Joy as an Act of Resistance

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Joy as an Act of Resistance.
Idles-Joy as an Act of Resistance.jpg
Studio album by
Released31 August 2018 (2018-08-31)
ProducerSpace, Adam Greenspan, Nick Launay
Idles chronology
Joy as an Act of Resistance.
Singles from Joy as an Act of Resistance.
  1. "Colossus"
    Released: 29 May 2018
  2. "Danny Nedelko"
    Released: 4 June 2018
  3. "Samaritans"
    Released: 25 July 2018
  4. "Great"
    Released: 14 August 2018
  5. "Never Fight a Man with a Perm"
    Released: 2 September 2018

Joy as an Act of Resistance. is the second album by English punk rock band Idles, released on 31 August 2018 by Partisan Records. The album placed at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart, on 7 September 2018.

Background and recording[edit]

The band started recording the album in 2017. Singer Joseph Talbot stated "This album is an attempt to be vulnerable to our audience and to encourage vulnerability; a brave naked smile in this shitty new world."[3] The album's lyrics deal with toxic masculinity, love, self-love, immigration, Brexit, and class.[4] "June" deals with the death in childbirth of his daughter Agatha.[4][5] It also includes a cover version of the Solomon Burke hit "Cry To Me".[5] According to Talbot "lots of songs got scrapped because there was this pressure, which we were carrying but not talking about. We were trying to sustain the success of 'Brutalism', to basically remake it. So we kind of scrapped all the songs and talked about why we weren't enjoying writing it."[4]

The album was produced by Space and mixed by Adam Greenspan and Nick Launay. The album's cover art features a photograph of a fight at a wedding in 1968 that Talbot saw on Instagram.[6]

Four of the album's tracks were made available for download prior to its release: "Colossus", "Danny Nedelko" (named after Talbot's friend of the same name and singer with Heavy Lungs), "Samaritans", and "Great".

To promote the album, the band announced a world tour taking in Japan, North America, and Europe.[3] The day before the album's release, an art exhibition in London opened, displaying and selling artworks inspired by the album, with the proceeds going to the charity Samaritans.[4] An interview with Talbot aired on ITV News at Ten, discussing the album.[5]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[9]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[10]
The Guardian4/5 stars[11]
The Independent4/5 stars[1]
Mojo4/5 stars[12]
NME5/5 stars[13]
Q4/5 stars[15]

Jordan Bassett, reviewing the album for NME, awarded the album five stars, calling it "an instant classic".[13] Dave Simpson, for The Guardian gave it fours stars, describing it as "11 songs of focused, cathartic rage, rooted in their own experiences", and calling Idles "Britain’s most necessary band".[11] Mark Beaumont of The Independent also gave it four stars.[1] Dom Gourlay, for Drowned in Sound, called it "one of 2018's most eagerly anticipated releases", awarding it a score of 9 out of 10, and going on to say that it is "everything anyone could have wanted or expected it to be: Idles have released the most relevant and at times gut wrenching album of the year."[5] Classic Rock magazine gave it the same score, calling it "a heart-breaking but jubilant exploration of joy, honesty, fragility and expression as our most powerful means of human resistance".[18]

Ged Babey, writing for Louder Than War called it "One of the most inspiring albums I have heard for a long, long time. Punk Rock reinvented and not wearing a mask of masculinity or yoke of tradition, but a wicked smile and its broken heart exposed but still beating in its chest. Punk rock which instead of calling for Anarchy and saying I Don’t Care is shouting UNITY! and LOVE IS ALL."[19] Jake Kennedy, for Record Collector, gave it four stars, calling it "an album that manages to combine grief, self-loathing and a realisation that life’s better played honest, with a fine-tuned, brutal sound: something like bent sheet metal being hammered straight."[20] Ava Muir from Exclaim! applauded the album, saying, "IDLES turn trauma and anger into affirming lessons on Joy As an Act of Resistance, crafting a cathartic masterpiece that wears its heart — broken, but still beating — on its sleeve."[21] Ryan Drever, for The Skinny, gave it three stars, stating that "many of these songs raise some serious hell", but viewed the tracks as too similar.[22] PopMatters' Paul Carr gave it 9/10, commenting on what he saw as "a profound sense of joy on the album".[23]

Bob Boilen, writing for NPR, sat down with singer Joe Talbot for a track by track analysis of the album where Talbot described why he chose to write about his troubled past, the inseparability of the human portrait and political song, love, the death of his stillborn daughter and what it means to call oneself a parent, toxic masculinity, Brexit, his hate of tabloid journalism and more. Boilen stated that "The stories on Joy As An Act Of Resistance are taken from real life: a humane look at immigration through singer Joe Talbot's friend Danny Nedelko; the "importance of grieving parents' right to call themselves mothers and fathers"; the "horrid corners" of Joe Talbot's past all the while celebrating human flaws and professing love with a deep urgency." And that "Joy As An Act Of Resistance is a thoughtful attempt at loving one's self while also understanding the importance of community and trust."[24]

In the review for AllMusic, Liam Martin concluded that "Overall, Joy as an Act of Resistance manages to plumb new depths for Idles — that they've achieved another record in such a short space of time is admirable, let alone one that shines head and shoulders over the majority of their peers — and it certainly upholds their status as one of the U.K.'s most exciting new acts."[9]


Publication Accolade Rank Ref.
BBC Radio 6 Music Top 10 Albums of 2018
Fopp Top 100 Albums of 2018
Kerrang! Top 50 Albums of 2018
Mojo Magazine Top 75 Albums of 2018
Paste Magazine Top 50 Albums of 2018
Piccadilly Records Top 100 Albums of 2018
Rough Trade Top 100 Albums of 2018
The Skinny Top 10 Albums of 2018
Uncut Magazine Top 75 Albums of 2018

Track listing[edit]

2."Never Fight a Man with a Perm"3:48
3."I'm Scum"3:09
4."Danny Nedelko"3:24
5."Love Song"3:05
10."Gram Rock"2:29
11."Cry to Me" (Solomon Burke cover)2:14
Total length:42:14