So I’m about to inspire the wrath of hipsters everywhere when I say this: I like She Wants Revenge. I’ve heard all the complaints lodged against Justin Warfield and Adam 12. They’re cliché and trite. Their lyrics suck. Their songs all sound alike. And worst of all, at best, they’re derivative of Joy Division; at worst, they’re straight up plagiarists.
I understand all of those arguments and, in many ways, agree with them. Their schtick is a bit overdone, to the point of annoyance. Their sound is pretty monotonous. They are too much like the 80s bands they claim to update, stealing stuff from The Great Ones, such as Joy Division/New Order, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, and the Cure.
And worst of all? They approached their first self-titled album like they were reinventing the musical wheel with Warfield making grandiose statements: “There are plenty of bands operating within a context and genre right now, but if you take away the wardrobe, belts, and make-up, what is really being said? If it's nothing that's okay too, some music is just for dancing or wallpaper. But we are trying to speak to people as we were once spoken to, and whether that results in dancing, crying, or people wanting to f--k to our music, then so be it. We take this very serious.” Sure you do. Too bad no one else does.
But you know what? I still love them. I loved their debut album enough to drag both Maise and Mr. Maise to their concert at the rather shitty Metro during a Cubs night game (the Metro is directly across the street from Wrigley Field, making parking during such events an absolute clusterfuck). I couldn’t get enough of their infectious monotony, to the point where coworkers caught me on more than one occasion rocking out in my office. This was particularly embarrassing when I was caught rocking out to “These Things”, which if you’ve seen the video, you’ll know it’s not entirely appropriate subject matter for the office.
Their second album, This Is Forever, offers much the same as their first album: Lots of insipid lyrics. Lots of monotonous tunes. Lots of riffs plucked straight out of 80s goth-rock. And I still love it. Admittedly, this album loses some of the catchy hooks that had me bopping to their last album, but after listening to it regularly for the last few days, it’s grown on me, perhaps like a fungus. From the industrial-sounding opening instrumental, “First, Love”, to the rehash of “These Things” with the song “She Will Always Be a Broken Girl”, to the catchy close, “Rachael”, the music is fun and oddly addictive, despite its flaws.
Moreoever, if you enjoy SWR’s general kitsch (which I do), you’ll enjoy this album. Just don’t tell the hipsters.