the Beach came out, I would have thought it was “just okay”. Yeah, that’s it. “Just okay”, as in “5/10” or “these songs are alright I guess”. After a couple more listens, I might have convinced myself that it was “not bad” or even “pretty good” and maybe put the cutesy Best Coast collaboration “Nodding Off” on a mix for some girl. I would have thought about how despite it’s ridiculous title and rehashed “King of the Beach” lyrics, “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl” is pretty catchy. I might have blogged about the opening track “Bug” (which I think actually debuted a long time ago), calling it a “catchy summer jam” or something equally stupid, despite the first grader fridge poetry lyrics. Perhaps worst of all, I probably would have praised the collaboration with Canadian hardcore punks Fucked Up as “just crazy enough to work”. Ugh. Seriously.
But I still wouldn’t like it. It would still be “just okay”. Except it’s not just okay. It
sucks sux. It’s not Summer 2010, and I’m not that kind of person anymore, okay? Maybe I am and I just don’t want anyone to know it. But probably not.
I’m not buying it this time, but it’s not entirely your fault. I’ve always been a loser. I’ve just gotten better at hiding it. Am I going to listen to this again? Sure, but I’ll never admit it, and I still won’t like it.