What’s Yours is Mine? Eh, You Can Have It Back: Cold War Kids ‘Mine is Yours’ Album Review

Band: Cold War Kids
Album: Mine is Yours

Musically, this has been a good year for me.  Bands I enjoy like Radiohead, TV on the Radio, Spoon and My Morning Jacket have all put out some good music in the last few months.  Cold War Kids album Mine is Yours is the only big disappointment.

If you haven’t heard of them, Cold War Kids are an eclectic rock group who have put out two full-length albums plus a handful of LPs.  They’re known for their mixing of musical genres, their edgy lyrics, and purposefully using dischords and dissonance in their music.  Unfortunately, that’s all gone (for the most part) on Mine is Yours.

When it comes down to it, Mine is Yours is just another bubbly pop album coming out at a time when we’re oversaturated with bubbly pop.  The worst part is, while Cold War Kid’s music used to be rebellious and at times pessimistic, their new stuff is all pop anthems that are not so dissimilar from the stuff Katy Perry or 30 Seconds to Mars insist on mass-producing, despite my protests.

Rock music in particular I feel has grown to be way too anthemic, overloaded with lyrics to the effect of “everything is alright,” or “our love will keep us together,” and that sort of thing.  But what about anti-establishment rock music?  That’s what rock music used to be, and that’s why so many people turned to it (I’m starting to sound like a curmudgeon).  Now, all the rock music I hear seems to be yelling “Up with the status quo, down with anti-social behavior.”

I’m okay with one or two anthemic songs per album, and sometimes anthemic songs can be good.  Radiohead’s Reckoner and All I Need I guess are anthemic, and so is TV on the Radio’s Will Do.  Those are all perfectly fine songs.  But when an album starts and ends on anthems, and has more in between, it leaves me feeling jilted, like I missed out on personal material and protest songs.

Usually, when a band releases an album that resembles pop more than their previous work, I assume they did it so they’d have something to play in front of bigger audiences.  Such was the case with Yeah Yeah Yeah’s most recent album It’s Blitz.  First I had mixed reactions to all of the synthesizers and techno style beats, but when I went to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s concert, I saw how the crowd reacted quite jubilantly to the new material.  So when I heard Cold War Kids new album, I thought now that they were more popular, they’d need stuff to entertain larger audiences.  The weird part was, when I saw Cold War Kids at the Roseland (same place I saw Yeah Yeah Yeahs) the audience didn’t respond much at all to their anthems, with the exception of a few teenyboppers who sang along.

There are a few good tracks on Mine is Yours.  Another problem though is that a lot of the songs that I originally liked then grew thin, such as the title track Mine is Yours.  It’s kind of a fun anthem, but lyrics like “You change your colors like leaves in fall,” and “I don’t own the sun I don’t own the moon,” are just too cloying after a while.  So if you’re interested in Cold War Kids, I’d say pick up their last two albums and, instead of buying Mine is Yours (which would be paying for a lot of so-so songs) just download the songs “Sensitive Kid,” “Royal Blue,” “Louder Than Ever,” and “Cold Toes on the Cold Floor,”–those are the only ones that didn’t wear thin for me.  Or you can just listen to them below (I didn’t make any of the videos).

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What was your opinion of Cold War Kids Mine is Yours?

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