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The Shins - Wincing the Night Away Album Cover

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

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8.0
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
Record Label: Sub Pop
Release Date: January 23, 2007
“You gotta hear this one song - it'll change your life.” The effect that one solitary sentence has on any given situation has the potential to be pretty drastic. This fact is effectively demonstrated when the sentence in question is spoken by one overrated celebrity to another overrated celebrity in an overrated movie that was gobbled up by the overrated general public. We’re talking about Natalie Portman, Zach Braff, Garden State, and... probably you, respectively here. The song? “New Slang” by The Shins. Overrated? Well, I definitely wouldn’t call it life-changing; I’ll leave it at that as I fear the wrath of rabid Shins fans. Though, I will say that while the song may not be considered life-changing, the Garden State shout-out itself definitely changed a few people’s lives: the members of The Shins.

Wincing The Night Away hit the charts at #2 on its opening week, with first-week sales hitting a grand total of nearly 118,000. The album demolished Sub Pop Records’ previous opening record of #79. This is a considerable feat for a band that is largely known solely for two songs that were on a trendy soundtrack. Is this success merited? Does the band deserve these sales? Or will they forever be known as “that Garden State band”? What is this, Trivial Pursuit? The Shins answer these questions, and one or two more, on Wincing the Night Away.

The opening track, “Sleeping Lessons”, is an atmospheric, under-watery tune that reminds me of the water levels in Super Mario. Even though I couldn’t stand those particular stages, I still annihilated them (because I'm awesome), which is why I still like this song. “Australia” is the next song up to bat with la-la-la’s kicking off the track. Fortunately, James Mercer’s top-notch lyrics prove that he’s not all la’s. He exhibits quite the ubiquitous vocabulary, indeed, in this song and throughout the entire album. “Sea Legs”, a few tracks later, continues the underwater theme. The oceanic atmosphere conveyed in this song is almost enough to make me wet. It also features a wicked hip-hoppy bass line and more sexual innuendos than that last sentence. The single, “Turn On Me”, is one of the album’s strongest songs: catchy, smart, tambourine… what more can a person ask for? Mercer continues to shine in the lyrics department on “Black Wave”. This guy is so good with words like how I wish I could do like him… and stuff. Seriously though, his whispered vocals on this track are more than exceptional. “Girl Sailor” (Dustin Kensrue’s baby kid’s theme song?) gives off a distinctly British, Morrissey-ish vibe. The album closes with “A Comet Appears”. This song creates a vivid mental picture with gems like: “Let's carve my aging face off/ Fetch us a knife/ Start with my eyes/ Down so the lines/ Form a grimacing smile”.

So, after these 42 minutes, have The Shins convinced me that they deserve all this limelight? Even though it makes me look like a band-wagon jumper… yeah, yeah they do deserve it. Sure, the album has its flaws: a lot of the songs sound too similar, a track or two made me feel a little drowsy, etc. However, this is one of the best releases of the year thus far. And heck, at least people are spending their hard-earned money on a quality band, as opposed to the garbage that sells today. I mean, Fergie??? C’mon, now, people. Though they’ll likely be plagued as “that band from Garden State” for a very, very long time, it’s good to know they can put out a solid album regardless.

myspace.com/theshins
This review is a user submitted review from 12:46AM. You can see all of 12:46AM's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 14 of 14
04:17 PM on 06/15/07
#2
After Hours
and Monday, too
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Good review; I like the Shins (knew them < Garden State, fortunately)
06:22 PM on 06/15/07
#3
Praetor
bippity boppity
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New kid on the block.
06:32 PM on 06/15/07
#4
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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Levi's teh sex
06:35 PM on 06/15/07
#5
12:46AM
is a brain in a vat
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New kid on the block.
had a bunch of hits. chinese food makes me sick. and i think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer.
08:01 PM on 06/15/07
#6
newfoundmichael
@SirDaveyBoy
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for the summer
10:10 PM on 06/15/07
#7
yoyoninjagirl
Nobody's Nothing
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this album is awesome, definitely one of the best of 2007
02:10 AM on 06/17/07
#8
OptimusBeard
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Your review = blah. The album = P.D.G
04:54 PM on 06/17/07
#9
ForeversLastDay
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Your review = blah. The album = P.D.G

His review = copied from Rolling Stone (word for word if I remember correctly).
11:09 PM on 06/17/07
12:46AM
is a brain in a vat
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His review = copied from Rolling Stone (word for word if I remember correctly).
bahahahahahahaha. i've never read rolling in my entire life. hahaha.

so, i guess i should take that as a compliment then? thanks, bud.
02:10 AM on 06/18/07
OptimusBeard
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His review = copied from Rolling Stone (word for word if I remember correctly).

WTF are you talking about? This review has literally NO resemblance to the RS review. Care to explain what the hell you were talking about?
11:11 PM on 06/25/07
beijingcarp
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Where have you placed your ears and your brain for that matter?

