Smith Westerns: Irresistibly Catchy
The members of Chicago's Smith Westerns were barely out of high school when they released this year's Dye It Blonde, which has already staked its place as one of 2011's best records. It almost goes without saying that a young, sensitive indie-rock band is going to exude charming naivete, and "All Die Young" is awash in it. In fact, the first two-thirds of the song read like the diary of a lovelorn teenager: "Definitely maybe I will live to love," Cullen Omori sings, adding, "Heart and soul / Never know."
But the swirling guitars and mid-tempo pace eventually give way to an accelerated, jangly sing-along full of vague but defiant proclamations: "All die young / Love is lovely when you are young / It takes all my time to be in love with you ... what do I do?" That mixture of tender wistfulness and youthful exuberance makes "All Die Young" a joy to listen to, although the irresistibly catchy choruses don't hurt, either.