What a Time to Be Alive

Superchunk - What a Time to Be Alive
Critic Score
Based on 19 reviews
2018 Ratings: #293 / 735
User Score
Based on 92 ratings
2018 Ratings: #520
February 16, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Merge / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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A.V. Club

What A Time To Be Alive is the rawest Superchunk album since the band’s 1990 debut and undoubtedly its most ferocious. The band’s well-honed style of highly melodic, punk-inflected indie rock remains, but with a serrated edge.

The Line of Best Fit
Never before have we heard such scorn spat from the mouth of iconic singer Mac McCaughan and, unlike anything they’ve recorded since their early singles the music is there to match; relentless, breakneck punk rock that can barely disguise its rebellious aggression.

What a Time to Be Alive is the work of a vital band making music that needs to be made right now. They wrap their hard-won wisdom in urgent punk anthems and deliver their pop songs with an electric punch. It is desperate, important, and powerful music and it might just be the best album they've ever made.


More powerful and focused than any of their recent records, the 11th Superchunk album is finally the one that feels genuinely urgent, both of a particular moment and built to outlast it.

The Skinny
This infectious record is a timely reminder that punk’s greatest trick has always been to make the isolated feel less alone.
Thirty years deep into their career, Superchunk throw yet another left turn into a career full of them, offering up a protest record about the people for the people. What a time to be alive, indeed.
Rolling Stone
He may be a disgraceful garbage-fire of a president but Trump has accomplished one good thing so far: He's inspired the best Superchunk album in recent memory.
The 405

What a Time to Be Alive is a minor miracle in that it provides an escape while acknowledging the depths of how fucked we are. It’s a hurricane of pop-punk fury with as much ferocity as anything the band recorded 25+ years ago.

Northern Transmissions
Through punchy guitars and lyricism that straddles poignant and cheeky, the album presses all the right buttons to give a snapshot of where we are right now.
FLOOD Magazine

Combining, as they always have, the irreverent with the thoughtful, the jittery and chaotic melodies reflect a nervous wreck of a world, one that seems to be in constant turmoil with no end in sight.

Crack Magazine
Nostalgia such as this never sounded so rousingly current.

Whilst being understandable in light of recent events, the incessant rant at US turmoil could prove difficult to consume for non-Americans. That said, there are plenty of power-punk melodies to ensure What A Time To Be Alive isn’t condemned to an early shelf life, even if to put it amongst their best work would be a stretch too far.

Under The Radar

All the raucousness of What a Time to Be Alive remains positive and upbeat despite contemplating situations of which so many despair.

Tiny Mix Tapes

If death and despondence feel like natural conclusions to being alive, then What a Time to Be Alive is the thrill of churning the natural into the transcendent.

Spectrum Culture

No attempt is made to stretch these songs out or noodle around; the band’s aim is to get the message across as quickly and as angrily as they can while still remaining true to themselves.

No Ripcord

Superchunk do come back full circle with a timeless, uniform body of work, though it also takes them back a few years after their late-career breakthroughs Majesty Shredding and I Hate Music.

At it’s best points the album is defiant in the face of a country it’s not in agreement with, however it also leaves us just wanting just a little more.
God Is in the TV

Disappointingly, what’s immediately apparent is from What A Time To Be Alive is that all of that vulnerability and nuance I associated with the band has been stripped from the production on this record.

Drowned in Sound
Long-time fans of the band could well find everything they are looking for here in a post-Trump Superchunk record, but there's little to elevate this decidedly average work above the line of anything curious new fans should get excited about.
"And your friends do not look fine
Half of them go underground
Half just disappear
Either busted like a union
Or reanimate with fear"

Fav Tracks: Reagan Youth, Erasure
After listening to the band's eleventh album and enjoying its punkish tunes, I couldn't understand what the title suggested, as there wasn't any evidence of innovation to support it.
Exciting! Visceral! Fun! But I don't want to listen to it again. It's nothing interesting, it's just propulsive and cool. Does that make sense? I have saved the opener and Erasure. The rest was good music. But. Eh.
Highlight - Reagan Youth
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Track List

  1. What a Time to Be Alive
  2. Lost My Brain
  3. Break the Glass
  4. Bad Choices
  5. Dead Photographers
  6. Erasure
  7. I Got Cut
  8. Reagan Youth
  9. Cloud of Hate
  10. All for You
  11. Black Thread
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Added on: November 8, 2017