Love Is Dead by Chvrches
Just barely missing out on their second #1 album in a row, here’s Glasgow, Scotland’s Chvrches with their third fantastic album, Love Is Dead. Chvrches (pronounced “churches”) has been a mainstay on the Top 31 since their debut album came out in 2013 and was #4 that year. Two years later, their follow-up, Every Open Eye, was the best album of 2015. And this new album marks their third straight 4th-or-better release, a phenomenal run by any standards.
Clearly I have a bias, but dancey pop music really doesn’t get any better than Chvrches. The trio, featuring Lauren Mayberry on lead vocals, and Martin Doherty and Iain Cook on synths and additional vocals, is defining an entire genre of sound for a generation. Just looking back at the lower albums in this year’s Top 31, Chvrches fingerprints are all over. Janelle Monáe, Christine and the Queens, and Wye Oak are all producing similar sounds, and that’s just within the Top 10. But Chvrches is the best.
My family agrees. I had the immense pleasure of taking my son to his first-ever, true concert, seeing Chvrches this past September, and it was glorious. The band put on their usual amazing set, and Mayberry bounced around the stage, amping up the crowd. My son is not one for big displays of emotion in public, so catching him singing along quietly to himself during the songs he knew was a big highlight for me. And if Dirty Computer is my daughter’s favorite album ever (she’s 15 months old), then Love is Dead is definitely her 2nd favorite. You should see the smile across her face when she hears those keyboards kick on.
It really feels as if Chvrches can do no wrong. Three albums, all at or near the top of their respective years’ releases. There are some great songs on this new album. “Miracle,” shown above, is one. There are two other videos from the album: “Get Out” and “Graffiti.” Matt Berninger, lead singer of Bacon Review favorites The National, also makes an appearance, on the song “My Enemy.” That song is a result of the two bands being on the same bill at Treasure Island Music Festival back in 2015, when Mayberry joined The National on stage for their song “I Need My Girl.” I love it when the bands I love have unexpected chance encounters and then decide to make music together.
With every new Chvrches album, I think maybe they’ve hit the peak, and the next one will see them backsliding. But then the new album comes out and it’s stellar. I like this kind of trajectory, and I look forward to listening to new and great Chvrches albums for the rest of my life.
3. Twin Fantasy (Face to Face) by Car Seat Headrest
4. Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe
5. The Horizon Just Laughed by Damien Jurado
6. Chris by Christine and the Queens
7. Wanderer by Cat Power
8. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Courtney Barnett
9. The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs by Wye Oak
10. Ruins by First Aid Kit
11. Cocoa Sugar by Young Fathers
12. Loner by Caroline Rose
13. Big Red Machine by Big Red Machine
14. I’ll Be Your Girl by The Decemberists
15. The More I Sleep the Less I Dream by We Were Promised Jetpacks
16. Joy as an Act of Resistance by IDLES
17. Hell-On by Neko Case
18. Superorganism by Superorganism
19. Living in Extraordinary Times by James
20. Thank You for Today by Death Cab for Cutie
21. Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar
22. Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film) by Thom Yorke
23. Merrie Land by The Good, the Bad & the Queen
24. Room 25 by Noname
25. WARM by Jeff Tweedy
26. God's Favorite Customer by Father John Misty
27. Vessel by Frankie Cosmos
28. For Ever by Jungle
29. Twerp Verse by Speedy Ortiz
30. Remain in Light by Angélique Kidjo
31. This One’s for the Dancer & This One’s for the Dancer’s Bouquet by Moonface