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Million Dollars to Kill Me is the follow up to 2016’s Cody, a record entrenched with the concept of growing up. It seems only natural then, that Joyce Manor use this record as an outlet to ask the question, “What’s next”?
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Like Cody, MDTKM is poppier and more melodic than the Californian punk outfit’s earlier releases. Not afraid to pay homage to their history though, Manor blend both their past and present sounds—and it’s this that really makes the record shine. The ten tracker is punchy and punky, particularly on tracks like Up The Punks, but it also houses some mid 2000’s inspired indie chords. There are Britpop esque hooks, fun little harmonies, boptastic drum fills and some massively retro vibes (Silly Games has a HUGE Beach Boys feel)—but there’s also the melancholy moments (see: Gone Tomorrow) that the five piece have become synonymous with.
It’s almost as though the Cali crew had the chorus of Blink 182’s Dammit on repeat for the duration of the recording of this album.
Throwing concerns of love, money, doubt and confusion into the ring, Joyce Manor have almost flawlessly depicted the struggles of adult life with this record. The only real let down are the lyrics, occasionally coming of as an angsty teenage Facebook status. Take the track, I Don’t Mind. Lines like “I hope they take your worthless life and put it to a fucking end” are vitriolic, but they’re also incredibly fucking cheesy, taking away from the maturity and polish of the rest of the record.
MDTKM comes full circle with Wildflowers though. Like the sun rising after a dark night, the closer houses some massively optimistic vibes, pushing the message that hope persists through all the struggle.
It’s almost as though the Cali crew had the chorus of Blink 182’s Dammit on repeat for the duration of the recording of this album. Million Dollars to Kill Me shows a matured band—one that’s taken the words “well I guess this is growing up” as a mantra. We for one are all for it!
STANDOUT TRACKS: Big Lie, Million Dollars to Kill Me, Up the Punks
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