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JAMC's "Damage and Joy" is a 90's "love-letter" album

Artificial Plastic Records
"Damage and Joy" is the new album from The Jesus and Mary Chain.
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ALBUM REVIEW: The Jesus and Mary Chain – Damage and Joy  (Artificial Plastic) 2017

Born in 1994, I was a product of alternative and punk rock.

Growing up, I was raised to listen to all types of music in order to gain appreciation for something that brought everyone together. It wasn’t religion, it wasn’t politics; it was music.

Music has been and always will be the great equalizer.

Through good days and bad, I switch between various sets of music. One day it might by old school hip-hop with hits from Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur and the next might be Dave Brubeck and the Rat Pack. The one genre that I can always go back to is where my love for music began.

Alternative and punk rock have been the rock I can stand my ground upon.

That is why it shocked me when I first heard of the album Damage and Joy by The Jesus and Mary Chain.

I wasn’t surprised by the sound or the lyrics.

I was baffled that I never had heard of them. This was a mistake I plan to rectify.

The Jesus and Mary Chain is a Scottish alternative rock band that was formed in East Kilbride in 1983. By 1998, the group had released six major studio albums with production companies like Blanco y Negro and Creation, and hits like "Head On," from their 1989 album Automatic.

It’s a group that revolves around the creative lyrics of a partnership of brothers William and Jim Reid. Along with the other two band members, they have focused their lyrics to speak to the people and tell their story instead of pandering to those who might pay.

In today’s musical climate, this is a refreshing turn of events.

After their release of their 1998 album Munki, the band stopped releasing music altogether.

The first three albums made it to silver and gold and their success spread throughout the world to places like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and eventually the United States.

Nineteen years later, The Jesus and Mary Chain released their new album with Artificial Plastic called Damage and Joy.

As a man who enjoys more than his fair share of Nirvana, Weezer, Green Day and Foo Fighters, this album felt like home. For those who listen to music past their regular playlist, the moments of finding artists you’ve never heard of and loving what they have is few and far between.

In these moments, cherish them.

Damage and Joy has 14 tracks that blend seamlessly together with a sound that is their own while sounding like a love-letter to those that came before them.

Influences of Pearl Jam and Weezer can be found throughout the album and I couldn’t help but smile the entire time I listened to this album. What these 14 tracks have is a song for everyone to beat their foot to the floorboard of their car as they course down the open highway.

One of the things I found interesting about this album is that there are songs where I have to question if the album if it is alternative rock by the first chords.

I don’t view this as a negative; in fact, I think it’s intriguing.

Many artists are told by record companies that they need to fit a certain niche and stick to their lane. N.W.A will always be gangster rap while Metallica will always be rock metal, right?

What each song provides is a difference in story. One song can be a song that I’d thump my head to by the strings of a humming electric guitar and rhythmic drum. The next song has me swaying back and forth and listening to the lyrics of a group criticizing the world around them.

Each element of the album works in conjecture with one another while not overshadowing one or the other.

Simply put, this is rock bliss.

The song that stands out to me in this album is track seven called “Los Feliz.” I came for the rock sounds blaring in my ear and I stayed for the lyrics that spoke languages I’ve only ever read before.

This track plays like a Tom Petty song while talking about American culture and the hypocrisy of the words from the powers that be.

“God bless America,” they sing. “In the land of the free wishing they were dead.”

I might not agree with what they say but it was their lyrics that stuck with me. It was music that had something to say and God, how I’ve missed that.

Track two is called “War on Peace” and it might as well be the modern rebel yell.

“What if I run? Where will I run?” they sing before the sounds of the raging guitar rave into the speakers and take us home to track 3 called “All Things Pass.”

Overall, Damage and Joy is a love-letter for those who lived through the 90’s and early 2000’s.

It speaks for those who want music with a meaning and will stay for those yet to discover them.

For more information on The Jesus and Mary Chain and their current American tour, go here.

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About the Author

Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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