I have never listened to an album where only two words (Fall In) can get me as pumped as any rock ballad, heavy metal song or even “Mercy.” The bitter emotion that Baldi puts into his voice as he shrieks out those words over and over is so raw and pure that I can find nothing else from this year to compare it to. And then I multiplied that feeling of hearing “Fall In” when I saw them live by about 1000 and Attack On Memory became my second favorite album of the year. This album represents one of, if not the best moment of my life: the Pitchfork music festival I attended this summer in Chicago. It was a time of pure music and pure energy where I was surrounded by people that care about music as much, if not more than me and actually listen to the same kind of things that I do. It was such an eye opening experience to be surrounded by people who actually knew who Danny Brown was, let alone Cloud Nothings.
I can still picture that rain soaked mosh pit and all the people that I was with better than whatever mindless activity I did yesterday. I can still see the cloudy sky, feel the rain dripping down my back and mingling with the sweat that was condensing under my already sodden shirt. Music is about having and making connections and my favorite albums always have a major time in my life associated with them. Pitchfork and Attack On Memory are so closely intertwined, all I can do when I scream the lyrics “I NEED TIME TO STAY USELESS” to myself, is picture that crowd in Union Park in July and the pure joy that was reflected on everyone’s face.
Musically, this album is short and sweet. Eight tracks with a run time of under 35 minutes, it’s a testament to Cloud Nothing’s skill as song writers to create such a master piece in such little time. There are beautiful mixtures of punk and rock that make this album one of the most perfect to mosh to but also sing along to. The lyrics are simple enough to learn, even on the spot and the choruses are pure energy and the way Baldi articulates them is almost like a challenge to the listener to see if they can be as obnoxious and coarse with their voice as he can. The melodies and guitar riffs all fit perfectly with the stunning vocals and even when there is a long stretch with out any singing, the build-ups and rhythms that the band employs are so interesting that there is no need for lyrics.
This year was a year of live music for me and it all began with seeing Cloud Nothings at Pitchfork. I realized how intensely music has become a part of my life this year and I thank this album and this band for unleashing my love onto the world of music. The minute that the crowd in Union park began screaming “I THOUGHT I WOULD BE MORE THAN THIS” along with Baldi for the band’s last song of the setlist, I knew. I knew that I had made a transformation from someone who likes music, to someone who needs music to survive. As the what sometimes feels like an endless buildup of “Wasted Days” began to climax and the crowd was whipped into even more of a frenzy, I remember thinking there is no where in the world I would rather be than right here, drenched in sweat and rain, bruised from the monsters that were moshing with me and hardly able to see from the steam and rain that covered my glasses with a thin layer of moisture. My fingers were beginning to turn into prunes, but as the song built and built I became more and more agitated, ready to unleash my pent up energy one last time before the band had to leave. Never have I experienced such a construction of a song live, and as I moved my body faster and faster, the impending lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks and I joined in the singing one more time, leaving my soul out there on that field. Attack On Memory will always be more to me than just an album. It will be my symbol of my true love of music.