Yellow and Green

Band: Baroness
Album: Yellow & Green
Best song: “Cocainium” is the band at its best
Worst song: “Foolsong.”

There is a famous bit in the Beatles’ Anthology TV series wherein Paul McCartney answers the claim that the White Album is a bloated double album that could’ve used some trimming. He dismisses the criticism with “It’s the bloody White Album.”

Which, you know. That’s fair. But, also… Double albums are inherently a little much. For whatever reason – acculturation, attention span, whatever – double albums are almost always chocked full of filler. The White Album itself is an absolute classic, but it’s hard to argue that “Revolution No. 9” is really worthwhile or part of the record, as a whole.

And so we come to Baroness’ great pivot record and the band’s breakthrough, Yellow & Green. Coming off the Blue and Red records, the band softened a little, added more melody and made a classic. Or, at least, half a classic.

Because, like the Beatles’ opus, Yellow & Green’s second half pales in comparison to its first half. Again, maybe it’s because I’m acculturated to the 45-60-minute timespan or maybe because the record so announces itself with fury in “Take My Bones Away,” but the second disc is a mostly skip endeavor.

(Here is where I guess I note that the band went through some major turmoil after the record was released. The bus crash in 2012 put the band on hold and, to some end, changed the band forever. The band has since undergone lineup changes and, if I remember correctly, John Baizley had to relearn how to be John Baizley after his injuries.

“Take My Bones Away” is the kind of chromatic riff that the best metal and metal-adjacent bands master and Baizley has come up with something short (in the best way) of a singalong stadium anthem. “Little Things” shows his intricate guitar work, as well, with dueling guitars that eventually fuzz into a Thin Lizzy-esque outro.

“Cocainium,” though, is the album’s – and the band’s – best song. The dynamics portend later use of keyboards and rhythms and the vocals are Baizley’s best use of his voice. In its form, “Cocainium” shows Baroness’ ability to pace and to build, from the vocal harmonies to the arpeggio to the drumline.

Even without the keyboards, the song is brilliant, as shown on the Maida Vale live version

Like so much of Yellow & Green, the song is an anthem and an intimacy, all at once. A song of regret and addiction, “Cocanium” is the band at its best.

This entry was posted in Baroness. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • About Me

    I'm Ross Jordan Gianfortune. I am not a writer, but I sometimes write here about music and my life. I live in Washington, DC.

    I used to review each of Rolling Stone Magazine's top 500 albums of all time. Now I'm writing about albums I own.

    My work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Gazette, The Atlantic, Sno-Cone and a bunch of defunct zines.

    You can contact me at rjgianfortune at gmail dot com.

  • Recent Posts

  • The Bands

  • Shameless!

  • Last.Fm