Teens of Denial
Thursday marked 5 years since the release of Car Seat Headrest’s tenth album, Teens of Denial. It was their first after getting signed, and also the first where the band was marketed as an ensemble rather than simply Will Toledo under another name. When I think about my favourite albums of all time, the majority of them were released in the mid-to-late 2000s, when my music taste was developing and I was coming of age. I feel like an album to be in consideration for my personal list, it needs to have been out for long enough that it’s provided the soundtrack to a significant part of my life. Relative to the length of time I’ve been listening to music, five years seems like the perfect arbitrary threshold, and Teens of Denial is jumping straight to the top spot as my favourite album ever.
It is a true pretentious-indie-bedroom-rock masterpiece. The composition feels fully fleshed out in a way that previous CSH albums didn’t, the guitars are driving and emotive, and Will had actually sort of learned how to sing by this point. Obviously the star attraction is the songwriting, which I adore; Toledo captures the awkwardness and insecurity of becoming an adult perfectly. Nobody gives you a blueprint, and as he opines on The Ballad of the Costia Concordia,
How was I supposed to know how to steer this ship?
It has a slew of lyrics I am obsessed with, including maybe my favourite song lyric that I’ve come across;
Whatever happened to that chubby little kid who smiled too much and loved the Beach Boys? / What happened is I killed that fucker / And I took his name / And I got new glasses
I got into the band just before the album came out (so I can just about say I knew them before they were cool), and I binged it on repeat for weeks afterwards, undoubtedly contributing to my love of it. Songs from it have been in my top 100 most played on Spotify every year since its release, and I’m sure it’s already on track to feature on the 2021 list too. Having seen the band live in 2018 too, I now have the accompanying memories of seeing the majority of the tracklist performed in person, which I cherish dearly.
It’s truly incredible, especially if your taste in music is as bad as mine. A slam dunk 10/10.