Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
By Gabe Baker
Regardless of what you may have heard, Titus Andronicus’ second album The Monitor is not “about” the Civil War. The Monitor is about being young and depressed and hopeful and eloquent. The Civil War elements, like the samples taken from speeches by Abraham Lincoln, are a framing device or metaphor for an internal war that most of us have fought at one time or another.
The Monitor confirms that Titus Andronicus has grabbed the baton from the Hold Steady and is now the young band most effectively emulating that raw power and joy of 1970s-era Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.
Much like the Hold Steady, Titus wraps their Springsteen influences in a dirtier, punkier package. But on The Monitor, Titus goes one step further, aping classic E Street drum rolls and guitar leads while convincingly singing that “I’ve destroyed everything that wouldn’t make me more like Bruce Springsteen.”
So when Titus rolls into the Tractor Tavern on September 12, there’s no doubt at least half the crowd will be singing along to the first chorus of “Theme from ‘Cheers’:
“So let’s get fucked up, and let’s pretend we’re all okay
And if you’ve got something that you can’t live with
Save it for another day, all right?
Save it for another day.”
Those who have been through the wars and come out the other side will nod along to the third verse:
“I need a whiskey, I need a whiskey right now
God knows how many times I’ve said this before
But I really don’t feel like doing this anymore.”
But all will share in the rock n’ roll benediction that closes “To Old Friends and New”:
“Well it’s alright the way that you live
It’s alright the way that you live
It’s alright now.” – (8/10)