ALBUMS OF THE DECADE: Tokyo Police Club’s ‘Champ’

MMC Writers reflect on their favorite records of the 2010s.

I have a very personal relationship with Tokyo Police Club’s 2010 album, Champ, and it is still one of the best pop rock albums of the decade. The Canadian outfit outdid themselves on this album, providing hit after hit.

The album shows off the skills of every member of the band. Guitarist Josh Hook nails this album, drawing attention to his skills without ever taking over Dave Monks’ vocals.

Opener “Favourite Food” starts slow, but don’t let that fool you. It picks up and becomes a glorious pop song, warning you to “have your seatbelts strapped and your helmets on.” The next track, “Favourite Color” is a love song in the most traditional sense, as Monks sings of getting to know someone. “Now we’ve got the keys to an apartment we share, and we stay up as late as we like,” he says, asking them about their favorite color.

The clutch track of the record, “Bambi,” lies smack dab in the middle.

Remember that personal relationship of mine? I have a tattoo with the “Bambi” lyrics, “A tiny kingdom at the bottom of the trees.” The line finishes, “where I was always a winner and I was barely alone.” Driven by the syncopated keyboard of Graham Wright, the complex guitar work during the verses makes the words stand out.

Rounding out a spot for all of the band members, “Hands Reversed” features an unusual beat set to a slower pace that puts drummer Greg Alsop at the front.

It’s hard to balance my feelings about Champ. In one way, I cannot believe it’s been out for so long. And in another way, I feel like it has never not been a part of my life.

This one is special, worth listening to over and over.

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