Every generation can be defined by their music: the 60s included soulful blues along with psychedelic rock – Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and Marvin Gaye; the 70s discovered disco and their own type of rock such as Kool and the Gang, Queen and Donna Summer; then came the 80s who harbored “arena music” and hip/hop such as Run DMC, The Cure, and Ozzy Osbourne. Our generation? Based off of iTunes first twenty “Top Songs” playlist we claim: Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, 5 Seconds of Summer and Jessie J. Well, sorry teeny boppers, but it’s about time our generation grows up.
alt-J’s recent album, This Is All Yours, allows us to finally claim a piece of music that won’t haunt us to our graves. This is all ours. For example, the track “Hunger of the Pine,” features the ex-communicated and thankfully retired teeny bopper, Miley Cyrus, to hauntingly repeat “I’m a female rebel.” Hell yeah you are, Miley. But, it gets even better. The song ends in French, translating to, “A great hope has crossed the earth / A great hope has crossed my fear.” There is now hope that the iTunes “Top Songs” playlist, thanks to alt-J, can give our army of Barbie and Ken dolls a much needed makeover; We could be pissed off Alice Cooper’s, rebellious Janis Joplin’s or weed-smoking-politically-aware Bob Marley’s.
Let’s be alternative. Let’s be the ∆, alt-J’s symbol meaning change. This Is All Yours cannot be compared to the previous album, An Awesome Wave (2012), because each had their own flavor. alt-J even respectably recreated “Bloodflood” from An Awesome Wave, to a slower, more eloquent song, “Bloodflood, Pt. II,” which gives the track a new sound as well as coherent lyrics. Whoever told alt-J that the entirety of the previous album was basically “Bennie And The Jets” (is it boots or boobs?) should be knighted. Also, This Is All Yours lyrics are picturesque, distant, swanky, yet also haunting. Imagine “Lovely Day” by
Bill Withers; tack on a jazzy techno beat, a voice that can make the lyrics “love bears heavy on my mind” actually bear heavy on your mind, and then finish it off with a funky sounding flute. alt-J just recreated a classic 1970s song and designed it in a way that we are proud to call ours.
This Is All Yours is truly an alternative album. I put my flashlight app up to you, alt-J, for giving hope to those who are fearful that Ed Sheeran will be compared to Bob Dylan, Florida Georgia Line to Woody Guthrie and Sam Smith (although I admit I love him) to Aretha Franklin. It’s time for our artists to travel back in time, just as alt-J did, and inspire music that will in turn inspire us.
Anna Edwards is a sophomore English major & avid dog lover. She might be the only girl with a playlist titled, “girls RULE boys DROOL,” and admits that it’s on constant repeat. She was once handed the microphone at an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s concert; but in a sick twist of fate, instead of hearing Alex Ebert ask her to “sing us a lyric,” she heard, “tell us a first.” Needless to say, she was cheated from her five minutes of fame. In all seriousness, she’s just tryin’ to play that funky music white [girl], play that funky music right.