Year 4, Day 9: Arkells – Jackson Square
- Pullin’ Punches
- Oh, the Boss is Coming!
- The Ballad of Hugo Chavez
- Tragic Flaw
- No Champagne Socialist
- Heart of the City
- I’m Not the Sun
- The Choir
- John Lennon
About the Album
Jackson Square is the debut album from Canadian alternative rock band, Arkells. The album is also the band’s first full length studio album, released through Dine Alone Records. The album was recorded in 2008 and released later that year on October 28. The album is named after Lloyd D. Jackson Square, a shopping mall in the band’s home city of Hamilton, Ontario.
Thoughts on the album
The Arkells are one of my favorite bands… like top 10. I remember I got hooked on them from hearing their song Whistleblower from their album Michigan Left. After buying and listening to Michigan Left, I went out and bought their debut album, Jackson Square. This album is great for a debut. Most debut album suffer from meandering intros and tracks that seem to go on forever.
This was the album that made them seemingly household names, especially with the first single: Oh, the Boss is Coming! Then the band followed up that single with an equally big single, The Ballad of Hugo Chavez. The album itself is standard textbook rock and roll. It’s piano driven ballads fused with bluesy riffs, upbeat pop/rock tunes, and guitar smashing anthems that will please any music fan.
It’s not like the songs are anything new or innovative, they are just a lot of fun to listen to. The first single from the album, Oh, the Boss is Coming! is the everyday working man’s anthem for those who hate and spite their bosses. The Ballad of Hugo Chavez is a track from the perspective of Venezuelan President after his arrest in 1992. I’d argue the most underrated track on the album is John Lennon. It’s the catchy and sing along chorus that si the gem of the track, as well as the piano hook and sarcastic/snarky conversational writing style.
Overall, Jackson Square is a hell of an album. It’s no nonsense rock and roll. If Darryl Hall and John Oates are blue-eyed soul, then the Arkells are black and blue-eyed soul. The album itself isn’t some kind of classic nor is it going to bring about a musical revolution of sorts, but it will provide you enjoyment from listening. It’s a great album from one of Canada’s now biggest bands.