366TAS: 7:10 – Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union

Let’s say you’re in a band and your band puts out a good album. A really good album. An album that’s top 10 or 20 of the decade good. How do you follow that up? You’ve probably already put out your masterpiece and in all likelihood, it’s all downhill from there. Is it good enough to put out just plain good albums? Okay albums? And what if you’re a fan of the band? Maybe that big album got you hooked and now you’re ready for a second helping and it falls short of the greatness of the previous release. How do you evaluate that? Does it lose points for not measuring up to impossibly high standards of the band’s prior album? Is that reasonable?

These are some of the questions surrounding Titus Andronicus today, having followed their outstanding 2010 album, The Monitor with their latest release, Local Business, just a few weeks ago. I’m still getting familiar with the new album at the moment so this is still a preliminary opinion, but early returns suggest that Local Business is merely okay. I certainly didn’t expect another Monitor; that would have been unrealistic. But when I put together 2012’s year-end rankings, how will the way I approached the new album matter? Do I subconsciously give these guys the benefit of the doubt and rank them higher than I would otherwise? Do I subconsciously compare their albums and give them demerits? I’m not sure. Last year, I dealt with a similar situation with TV on the Radio, but I also had more time to spend getting accustomed to Nine Types of Light than I will with Local Business. Stay tuned for the results on that one…

In the meantime, “A More Perfect Union” kicks off the aforementioned instant classic album. The Monitor is an album in the truest sense of the word. Themes are consistent across the album and each track flows seamlessly into the next such that only a careful listener will know when one track ends and the next begins (much like last year’s great Gang Gang Dance album, Eye Contact). So integrated is the whole album that I’m not even sure which songs are which parts of the album. Taking a track out of the context of the album and it loses a good bit (but not all) of its impact, so I would definitely suggest checking out the whole album. That said, if you’re going to start somewhere, you might as well start with the album’s opener…

A More Perfect Union – Titus Andronicus

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