Album: The Most Lamentable Tragedy
. . .
Titus Andronicus was one of those artists I discovered in the initial flush of the A.V. Club diaspora onto Twitter in the early 2010s, from which I discovered all kinds of music and TV shows for quite some time, as smarter younger people would discuss their favorites on the Tweetdeck tab I called “A.V. Club Club.”
This was all centuries ago, of course, long before that one asshole became Twitter’s main character for a few years and that other asshole bought it and essentially killed it. Anyways, enough smarter younger people were talking about Titus Andronicus’s 2010 album The Monitor that I took a flyer, and enjoyed it, even though the song lengths made it hard for me to fully grok when one song ended and another began. Ever since, Titus Andronicus is one of those bands that I think I should love more than I actually do. Especially since not only was singer/songwriter/mastermind Patrick Stickles enough of a Replacements fan to also be in Color Me Obsessed, we also have basically the same eating disorder.
This is probably on me. No, it’s definitely on me. I’m sure if I’d spent more time with their early records, I’d love them more than I do, but it wasn’t until 2015’s The Most Lamentable Tragedy that they made an album I loved as I respected it. Ironically, The Most Lamentable Tragedy was a 29-track, 93-minute rock opera about manic depression that was as catchy as it was ambitious, with Stickles not just covering the Pogues — Shane MacGowan was a clear vocal influence — but writing catchy punk songs like “Fatal Flaw” and “Dimed Out,” but also making clever references to rock past with “Come On, Siobhan” and my favorite track, “Stranded (On My Own),” which had been previously released as a single, but re-recorded for the album.
That title, of course, is a direct reference to a key early punk track, “(I’m) Stranded,” by Australia’s The Saints
Like a lot of Titus Andronicus songs, “Stranded (On My Own)” has about a million words, none of which I could really understand — again, Shane MacGowan is a key vocal influence — but on the choruses, when lead guitarist Adam Reich plays a near-perfect hook after each line of the chorus, it doesn’t even matter that the words are pretty fucking dark.
Look up “Addicted,” that’s me
Then look up “Wicked disease”
Then look up “Sick of police”
Then look up “Victim” closely, ooh yeah
It also helps that Reich takes a barbed-wire melodic solo after the second chorus, and honestly, I end up treating the vocals as more part of the music than as a statement. Which is no doubt exactly the wrong way to listen to it, but there you are: it’s more about the performance than the message. Maybe if I had all the time in the world, I’d get both and love this band as much as I clearly should.
“Stranded (On My Own)”
“Stranded (On My Own)” Solo Electric, 2016
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