Dem are fightin' words there!Merge Records, 2018
8.1 / 10
What does it take to make Superchunk record their first album in over four years? Apparently the 2016 presidential election. Yes, Superchunk‘s members throw in their two cents on the single biggest moment to unite all musicians since President Bush. This means that one day What A Time To Be Alive will be an artifact of a moment. And perhaps it won’t hold as much relevance to some of their past records. That’s the issue when any musician’s music is a response to the times. If anything, some future generations may look back at this record without knowing the context behind it and think, ‘Man, Superchunk were really pissed at someone.’
Certainly, Superchunk are direct on the album’s title track. The rest of the album plays as a commentary on dire times. However, Alive never depresses the soul as much as it presses you to put your fist in the sky. This is a solid punk rock album with catchy choruses and great riffs. Just as you’d expect from Superchunk. Even when you think they’re settling into a song that’s downtempo (“Bad Choices”), it’s just smoke and mirrors for a punchy sing-along. “Your lifetime of shit decisions/ I might never learn from them/ But all your bad choices/ Are going to cause suffering,” sings Mac McCaughan. Superchunk definitely fight for the people. And they sound willing to fight on “All for You”. “I don’t like to get hit/ But fight me,” sings McCaughan. One thing you can’t fight against is loving this new record.