Why is there never a review written by someone who knows wtf they're talkiing about?

Dude these guys had been playing the Albuquerqe circuit w/ bands you've never even heard of (Afraid of Chaka, Johnny Cats), probably while you were still smashing your substandard noggin with your baby rattler. "Do they deserve it?" should be asked by someone with a cultural proficiency that extends beyond comparisons with Morisey and Eminem (or whatever you're referring to).

I don't know if I'd qualify as a "rabid Shins fan," but I've been around long enough to know that when these guys were writing lyrics that actually meant something (aka Flake, in a way that wasn't stricly reverb and distortion), everyone else was still riding the wave Nirvana created.

Do they deserve it? Go back to your Walmart-Best Buy (wherever) alternative section, do a little research (because you weren't old enough to be there) and write a journal article for your university music section. Keep to stuff you can write about, mind the scruples you didn't smash out with with the baby toys, and think about who and what you're writing about.

Do you deserve to write this article is a better question.

Cheers, James and friends,
Your friends in Cruces.
02:44 AM on 06/26/07
12:46AM
is a brain in a vat
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Where have you placed your ears and your brain for that matter?

Why is there never a review written by someone who knows wtf they're talkiing about?

Dude these guys had been playing the Albuquerqe circuit w/ bands you've never even heard of (Afraid of Chaka, Johnny Cats), probably while you were still smashing your substandard noggin with your baby rattler. "Do they deserve it?" should be asked by someone with a cultural proficiency that extends beyond comparisons with Morisey and Eminem (or whatever you're referring to).

I don't know if I'd qualify as a "rabid Shins fan," but I've been around long enough to know that when these guys were writing lyrics that actually meant something (aka Flake, in a way that wasn't stricly reverb and distortion), everyone else was still riding the wave Nirvana created.

Do they deserve it? Go back to your Walmart-Best Buy (wherever) alternative section, do a little research (because you weren't old enough to be there) and write a journal article for your university music section. Keep to stuff you can write about, mind the scruples you didn't smash out with with the baby toys, and think about who and what you're writing about.

Do you deserve to write this article is a better question.

Cheers, James and friends,
Your friends in Cruces.
I'm not sure where to start with this post, or if I should even start at all.

First of all, I am fully aware that The Shins were formed in '97. I don't need to be told that Flake was formed in '92. I do my research. It's not hard to do. I wasn't listening to them back then, but, in my opinion, this fact is largely irrelevant.

From what I could piece together from your rant, it's hard to tell what you're angry about. It seems as though you imply that, since the band is 10+ years old, it deserves success. If this is what you're trying to say, I'd have to respectfully disagree on that one, my friend. I grew up in rural Alberta. A little band called Nickleback, that you may of heard of, was formed (roughly the same time as the shins) about an hour's drive away from where I grew up. This group has been around for quite a while. They've worked moderately hard. Do they deserve to be widely regarded as "Canada's greatest musical group"? Of course not. Why? Because of their music. Not because of their work ethic. Same goes for The Shins, same goes for any band. The Shins' music is good, therefore, they deserve the success.

You don't think I deserve to write this review. You know, James and friends, I wasn't going to write this review because I couldn't find any of Flake's albums at Wal-Mart. Go figure. And since everyone knows that you need to listen to every note every recorded by the band you're reviewing, I almost backed down. And then there was the problem that I was only 21 years old. Shoot. I forgot that you have to be at least 33 years old to have a valid opinion on music. This website is aimed towards the "going on middle-age" market after all. Not 15-20 years olds like I thought. Silly me.

Throwing all my better judgment out the window, however, I wrote it anyways. The webmaster of this site seems to think my stuff is up to snuff, as he saw fit to post it. To me, that's a good indicator that I deserve to review it. I believe that anyone who can objectively listen to music and string together a couple decent sentences together deserves to write whatever they want to write.

You seem to fall under that category, James and friends, so I urge you; write your own review. If there is "never a review written by someone who knows wtf they're talkiing about", then write your own. Here's the link. I await your review filled with the band's largely irrelevant history. If not, I invite you to at least have an intelligent conversation with me about it (without having to resort to stinging insults regarding my near-fetal age). Perhaps I misinterpreted you.

And rest assured, my ears are firmly placed where I left them. Same with my brain. Cheers! That was kinda fun!
02:06 AM on 09/14/07
inkblotch
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I heard them on a little known collage radio station around were I live. I fell in love with the song split needle & a few others from the actual album. they're good & interesting lyricly. so I don't think being known as the Garden state band will hurt them too much. hopefully it'll just help get the word out that they exist.

I think Frou Frou, A.K.A Imogen Heap had a song off of there too. so I can't say it's horrible. maybe it'll help teach kids theres more out there then boy babds & woman that know how to shake the goods & sing at the same time.

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