Track Attack: Joyce Manor Still Sound Really Good On ‘Million Dollars To Kill Me’

Posted: by The Editor

Photo by: Dan Monick

Joyce Manor are one of those bands that benefits from staying basically the same. For almost a decade, the Cali group have been dropping consistently snappy, taut pop-punk songs that are snarky and kinda melodramatic, but also fun and surprisingly ageless. They’re the only emo-ish band of this era with a little bit of unironic swagger, and they’re the only one that could rock it, anyways. They sing about the impulsive, emotional tendencies that many of us, like it or not, carry through our twenties and beyond, and they’re really great at making them sound cinematic. A song like “Beach Community” would play during the scene when the protagonist is slumped down in the back of the bar, tossing back drinks and scowling at the loser their crush is flirting with across the room.

Music like that has about a tightrope’s length between saccharine and catty, and Joyce Manor have balanced on that shit for three (or four, depending on your fandom) albums in a row. Million Dollars To Kill Me (out September via Epitaph) will be their next go at maintaining that stance, and its titular lead single has produced nary a waver. “She’s the only one who can take you to a pawn shop / and sell you for twice what you’re worth / nobody tells you it hurts to be loved,” frontman Barry Johnson sings before and after admitting that without her, he’s just another heartbroken “asshole from a bar.”

Johnson’s almost completely done away with the gravely delivery of his earlier recordings, and the band’s production has stepped up significantly since they began working with producers like Rob Schnapf (Cody) and Kurt Ballou (Million Dollars). But Joyce Manor are still making short songs about big feelings, and they’re still sounding great while doing it. “Million Dollars To Kill Me” is yet another classic within their canon.

Eli Enis | @eli_enis

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