The Walkmen: “Juveniles”
Over the course of a calendar, KUT features 260 songs of the day from a wide range of artists, each one catching our collective ear. For the last two weeks of the year, we’ll be highlighting the best songs of the day from 2011, featuring big names, new discoveries, Studio 1A exclusives, and some tunes that might have gotten lost in the shuffle in the past twelve months.
If you decide to break down the lyrics to many of their songs, the experience of listening to The Walkmen could be kind of a bummer (there’s a song on their latest LP, Lisbon, called “Woe is Me,” believe it or not). But as many critics have noted in the past, the quintet – who began in our nation’s capital and now call New York City home base – somehow make its sad-sack songs sound hip and confident, even convincing.
They’re often aptly compared to their New York City counterparts, The National, with shimmering guitars and heavy drumming at the forefront of most of their songs. And, especially on “Juveniles,” frontman Hamilton Leithauser’s muttery vocals weave in and out of the heavy sonic atmosphere with ease.
But there’s nothing easy about the theme of “Juveniles.” It’s a needy appeal from our abandoned narrator. And yet, the tune feels up-beat and promising – especially in this live performance captured exclusively for KUT just before South By Southwest 2011. It’s this juxtaposition that makes listening to The Walkmen a non-bummer. In fact, you might even call the experience enjoyable.