Album Review: Sleater-Kinney’s “No Cities to Love”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Sleater-Kinney, they are a band from the Pacific Northwest, whom are associated with the Riot Grrrl movement in the ’90s.  The members of Sleater-Kinney include Carrie Brownstien, Janet Weiss, and Corin Tucker who are signed to Sub Pop Records, a Seattle based company.  The group hadn’t put out any albums since their last one in 2006.  But today, their newest album No Cities to Love has just dropped and it is absolutely fantastic!

Album cover of Sleater-Kinney's newest record
Album cover of Sleater-Kinney’s newest record

This new album contains 10 original songs:

1. Price Tag- One of my favorites off of this record.  This track starts of with a catchy guitar riff and drum beat.  It has a great beat, with the voices coming through strong, in addition to a solid guitar and drum background.  A strong start to the beginning of their new album.

2. Fangless- Not in my list of songs that I love, but I do really like this one.  As track 2, it fits perfectly into the progression of the album.  The drums in this song are my favorite part, as they tie in all of the other elements of the song together really well.

3. Surface Envy- This particular song is also another one of my favorites.  It starts of with an interesting guitar riff and moves into a more heavily distorted sound.  It has a pretty simple rhythm on the drums, which is perfect for this song so it doesn’t seem too “muddy.”

4. No Cities to Love- Obviously the name of the album, and although I would expect this to be an amazing song since it has the same name as the album itself, I was honestly a bit disappointed with this one.  The vocals and instrumentation just don’t go together well.

5. A New Wave- Sleater-Kinney played this song on David Letterman the other day:

Brownstein displays a strong voice on this, which I love.  It also sounds great when all of them sing together.  It also has a breakdown in it, which not a lot of the other songs have.  It’s a nice song to sandwich right in the middle of the album.

6. No Anthems- This song has a unique beginning.  Very distorted guitar, which fits perfectly in this album.  It also has a contrasting section that repeats throughout this song, which makes it feel a lot like the other punk/alt rock that was coming out of the ’90s.

7. Gimme Love- Fast pace, solid lyrics, solid guitar.  Give it a listen and I’m sure you’ll love it.  The chorus in this song sounds great with the choices used for vocals, guitar, and drums.  This is another track that contains a really nice breakdown.  I’m actually a bit surprised that they didn’t start the album off with this track since it’s such a well made song.

8. Bury Our Friends- If you’re like me and have a SiriusXM subscription and listen to SiriusXMU, then I’m sure you have heard this song plenty over the past few weeks.  Even though I’ve heard it an absurd number of times, it’s still my absolute favorite off of this album.  Brownstein’s voice, the guitar, and Weiss’ drumming is a great combination.  The chorus is catchy and I’m sure you’ll be singing this to yourself all day.

9. Hey Darling- At first, this track starts off quite a bit different, but then it quickly goes back to sounding like Sleater-Kinney.  Subtle syncopation is present in this track, giving it a nice feel.

10. Fade- Slower paced, but great nonetheless. Distorted vocals are present in this one, along with a distorted guitar.  It’s a nice subtle change that brings the album to a satisfying close.

   After listening through the full album, I really love it, both as a whole and as individual tracks.  Sleater-Kinney successfully came back after nearly 10 years of being apart and laid down some solid music.  There’s enough variation throughout the album to where you leave satisfied after listening to it, but not too much that would make it seem as if it’s all over the place.  You can grab your copy at their website, at Amazon or iTunes, Best Buy, or your local record store.  If you’ve already listened to this album, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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