79.) Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances (2009)
Titus Andronicus' debut album, The Airing of Grievances, is pretty close to exactly what rock 'n roll should sound like - young, vital, rollicking, imperfect, pretentious and sometimes reckless. The Airing of Grievances is not a masterpiece. In fact, it's kind of a mess. But it's one of the few records released this decade that feels alive. That's not to say it's a tossed off affair, it's not, but it is first and foremost a punk rock record for the kids...the smart kids, but the kids all the same.
Titus Andronicus have been compared favorably to bands like The Clash and Bright Eyes, but it's no secret that they owe the greatest amount of debt to a man who shares their home state - Mr. Bruce Springsteen. A lot of the better rock 'n roll released in the latter part of this decade has been dipped in E-Street sauce. This is great as Springsteen is a stellar artist and his band one of the best in rock 'n roll for sure, but it's interesting that a genre like indie rock - which was once so fond of irony and keeping fans at arms length - would embrace someone so devoid of those thing. It was a nice turn for the indie rock world as bands learned how to actually rock and, more importantly, smile.
When I first heard the Titus Andronicus record I loved it. I loved it for it's immediacy and, for better or worse, it's familiarity. Titus Andronicus aren't re-inventing the wheel here, but you get the feeling they just might be cocky enough not to realize that.
The kids in the world desperately need Titus Andronicus. They sound like you felt when you were sixteen - when you were smarter than anyone would give you credit for, but you were also drunk singing along to these choruses at a basement show. The Airing of Grievances has no airs (despite the innate pretention in the bands name) and it aims to kick your ass in the way Nirvana did in 1991 or the Libertines in 2002. This record should (and hopefully has) change(d) lives. We're probably too old for that, but if there's a fourteen year old in your life and you care about that person buy him or her this record. It'll make them start a band or at least start loving bands and their music and their tangible recorded output.
And that's what is really important.
Posted by Pat Driscoll