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Teens of Denial

by Car Seat Headrest

Released May 20, 2016 via Matador Records

Reviewed May 20, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales (57%), The Ballad of the Costa Concordia (42%), Destroyed by Hippie Powers (40%)

Ten albums into his illustrious career, Will Toledo crafted one of the most poignant indie rock records of the genre’s history. Filled to the brim with charm, angst and hilarious observation, Teens of Denial is one of the best examples of a complete contradiction at every step; it is raw but calculated, dense but free, and self-righteous but self-destroying. Lyrics focus on a malaise ridden young man trying his best to fit into society, while also being way too full of himself, but simultaneously not wanting to be a star. These feed into short poppy indie tracks that clash with raw indie epics and build to choking conclusions, as these stylistic hypocrisies make Teens Of Denial one of the most unique records of the era. It has a lot going for it, and at over an hour long, it wastes none of the runtime. One of the most consistently dynamic indie albums ever recorded. – Jared (9/10)

Car Seat Headrest's tenth studio album, Teens of Denial, is an indie rock monolith. At 70 minutes in length with little to throw away, it pulls off what quite a lot of hour-plus records fail to: consistency. It was released on the legendary label Matador Records, known for being home to acts like Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Kurt Vile, and Guided By Voices at different times. In other words, they’ve housed indie rock royalty. Produced by Steve Fisk, known for producing the majority of Unwound's discography, Teens of Denial has a tangible rawness to it. Will Toledo takes the lead role with his sarcastic take on teen angst. To a tee, he fills the pants of the dude that tried acid once at a festival and, quite literally, lives to tell the story. Toledo is lyrically witty and quite comical at times, but on the flipside, his vocals appear to be performed through gritted teeth, hating the spotlight. Teens of Denial offers a superb snapshot into the modern indie locale, as everything from 4-minute pop tracks to sprawling 10+ minute trips are covered. – Peter (8/10)

Hadley: 9.5/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Cam: 8.8/10 | Dominick: 8/10 | Peter: 8/10


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