Here’s everything you need to know about May music (but were afraid to ask while we were on hiatus this month):
By the time the incoming freshmen graduate, Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong will be 40. Dude is still wearing eyeliner. But without the attitude of Alice Cooper or the immortality of Lost’s Richard Alpert, Armstrong needs to back up his questionable makeup choices with something great. And despite what your dad and thirteen-year-old sister have been saying, 21st Century Breakdown is not great. It’s another American Idiot, which itself was just an average adult contemporary slice of pop-punk. It’s too bad because “When I Come Around” was pretty cool, right?
If anyone knows cool, it’s Annie Clark, who traded a place in Sufjan Steven’s band for a solo career under the moniker St. Vincent. Sure, she’s self-canonized, but there’s something divine about her newest project, Actor. In this sophomore album, Clark’s poetic lyrics are backed by a full orchestra, laced with piano parts so beautiful they could stand alone, and brought into this millennium with a touch of electro-pop. It is so close to perfect that we might not have to remember this May as the month that Eminem Relapse[d].
Also keeping us listening is Phoenix, who locked up the race for the year’s best album title and best French soft rock album with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Featuring glossy production and tight songwriting, WAP is power-pop enough for the afternoon barbeque and disco enough for dancing once the sun sets.