Single Review: Coheed and Cambria – You Got Spirit, Kid

So I normally don’t do this, but today is a special occasion. I found out this morning that my favorite band Coheed and Cambria will release a new album in October called “The Color Before The Sun.” On top of that, they released the first single off their album, “You Got Spirit, Kid.” This is big news for those Children of the Fence like me, so I felt inclined to review this single, even though I have only reviewed whole albums in the past.

“You Got Spirit, Kid” has a runtime of 4:11, but the actual song only lasts about three and a half minutes. It is the stereotypical single: super poppy, upbeat, and radio-friendly (Unfortunately, it’s not very radio-friendly because of the mature language in the song). Coheed is known for doing this for every album in their discography. “Second Stage Turbine Blade” had “Devil In Jersey City,” “In Keeping Secrets…” had “A Favor House Atlantic,” “Good Apollo Volume I” had “The Suffering,” and “Good Apollo Volume II” had “The Running Free.” I don’t consider Coheed a pop rock band in the slightest, so hearing this overly poppy single doesn’t surprise me in the least. Despite all those poppy songs in their catalog, they stand next to epics like “The Willing Well” suites, “The End Complete” suites, and others. Whether this song will follow its predecessors, only time will tell.

The song in general sounds like an unreleased Prize Fighter Inferno track, being singer/songwriter/guitarist Claudio Sanchez’s side project. It’s hard to read too in depth into the song because of its size and not knowing how this song fits into the rest of the album. So I’ll just say this: It’s really catchy. It reminds me of that classic pop-punk sound they had in their older albums, which is also revisited in their not-as-old song “The Running Free.” Claudio inserts many ooohs, aaahs, and yeahs in the song’s chorus and bridge, which although sometimes I feel is an excuse to fill up time, is used perfectly to reflect the song’s tone. The rhythm guitar consists of simple power chords, accompanied by a soft lead guitar arrangement. The bass mimics the rhythm, and the drums rely heavily on the snare drum to carry the beat. All in all, Coheed met their goal of providing a trendy, mainstream, yet simple song.

And what’s my favorite part of this song? Actually, it’s the final 30 seconds, the gap between the song’s actual ending and the lead-up towards the next song. With an instrumental section containing sound manipulation and a more present lead guitar solo, the final moments remind me of nearly every ending of the songs off of The Fall of Troy’s “Phantom on the Horizon.” If Coheed follows a similar pattern, one can expect some bombastic intros in “The Color Before The Sun.”

Coheed and Cambria live
Photo by Guitar Center (Youtube)

Now here’s the game-changer that comes with this single, one that will more than likely divide Coheed’s fan base. For the first time ever, this song is not a part of the Amory Wars concept, a storyline that is told in their previous seven albums. I have to admit, at first I was pretty mad. How could Coheed leave behind the concept they’ve been playing with for over a decade?! This band doesn’t release concept albums, they’re a concert band. That’s what made them stand out from everyone else. Now that they aren’t following this concept anymore, what makes them different than any other rock band? Not much.

Like I said, that was my first thought. After some time to think about it, I have come to accept that this new direction is a necessary change. The Amory Wars has been a huge part of my life; it has helped me through some difficult times. I have watched the story evolve over the years, and I have matured over the same lapse. Now I’m 26 years old, married, and am a father. A lot has changed since my heyday of my teenage years, and you know what? Coheed and Cambria have matured as well. Two of the members in the band have recently been married and have had children. Just like me, they are going through a different stage of life as well. With these changes come new experiences, sometimes far different than what they experienced in their youth. I now welcome this change in sound, knowing that it perfectly represents who they are now compared to who they were. I feel if they had forced another chapter in the Amory Wars saga, then there is a good chance that the quality would have deteriorated as well. As a good friend phrased it, “we will always have In Keeping Secrets and Good Apollo.” This is true, and I’ll gladly replay these amazing albums.

Although I may have tangent away from “You Got Spirit, Kid,” I feel it is necessary for my interpretation of their latest song and upcoming album. I welcome this change of sound with optimism, but I won’t lie: I hope there’s another “Domino the Destitute” or “Welcome Home”-caliber song on this album.

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Check out the official lyric video to “You Got Spirit, Kid” below:

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