Pumpkin Spice Lattes Are Overrated. These are Songs of Note, 10/19/12
This week, we track the Ice Level, ride in Little Black Submarines, and toe the Party Line.
Sure, let’s all go crazy every fall when Starbucks loads you up on cinnamon
Every year, I get unbelievably excited when the fall comes around. It marks the end of spontaneous sweating in New York City’s subway stations, AKA Satan’s armpits. It marks the time of year when I can start wearing hoodies, which allow me to put my hands somewhere while I walk and/or stand around. It also marks the time of year when everybody falls over themselves with excitement at the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Facebook status messages about them in all caps abound, probably because it’s the only way to correctly convey via text how much sugar you’re hopped up on. Listen, I’ve fallen for the trap myself, even writing as much on this very blog, but I was young and stupid way back in the fall of 2011.
I stick by what I said in that post about the beer, as Brooklyn Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale, and ESPECIALLY Blue Point’s Pumpkin Ale are life-changing products. Why? Because they’re not loaded with cinnamon sweet flavoring by the purveyor, blowing smoke up your ass, and calling it “pumpkin spice.” When that happens, as is the case at Starbucks, it’s just spice. That’s it. Actually, the reason Blue Point and Brooklyn Brewery make such good pumpkin beers is that they don’t overpower you in any way. They’re subtle. I could even describe them as exquisite if I were a douche bag. Ever have a Saranac pumpkin beer? It’s a bottle of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal that’s been soaked in beer, and I won’t stand for it. I will not stand for the bastardization of our idea of what pumpkin should taste like, and neither should you. Now LISTEN, the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks is delicious, but not in any authentic way whatsoever. If you ask me, which I’ll pretend you did, you should be going with Starbucks’ OTHER fall flavor, the Salted Caramel Mocha. If you’re going to go balls to the walls in sweetness, do it right. That’s a delicious coffee that’s worth the ensuing years of insulin injections.
Now that I’ve lowered the hammer on the Pumpkin Spice Latte, I realize that people might come at me with the following retort: “But wait, what about the Peppermint Mocha you always go on about? That shit’s overrated too, broham.” First of all, if you say that, you’re a monster. And I’m referring to the word “broham,” not the rest of it. The rest of it makes you misguided at best, and a lowlife permanent marker sniffer at worst. My only response to that is COME AT ME BRO, as the Peppermint Mocha, one of the best things about the winter holiday season, and is so correctly rated that if you challenge that assessment, I may have to delete your number from my phone if you say otherwise. A worse punishment, I cannot imagine. Why? When’s the last time you deleted a number from YOUR phone? Exactly. I have names and numbers I don’t even remember on mine. But I digress.
Ava Luna bring their vaguely-similar-to-Dirty-Projectors vibe with Ice Level, a song with two distinct acts that you’ll want to hear both of, as vocals are traded off almost exactly halfway through after a steady build up that falls away. New releases by The Black Keys have stopped appearing on Spotify after the release of Brothers in 2010, but their singles manage to sneak onto the service, including the also dichotomous Little Black Submarines, which starts off as a quiet acoustic ballad that explodes with rock fervor a minute in and never lets go. My friend Sarah (who’s Tumblog can be found between these two parentheses) brought Kopecky Family Band to my attention, and I couldn’t be more glad that she did. Heartbeat is the lead single from their upcoming album Kids Raising Kids, possessing a heightened, catchy energy that dares you not to clap along. Actually, the whole album, available for a free early listen just below, possesses a similar energy, and I suggest you check it out.
Enjoy the music.