Review Saturday: Japandroids – “Near To The Wild Heart Of Life”


“Near to the Wild Heart of Life”
Near to the Wild Heart of Life

Welcome back Japandroids! Five years after the universally beloved, Celebration Rock, and boisterous anthem, “The House That Heaven Built” , this Canadian duo never forgets how to formulate a rock-anthem. Their third album, Near to the Wild Heart of Life, is probably one of the most anticipated albums for rock fans and January 2017 feels like a long time. But the title track that opens the album, “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” may sate people who have longed Japandroids’ new music for five years since after their Celebration Rock tour ended in 2013, they practically are gone and make us wonder if they’re really gone for good, if the two albums that Japandroids produces are just good illusion.

“Near the Wild Heart of Life” resembles the Japandroids’ “The Nights of Wine and Roses”. Both start with quiet sound, but instead of firework, “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” starts with noise until King’s guitar riffs and Prowse’s drumbeat starts to kick in. It’s not until when King begins to sing, that we fully believe that Japandroids actually returns from the dead. As the opening track of the album, “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” fits. “The future’s under fire/ the past is gaining ground”, King sings, acknowledging that the future, although unpredictable, lays ahead of him and provides a lot of great opportunity. Pretty much, “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” describes the coming-of-age fairy tales when people start to move to new place and live a new life, figuring out life and making mistakes. It sounds scary, but it’s a journey that must be done since the old place confines you and your actual talent. “And it got me all fired up/ to go far away”, King screams in the chorus so restlessly, as if he tried to reassure that this journey offers a lot of things in store. “I used to be good, but now I’m bad”, he refrains, saying that when you will begin with a blank slate and all the goodness and everything you have are now gone.

Japandroids’ “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” is structured in a Freytag-approved structure, with a quiet noise that begins the song as the exposition, the second chorus is the rising action, where a bar girl kisses his cheek and wishes he luck as he’s about to go on a voyage, and climaxes at the third chorus where he begins to miss everyone at home and wonders if this is good decision after all. Japandroids may be gone for five years, but how he makes a song that’s resonant with out life is the reason why they’re still relatable. Until now. And probably forever.


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