Japandroids’ second album stands as proof that the rock gods love us and want us to be happy.
A riotous album filled to the brim with guitars, drums and life, 2012’s Celebration Rock witnesses the duo taking their explosive punk rock sound to new anthemic heights. The tracks here are among the best stadium songs of the 2010s, and yet the down and dirty dive bar energy of the band remains.
The album opens and closes with the sound of fireworks, immediately letting you know the immense scale of the party that’s about to start. The first track, “The Nights of Wine and Roses,” is an ode to being alive and finding yourself, even if it is through smoking and drinking. “We don’t cry for those nights to arrive / we yell like hell to the heavens,” sings guitarist Brian King, before drummer David Prowse joins him in the chorus. Then the two just straight up yell to fully unleash their joy.
Japandroids makes an incredible amount of noise for a two-piece, and you won’t miss the bass as the guitar and drums crash over you with such forve. The middle of the album revisits the more raw sound of 2009’s Post-Nothing, especially the uptempo “For the Love of Ivy.” Things get especially nostalgic on “Younger Us,” which has the band remembering all the nights that they said “fuck it” and went out drinking.
The peak of the album, of course, comes in the next-to-last track, “The House That Heaven Built.” I dare you to listen to this track without smiling. It’s the kind of smile that swells up from around your stomach and completely overtakes your face, without realizing you were smiling in the first place.
During the bridge, as King sings “But you’re not mine to die for anymore / so I must live,” and the drums come back in, the giddy ecstasy of the album comes through, and the song ends in a tremendous, head-banging rock fest.
It’s impossible to be sad listening to Celebration Rock, and it remains, in my estimation, the best album of the 2010s.