Danko Jones: Below the Belt

About two years ago, I picked up Danko Jones’ Never Too Loud and, well, I didn’t care for it. I don’t think I’ve listened to it since then. Since then, I ordered his b-sides collection (named, creatively, B-Sides) and enjoyed it, but I still wasn’t holding out a lot of hope. And yet, when I was surprised to find Below The Belt at the record store – seriously, I need to start paying more attention to release dates – I decided I’d give it a chance. I never learn.

Sometimes, it’s good to not learn from past mistakes.

Danko Jones is one of those acts that does one thing really well – in his case, it’s loud driving rock songs about sex, rock, personal awesomeness, and the non-awesomeness of others – and Below The Belt is a return to form. Really, I could go through the whole album and assign each song to one of those categories, and I am perfectly fine with that. Before the first song is over, Jones is threatening to “fuck you up.” On lead-off single Full Of Regret, Danko doesn’t bother mourning lost love, so much as a lost evening. Although… I can’t quite figure out the symbolism behind the song Magic Snake – whatever could that mean?

The highlight might be the album’s closer, I Wanna Break Up With You. If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d draw a pie chart showing that this song was 10% about sex, 25% about personal awesomeness, and 65% about the non-awesomeness of others. What starts as a spirited list of grievances leads into the chorus, a lilting choir of Dankos declaring their intentions of moving on. The happy Danko choir also sings “I hate you” at one point, which I shouldn’t find as funny as I do. There’s no self-pity here and this is is not Song For The Dumped – this is Song For The Dumper Who Has Been Waiting A Bit Too Long For This Moment And Is Going To Make It Count. Eventually, the song breaks down (breaks up?) into an army of Dankos leading a chant of “break up, break up, everybody break up.” This should be a single.

I love you, Danko Jones. Let’s never fight again.

(P.S. I totally gave in and I’m listening to Never Too Loud now, and, yeah, it’s still nothing special. Sorry, dude. We cool?)

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