Wincing the Night Away

 
Poetic indie rock that's smart and unobtrusive.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The obscure "Phantom Limb" is rumored to be about two young lesbians.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the Shins don't produce harsh music or inappropriate themes on their third album, but they do radiate wisdom beyond pre-pubescent years as a band, as noted by the angst-ridden title of the album. This is smart, mellow indie rock that belongs in a college dorm room just as much as it belongs in a junior high student's gym locker next to his first-ever deodorant.

What's the story?

In a highly anticipated third album, WINCING THE NIGHT AWAY, the Shins prove they are a stable mainstay of indie rock, vacillating between upbeat and daydreamy ditties that promise to sweep any kid away on a whimsical la-la-la musical journey. The Shins' sound is in full command of spacey sunshine pop with nuggets of head-rocking riffs shining through. Complex, abstract themes leak out of the Shins' lyrics, and happily create a free-flowing, meditative ambiance. \"Spilt Needles\" is a manifesto about growing up (\"We'll set you up with some odd convictions / because you're finally golden, boy\"). Surreal and slow-going about self-deceit and baseless faith, one excerpt from \"A Comet Appears\" croons \"I'm barely a vapor/ they shone a chlorine light on / a host of individual sins / let's carve my aging face off / fetch us a knife/ start with my eyes down.\"

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Basic melodies hold steady on this CD -- with soaring vocals, silly synths, light percussion, some strings, flutes, and an occasional electric guitar. Subtle twists come into play, like a few quips of hip-hop beats in "Sea Legs," skipping electronica in "Sleeping Lessons," and random surf rock in "Pam Berry." But most of the album's merit stems from curious wordplay that creates their mellow presence. The band's emotionally honest lyrics are never brutal, but are blameless and always inspiring.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how lyrics can take on the brilliance of poetry as a form of art. Sometimes they make sense in a straightforward way; sometimes words gush out in stream-of-consciousness, and sometimes they seem to have no pinpointed starting place or anchor. What are the benefits of expressing yourself this way? How does it impact a song to have such abstract lyrics? Kids can try writing some of their own conceptual words. How does it feel to write lyrics that are intangible?

Music details

Artist:The Shins
Release date:January 23, 2007
Label:Sub Pop
Genre:Indie Rock
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of Wincing the Night Away was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byBrando804 August 19, 2010
age 12+
 

Their Best Album

This is the Shins' album with the most variety and range of sound. From electric to classic rock sounds.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bylaurenxlame November 22, 2009
age 2+
 

perfect for everyone ever. amazing.

Okay this is the most amazing band I've ever heard. Their music is perfect for every age and I intend to play it for my kids someday in the future. It's ridiculously inspiring and helps me through rough times. The thing about the lesbians.. WOW. okay. first off i'm not a supporter of gay or lesbianism at all. i'm a christian, but i've gotta say in this situation.. if the music were talking about two young boyfriend and girlfriend it would NOT be an issue.. it's a song.. why should 'lesbianism' matter..? seriously? and also that message is so vague and "possible" that anyone who cares shouldn't worry. it's not like you'd know it had anything to do with lesbianism unless you googled it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byxevilascambriax April 9, 2008

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