‘40 oz. to Fresno’ album – the good and the bad

(Graphic by Catherine Eldridge | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s note: Credit for the graphic is now correctly given to Catherine Eldridge, our graphic design chief. It was originally accredited to Cole Bertelsen, the assistant copy chief.

Joyce Manor released its newest album, “40 oz. to Fresno,” on June 10, 2022. While some listeners may find this album to be less distinct and artistically profound than its other albums, like “S/T” and “Never Hungover Again,” fans of Joyce Manor can undoubtedly rely on this album for an interesting assortment of B-side tracks.

The album’s opener, “Souvenir,” is successful in showing the band’s depth with its range of instrumental highs and vocal lows. 

The next song on the track is “NBTSA,” short for “never be the same again.” It is as if the band is telling its audience they are evolving as a band and “may never be the same [band] again.” Even so, “NBTSA” is the most streamed song on the album. This comes as no surprise, as the song plays out like a classic punk rock anthem.

“Reason to Believe,” the third track, is one of the catchiest on the album. The beautiful blend of lyrics, methodical instrumentals and vocals ensure a long-lasting impression on the listener.  

Fourth on the track list, “You’re Not Famous Anymore,” is another excellent piece as it highlights the fear of downfall many hardworking punk bands face. Although Joyce Manor is thriving as a band, the lyrics describe a character who is not as lucky in stardom but is “working in a grocery store” with “no meet and greet, no UK tour.” In this song, it seems Joyce Manor is thoughtfully vocalizing its own fears and insecurities of potential failure.

Although “Don’t Try” is littered with the same shaky, anxious rhetoric, the song’s vocals and instrumentals portray a longing for the old days –– possibly for a time before the creation of the band.

Opening with a series of unique guitar licks, “Gotta Let It Go” does not disappoint. It confidently addresses the song prior, “Don’t Try,” through a sense of hopeless acceptance over the past while maintaining a cheery punk sound.

Following is “Dance With Me,” a definite change in direction for the remainder of the album. The song moves away from the dreary nature of Joyce Manor’s most notable lyrical components. As the seventh track on the album, it focuses more on the good side of life with a bright tune that keeps the listener engaged.

“Did You Ever Know” is not exactly a good or bad song, but rather somewhere in between. The bubbly vocals and enthusiastic instrumentals keep the track from flopping –– but just barely.

Last up is the ninth track on the album, “Secret Sisters.” This final track is a loud conclusion to an unstable album. It is certainly not the best on the album; it could even be classified as one of the worst. The song’s lack of creative lyricism and only a few interesting guitar licks makes it a subpar track.

Overall, Joyce Manor’s newest album, “40 oz. to Fresno,” is good, but doesn’t meet the hype of the band’s earlier works. Joyce Manor goes on tour early this year; perhaps this album is better heard live.