Mine Is Yours
|Mine Is Yours|
|Studio album by Cold War Kids|
|Released||January 25, 2011
(see release history)
|Recorded||February – March 2010 at Ocean Way Studios, House of David, The Smoakstack and The LBT in Nashville, Tennessee
August 2010 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California
|Length||44:24 (Standard edition)
53:57 (Deluxe edition)
|Label||Downtown, Interscope, V2|
|Cold War Kids chronology|
|Singles from Mine Is Yours|
Following the mixed reception of 2008's Loyalty to Loyalty, the band sought to work on new material that spanned the course of three months in Nashville and California after two years of touring. Produced by Jacquire King, responsible for the mainstream success of fellow American rock band Kings of Leon, the album marks as a departure from the band's dark blues rock-influenced folk tales heard in their previous albums into a more mainstream sound with lyrics that talk about personal relationships.
Mine Is Yours debuted at number 21 on the Billboard 200 and spawned four singles (two official and two promotional): "Louder Than Ever", "Skip the Charades", "Finally Begin" and "Royal Blue". The album received a mixed response from critics, with reviews divided by the band's change in sound and lyrical content. To promote the album, the band toured across North America and Europe with appearances at music festivals and talk shows. Mine Is Yours was the band's last album to feature lead guitarist Jonnie Russell, who left for personal reasons.
Background and recording
After the release of their seventh EP Behave Yourself, Cold War Kids went to Nashville to work on new material for their next album. Instead of writing songs and recording them quickly, they spent two months together on the material they worked on. Lead singer Nathan Willett found this new experience to be "[It was] much more spread out, [it was] much more broken down and built up again." The band found the approach different than in their previous album Loyalty to Loyalty, in which the record felt rushed and Willett said that, "[A] lot of our good ideas went unfinished. Nobody was there to tell us, "This is good, but it could be better."
The album was produced by Jacquire King, who previously did albums for Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse and Tom Waits. Willett was surprised by King, commenting how King would interject himself into the recording process with advice and allow his artists to brainstorm ideas until they come up with the answer. The production featured reverb-tinged guitars and drum machines that were considered new to the band when they came across them during recording.
Music and lyrics
The album's lyrical content and overall sound differ strongly from the band's previous albums. Many critics were split about their sophomore album Loyalty to Loyalty, with criticisms ranging from songwriting to vocal performance. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Willett said that he went back to Long Beach after two years of touring to perfect his voice and write lyrics that came from his personal life. He also said that one of the influences that inspired him was Michael Stipe and R.E.M. saying that, "They started with the kind of lyrics that were more or less kind of just good-sounding words, and then kind of moved into really revealing something about themselves — that was my goal." Aside from Stipe, other influences that Willett was inspired by were Woody Allen (Husbands and Wives), John Cassavetes (A Woman Under the Influence) and Jonathan Franzen (The Discomfort Zone).
Lyrically, Mine Is Yours uses a first-person narrative in its songs, whereas previous albums were more character-driven. Willett explained that Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence got him to write songs about men-women relationships. The second single, "Skip the Charades", was based on "the idea of using charades in a relationship[s]" and "relationships being very theatrical," and the song "Bulldozer" is about "plowing over a relationship to start over again on fresh soil," he says. The lead single, "Louder Than Ever", was described by Time as a song that "isn't a breakup song so much as a we-need-to-talk anthem." The song "Sensitive Kid" was about Willett's time in high school during his parent's divorce.
Many critics noted that the production throughout the album was reminiscent of bands like U2 and Coldplay. Willett also alluded to some White Stripes influences in the single "Skip the Charades" as well: "It's as big as a White Stripes song," he says. "But as melodic and arranged as something that Coldplay wishes that they could write."
The lead single, "Louder Than Ever", was released digitally on December 14, 2010 (officially on January 24, 2011) and peaked at number 31 on the Alternative Songs chart, their fourth top 40 hit on that chart. A music video was created for the single and premiered on January 2011. A second single, "Skip the Charades", was released on February 8, 2011 on SoundCloud, only making it on the Rock Digital Songs chart at number 43. A music video was created for the single and was released on iTunes on June 22, 2011.
The song "Finally Begin" was released as the album's first promotional single on March 7, 2011 and peaked at number 99 in the Netherlands. A music video, directed by drummer Matt Aveiro, was created for the song and it premiered on March 15, 2011. The song "Royal Blue" was released as the album's second promotional single and peaked at number 94 in the Netherlands. The title track, although not released as a single, managed to reached number 23 on the Rock Digital Songs chart.
