This past Sunday night, I had the privilege of seeing Idles live in Columbus. Perhaps the wildest concert I've seen to date, the live setting really brought these songs to life even more than the album performances (if that was even possible). It really got me thinking about what makes Idles special...
There are a handful of things that seem to be sure-fire absolutes in punk music:
1. Politically-charged, brazen lyrics that are easy to follow and reflect the times better than most other music
2. A group that represents the current frustrated "common man"
3. Incredibly passionate and charismatic performances
It feels very special that a blue-collar group of guys, coming from what seems to be a shrinking voice in the world, are still tuned-in with modern life enough to make probably the most relevant album of the year so far. I think that's a main reason why traditional-sounding punk like this isn't as often-made anymore - the people who would make it (blue collar scoundrels) aren't at the forefront of pop culture anymore. It's not the group who we look to for the voice of the upset/oppressed - hip-hop artists have very greatly grown into those shoes, what with the world moving more towards academia-based professions and the poor rural white being replaced by urban minority communities as the voice of the frustrated and underprivileged. Idles clearly doesn't feel like a vanity act or a band that embodies the music of an older time without actually living the part either - it doesn't feel throwback or phoned-in, because it isn't. It sounds like five guys from a forgotten part of society with very up-to-date and rebellious ideals. They couldn't be more relevant because their look and their sound is closest to the community who needs the most updating. Idles is special to me because, when looking at modern music's biggest mouthpieces for the oppressed, they're standing next to a bunch of rappers right now, and they're just as relevant.
Favorite Tracks: almost every one of them (Television is my current favorite song of the year)
Least Favorite: Cry to Me, Great