Cold War Kids - New Age Norms

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In 2018, Cold War Kids were on tour at the same time Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music was dropping projects with alarming frequency—Kid Cudi and Kanye’s KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E., and Pusha T’s DAYTONA, among others. Those short, sharp albums—around eight songs each—became the soundtrack of the Cold War Kids tour bus and inspired the band’s own three-volume set, beginning with New Age Norms 1. “Every week or two another one would come out,” guitarist and lead vocalist Nathan Willett tells Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “That feeling of digesting that amount of music in that form felt like the freshest, funnest thing to me.”

New Age Norms finds the California indie pop band warming to new ideas and sounds in a compact eight-song space. Check out the Farfisa organ and jump beat on “Fine Fine Fine.” The coastline comes into view on the upbeat love song “Waiting for Your Love.” They explore soul on “Dirt in My Eyes” and the silky “4th of July.” Cold War Kids show they can make a tour bus anthem akin to Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead of Alive” on “Beyond the Pale.” The album opener “Complainer” sets the tone of this new era. The midtempo proto-disco dance beat and Willett’s near-falsetto draws you in, and the crucial line “You say you want to change this world, don’t sit around and complain about it” keeps you locked in. “It’s not a political message but a simple message,” Willett says. “It’s a slap on the behind to get out and do something.”
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