7. Stars – The North
I hope Canada is proud of Stars. They have constantly produced quality work yet have remained underground since the turn of the millennium. Their sixth album, The North, is the closest they have come to matching the irresistible yearning beauty of Set Yourself On Fire. The North comes to us like a rainbow after a devastating thunderstorm. Here the band is feeling the positive energy of a good life: thankful, loving and gracious. Even songs like the title track while full of regret try to find the positivity in the situation. “Sleep is my friend and my rival,” Torquil Campbell sings as a man trying to come to grips with his decisions. A few of the songs here are about songs as if the band is trying to preach the power of music to the uninitiated. “Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Get It” warns that the love in music is not the love of real life and tries to inspire the listen to better themselves: “Take the weakest thing in you/And then beat the bastards with it.” And this isn’t the only violence music either. You can imagine what “A Song Is a Weapon” is about and “Do You Want to Die Together?” is the most rocking song they’ve done. Yes, their view of happiness is twisted, but it’s certainly more Addams family than Manson family.
Favorite songs: “The Theory of Relativity,” “Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Get It,” “A Song Is a Weapon”