22-20s: Got It If You Want It

Got It If You Want It is an odd album that capitalizes on the conglomeration of the bands influences to wind up as a faceless whole.


Got It If You Want It

Label: Columbia Japan
US Release Date: Import
UK Release Date: Import
Japan Release Date: 2012-03-07

On their most recent release, Got It If You Want It, 22-20s pay tribute to their influences throughout nearly every track on the record but fail to emerge as their own band. It's not an uncommon problem but it's rarely as prevalent and as evident as it is here. Worse yet is the bands tendency to drag perfectly fine songs a minute and half too long and dull their impact in doing so. Now, that's not to say these songs are bad because by and large they're solid throughout. They've got all the classic elements of great songs, it's just that there's really nothing new or exciting going on in them which forces the sound into something that comes off like true retread more than playful re-invention.

There's no doubt in my mind that 22-20s are talented enough to pull off just about any sound they want so it can become really frustrating to hear them settle on merely "good". None of the songs on Got It If You Want It are standout songs. Instead, they're songs that sound good but tremendously over-familiar. Most of their influences are easy to pick out over the course of any given song because they're the kind of bands that influence next to everyone (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, MC5, U2, Jesus and Mary Chain). Which makes it strange that 22-20s are at their most intriguing while channeling and implementing the psychedelic flourishes of late Beatles work.

While it's true that none of the individual songs stand out on Got It If You Want It as individual highlights, there's several that are filled with standout moments. Usually, they're the moments that play on 22-20s psych-pop influences like the syncopation and slide guitar on "White Lines" and the shuffling drums and bell taps on "Little Soldiers". However, these two tracks also serve ultimately as platforms for the vocal performances, which are all fine. They're tight in control, composition, and melody but bring the focus back to what plagues the record most: over-familiarization. Their frontman's vocals fall half-way between Bono and Matt Vasquez giving the listener the allusion they're already familiar with 22-20s yet again.

Perhaps 22-20s closest relatives are Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. However, BRMC have channeled their sounds into unique and complete sounding albums over the years, Howl in particular, which is something that 22-20s haven't quite gotten a hold on thus far. While Got It If You Want It certainly feels complete (perhaps even too complete), it doesn't have that sense of originality or urgency that could have elevated the songs here to greater heights than the standard they settle for. All these songs are classifiable as good songs but they never really uncoil into something all that worthy of attention. Yes, they're well-crafted and have some small moments of interest but they got bogged down in length and quickly nullify that interest, time and time again.

Ultimately, while Got It If You Want It is a solid albeit needlessly over-stuffed album, it succeeds in committing itself to its own standards. It succeeds in channeling influences. Most importantly, it succeeds in channeling the right influences in the right way. While it may not stand out, it's hard to argue a tried-and-true formula apart from the lack of originality but its much easier to applaud a faithful recreation of the right influences over a seriously misguided attempt at reinvention. Got It If You Want It is by no means a great album but it does serve as a pleasant reminder of some of the greats and inject hope that some of these influences will last for decades to come.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

Time has dulled the once vibrant approach of the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex.

When drummer Jimmy Chamberlin quit or was fired from the Smashing Pumpkins in 2009, he announced that he was going to focus his attention on the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. This was good news. The Complex's 2005 debut Life Begins Again was freewheeling and colorful, filled to the brim with psychedelia, heavy pop, and heaping dose of post-rock. Billy Corgan was there, Rob Dickinson was there, even Bill Medley contributed to a track.

Keep reading... Show less

Jesús Carrasco's debut is a tale of psychological brutality that is as rich as it is slow.

If you were born in the '80s or '90s, you may relate to the experience of picking up a videogame -- one frowned upon by the gaming community for being too difficult or frustrating -- and finding it delightfully to your taste, as it recalls the unwieldy and impractical adventures you grew up with. Such a game, you might feel, belongs to another age.

I could say the same of Jesús Carrasco's debut novel Out in the Open, the original edition of which caused quite the sensation in 2013, when it was first published in Spain. Reading it now, in Margaret Jull Costa's translation, feels very much like reading a book from another age, with a pace and a sense of focus that are quite unlike those of most published fiction today.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.