This Friday, Merge Records’ cornerstone artist Superchunk releases What a Time to Be Alive, and NPR is currently streaming the whole damn thing. Since it’s the much-loved band’s first new album since 2013’s I Hate Music, and we are who we are, you’re probably expecting some sort of “what a time to be alive!” pun here, because it’s pretty amazing that we can listen to Superchunk’s new album before it comes out… but we simply will not do it. We’re better than that.
It’s probably best to just let the experts do the talking here. NPR says that What a Time to Be Alive, an “unapologetic response to a united state of turmoil during the last year,” is “one of the most fun and contagious records Superchunk has ever made.”
“It would be strange to be in a band, at least our band, and make a record that completely ignored the surrounding circumstances that we live in and that our kids are going to grow up in,” says Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan, resisting the urge to engage in wordplay with his band’s new album title. He added that the world is in a “pretty dire and depressing situation,” but he adds that the new record “is not dire and depressing to listen to.”
Written almost entirely between November 2016 and February 2017, What a Time to Be Alive was recorded and mixed by Beau Sorenson, who also worked on I Hate Music. The record also features a slew of guests, including Sabrina Ellis from A Giant Dog and Sweet Spirit, Katie Crutchfield (a.k.a. Waxahatchee), the Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, David Bazan, and more.
You can pre-order What a Time to Be Alive over at the Merge store; it’s currently availbable on CD and standard LP, or from your preferred digital service. For the more discerning and patient vinyl collector, there’s a limited edition pink-in-clear Peak Vinyl version (pictured here), in stock this Friday at participating independent record stores.
Superchunk hits the road this week, and shows are selling out fast. What a time to be a concertgoer! Ah, damn, we punned after all. Shame on us.
What a Time to Be Alive Track List:
01. What a Time to Be Alive
02. Lost My Brain
03. Break the Glass
04. Bad Choices
05. Dead Photographers
07. I Got Cut
08. Reagan Youth
09. Cloud of Hate
10. All for You
11. Black Thread