This entry is part 9 of 16 in the series:
Critiquing Albums Like I Could Make Anything Better
I mean this in the best way possible, but if you like any Wombats song, you’re going to enjoy all of them. They’ve definitely found the sound that works for them and build from there. Fix Yourself, Not The World is their fifth studio album.
On this album, they’re still the same old Wombats they’ve always been, but it’s polished, purposeful, and it’s clean. I love the titles on this album, but generally, that’s relatively consistent with all their work. I get drawn in by interesting titles all the time. My Favourite Wombats song is, without a doubt, Lemon to a Knife Fight from the Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life album. Case in point.
This album is explorative, thoughtful and yet seamless. It was damn near impossible to rank the tracks because, honestly, every single one is insane and gorgeous in its own right. But here goes anyway.
Flip Me Upside Down
First and foremost, this song’s got attitude. The first verse is an excellent representation of just being pessimistic and bored and irritated by life, and then the song ‘flips upside down’ (see what I did there), and it gets incredibly upbeat. The pre-chorus is gorgeous and really breaks up the song, making it more dynamic inflow which is, of course, fantastic as an opener song for this album. The percussive element of this song really is what makes it so fun.
“Spare me the drone of your conversation
Spare me my lack of sophistication
I’ll never set my house in order
Peruvian flake on the plant in the corner
And I don’t want to sit around and just get high
Pat you on the back saying, “Great job, guy”
I’m all dressed up and getting no replies
Then you walk in the room and my tongue gets tied”
This Car Drives All By Itself
This is the equivalent of the designated soft ballad for this album. It is, in my opinion, the calmest song on the album, and yet it’s still upbeat and fun. I love the use of echo and choir in it. I love the little energetic guitar just before the steady bridge. It’s hopeful and still characteristically pessimistic. My only gripe is that I’m not a massive fan of older generations nodding to youth activism through music. I find it tacky, but I also think it’s cool that they didn’t avoid mentioning the past few years’ events on this album. The band said this song was a more contemporary way to say, “we aren’t as in control of our lives as we think we are”.
“And this car drives all by itself
And the kids aren’t wrong”
If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You
This might be my favourite song on the album, and it could also just be the one that I’ve listened to the most. But there’s something so homely about the classic chord progression overlayed with the sonic synth and the lyrical beat. It’s fun and feels as classic to The Wombats as Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves).
“You know I’ll do whatever you want me to
Throw a banquet in a moshpit
I’ll get out of bed, stop listening to Radiohead
Take you out of this, your reluctant optimist”
Ready For The High
This one is just sick. It’s the one I’d put in a movie soundtrack. It’d be amazing to see it live. I love the drums and the swelling guitar with the less energetic chorus, which is highly ear-wormish. There are orchestral horns toward the end. It’s very valiant as a song. It really pushes the brim of the genre, and it does so perfectly. It’ll be stuck in my head for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with it.
“I’m ready for the high life
A kiss without a fistfight
A bang without the dynamite
A place I want to stay”
Method To The Madness
This has been played repeatedly on the radio for the last few months, but that’s fair, honestly. I think it was the first single off the album, and it definitely seems like the right song to put out during lockdown. It’s probably the only song you could reasonably cry to on the album. But it’s beautiful. It’s not often that I find the star of a Wombats song to be the vocals, but in this case, it is. The subtle beat before the explosive bridge really drives home this band’s talent for creating suspense in their songs.
“Fuck my sadness, and fuck your roleplay
No construction, I’ll build it my own way
No more subscribing, and no reviews”
People Don’t Change People, Time Does
What really hooks me in about the Wombats is their lyrics, and lyrically this is my favourite song on the album. The walk-down guitar during the chorus definitely helps, but it’s really just a song to learn the words and be mind-blown.
“And we’re all trying to get better
And we’ve all had quite enough
Of this pleasant displeasure
But people don’t change people, time does”
Everything I Love Is Going To Die
There’s something so wonderfully nostalgic about this song. It’s upbeat above all else. It’s got someones laugh embedded in it, which I thought was cool for a song with otherwise somewhat dreary lyrics. It’s got attitude as well. It’s a bit of an ego bop. It wouldn’t be a Wombats song without a few obscure references.
“Everything I love is going to die
So baby keep your big mouth shut and stop wasting my time
Icarus was my best friend
So I’m gonna make him proud in the end”
Work Is Easy, Life Is Hard
This song sounds like the self-satisfaction you get from making a witty, sarcastic comment toward someone you don’t like. If there’s an angry jam on this album, this is it.
“Yeah, but that’s not the point
Can I forward you a quote to explain?
I’m gonna need you all to raise your voice
But if it doesn’t sound like mine, please abstain”
This is yet again a fantastic example of how great these guys are at cultivating anticipation in their songs. It starts out with a very summery beach drive song, and then there are also alien invasion vibes scattered throughout. I love the exploration here. Compared to the other songs, I don’t necessarily like it as much, but it’s a fantastic song, and there’s nothing to complain about here nonetheless.
“Let’s go back to the ’60s
Find a drug to fix me”
Don’t Poke The Bear
This is probably the least explorative song on the album in terms of instrumentals; however, I appreciate it because it’s easy to listen to and write about because of that. The drum pattern that comes in through the bridge is my favourite part of the whole thing.
“Guess I’m always blinded
By the emperor’s new clothes
There’s always something lurking
Down the rabbit hole”
This is one of my personal favourites, and I’m not sure why. I love the talking; I think it’s extremely fun, it’s got an undeniable beat, and the lyrics are fantastic, cryptic and pessimistically funny. I might have made this the last song on the album if it weren’t for the next song’s obvious necessity.
“Superstition’s a wasp at your picnic”
Fix Yourself, Then The World (Reach Beyond Your Fingers)
This song is dreamy; it’s a great wrap-up and change of pace for the album’s entirety. It’s short, distorted, kind of sad but ultimately, it’s a great breathe to end the album with.
“I don’t wanna lose myself in someone else’s game
I’m gonna stay right here in the Californian rain”
- If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You
- People Don’t Change People, Time Does
- Work Is Easy, Life Is Hard
- Everything I Love Is Going To Die
- Flip Me Upside Down
- This Car Drives All By Itself
- Method To The Madness
- Ready For The High
- Don’t Poke The Bear
- Fix Yourself, Then The World (Reach Beyond Your Fingers)
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