The band performed eight songs from the album at a Pioneertown concert on November 5, 2010. They followed that up with several appearances at music festivals to help promote the album. They performed a medley of "Louder Than Ever" and "Royal Blue" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Last Call with Carson Daly from DeLuna Fest, "Louder Than Ever" on the Late Show with David Letterman, gave a performance at Jack White's Third Man Records that was recorded and released on March 2011 and made festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza Chile and Coachella.
On November 30, the band announced a few UK tour dates to promote Mine Is Yours ahead of its release, beginning with Manchester Academy and finishing at London's KOKO club. On December 1, they announced again that they were going on a 24-city spring tour across North America to go along with both their UK and latter-half 2010 tour dates, beginning with Portland, Oregon's Crystal Ballroom and finishing at Oakland's Fox Theatre.
Mine Is Yours received mixed reviews from music critics, who were divided by the band's sound and lyrical content. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 55, based on 21 reviews.
Ryan Reed of the Boston Phoenix said "On Mine Is Yours, everything is bigger. King's reverb-tinged production puts the focus on the band's surprisingly tender melodies and slow-burn rock arrangements; the result is 11 melodic, economical tracks that deliver huge hooks without sacrificing instrumental dexterity." John Freeman of Clash found the album more enjoyable than the 'solid but oddly unsatisfying' Loyalty to Loyalty, finding praise in Nathan Willett's songwriting to be "deep into fractured relationships for inspiration and the resultant openness, coupled with King's deft nurturing of Willett's soul-searching, has created the finest Cold War Kids album yet." Rudy Klap of Sputnikmusic commented on the quality of both the songwriting and production, finding unevenness on both throughout the album, but still found it to be "a damn good rock record through and through [...] there's an accomplishment to be praised." He also said that the album will divide fans.
Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times also commented on the divisive take the fans will have with the album, as well as its lack of uniqueness. AllMusic's Heather Phares noted the album's newfound polish and maturity differing from the band's previous releases. Josh Modell of Spin was critical of Nathan Willett's performance, divided by the tone he used throughout the album, and the songs overall saying "A couple of songs succeed on their own terms, but most float unmemorably down the highway of not-quite-modern rock."
In a negative review, Kevin Liedel of Slant Magazine considered the album to be a "crushing disappointment" concluding with, "Mine Is Yours is not just the questionable effort of a once-promising band, but perhaps even worse: a work of obviously borrowed ideas from a group highly capable of succeeding with their own." Sean O'Neal of The A.V. Club graded the album a D+. He found their sound to be "dulled for maximum accessibility" coupled with "uninspired melodies" and lyrics that were "formless" concluding with, "Mine Is Yours is the bland sound of a band trading identity for ambition." The most critical about the album was NME's Katherine Rodgers who found some of the tracks to be generic and found the highlights to be "asphyxiated in lubricious studio slime."
Mine Is Yours debuted at number 21 on the Billboard 200, their second album to appear in the top 50 and in the same position as their previous album, despite selling 4,000 fewer copies. It additionally charted in several territories but was less successful than Loyalty to Loyalty. The record debuted at number 9 in Australia (whereas Loyalty to Loyalty reached number 20) and stayed there for an additional four weeks. It debuted at numbers 56 and 85 in Austria and Switzerland respectively before leaving the next week; their only charting album in those countries to date. However, it did poorly in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, charting at numbers 54, 128 and 84 respectively (whereas the previous album charted at numbers 29, 48 and 68).
All songs written and composed by Nathan Willett.
|1.||"Mine Is Yours"||4:16|
|2.||"Louder Than Ever"||2:44|
|5.||"Out of the Wilderness"||4:07|
|6.||"Skip the Charades"||4:25|
|10.||"Cold Toes on the Cold Floor"||4:06|
|11.||"Flying Upside Down"||4:18|
|Deluxe edition bonus tracks|
|12.||"Don't Look Down on Me"||2:31|
|iTunes bonus track (pre-order only)|
Adapted from the Mine Is Yours liner notes.
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||9|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||56|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||54|
|French Albums (SNEP)||128|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||85|
|UK Albums (OCC)||84|
|US Billboard 200||21|
|US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)||5|
|US Digital Albums (Billboard)||7|
|US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)||5|
|France||January 24, 2011||Digital download, CD, Vinyl||Cooperative Music|
|United States||January 25, 2011||Downtown, Interscope|
|Germany||November 21, 2011||Downtown, Cooperative Music|
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