Pissed Jeans - Why Love Now (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Pissed Jeans

Why Love Now (2017)

Sub Pop

Pissed Jeans exist to bother you. They want to crawl under your skin and live there, confronting you about your mundane existence and throwing it in your face. They constantly find new ways to rupture their core audience. On Why Love Now, that means bringing in some help.

Lydia Lunch—a veteran of the no wave scene—allows Pissed Jeans to dig deeper into their own oddities. For a band that focuses so much on masculinity or lack thereof, Lunch truly brings a new dynamic. In a Rolling Stone article Lunch said, “If they didn't do what they were supposed to do, I was gonna give 'em a good ass-whipping." This must have pushed and excited the four members. While Why Love Now is a continuation of their signature sludge, Pissed Jeans sound newly invigorated—held accountable for their actions. When vocalist Matt Korvette admits, “I used to play punk, now I’m just singing the blues,” on “Waiting on My Horrible Warning,” a clearer vulnerability exists. The same goes for the aptly titled “The Bar is Low,” about how good a guy can be if he’s never caught. “Have You Ever Been Furniture” leans on the group’s favorite subject—the pangs of a humdrum life. This is a depressing album. One that bashes you over the head one moment (“Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst”) only to make you feel like you’re sitting in your own filth the next (title-track, “Activia”).

Korvette’s known for diverse, unregulated topics: a list that now includes men being ignored on camera for sexual pleasure. But nothing shows growth more than the Lindsay Hunter led “I’m a Man.” HOLY. SHIT. Korvette has never shied from holding a mirror up to the fragility of man, but in two minutes and forty seconds Hunter eviscerates everything else on Why Love Now. Told from the perspective of a woman being harassed at work, Hunter is unforgiving in her descriptive nature. With barely more than Sean McGuinness’s hi-hat she snarls as the titular man, “Where’s your boss? Don’t answer that ‘cause he’s right here. I’m pointing at me. I’m your boss. Get me a coffee and dip your undies in it.” It is one hundred percent discomfort.

Why Love Now really feels like collaboration. Yes, Pissed Jeans are sludge punk pros but Lunch and Hunter bathe in brutal reality. They’ve come in and taught the boys a lesson in honesty they didn’t even know existed. As a whole, Pissed Jeans have put out the best, harshest, yet most listenable album of their career.