Album review: Super Powered Love by Kirby Krackle

Those of you who have been reading for a (very) long time may know of my obsession with nerd rock gods–er, band–Kirby Krackle. I’ve reviewed their first album (and somehow missed reviewing their second). I love these guys, not just because of the subject matter of their songs, and not just for their clever lyrics, but because they are easily the best sounding nerd band out there today. (All of their songs are available for free listening on their website, so I suggest you check it out!) All the other cool things about them aside, KK has always had a FANTASTIC range when it comes to the kind of songs they can do. This really helps them fit the music to the lyrics of a given song and–while the change in musical styles can be a bit jarring if you aren’t expecting it–it ends up elevating their albums (and their live shows even more so!) and helps keep things sounding fresh and fun.

With the recent release of their third album, Super Powered Love, I thought I’d go ahead and do another track by track rundown. Why? Because they are awesome, the album is awesome, and all involved deserve it! I’ve also included a link to the song on KK’s YouTube account, so you can listen to any or all that you like.

1. Then Again, Maybe Not

Great way to kick off the album, and does an excellent job of showing off exactly what Kirby Krackle does so well. It’s upbeat, fun, and the lyrics tell the story of a hero locked in a constant battle with his arch-nemesis…although it’s not exactly the kind of battle you might think.

2. Bite of Another

We’ve all been there, right? Out walking the dog, get bit by a vampire, turn into a creature of the night? That’s what happens to the protagonist of this song, who takes his new living situation better than you might expect. (The immortality helps take some of the sting out of it, I’m sure.) Extra good news: this vampire does not sparkle. I love the guitar work in this song especially, since it’s not often you get to hear KK lay down that straight-up rock n’ roll grind that they do here.

3. Booty Do Math (yeah, your read that title right)

Okay, I hate math. Like, really hate it. I hate doing math, I hate hearing math, I hate thinking about math terminology. And in spite of that, this is easily the song, not just from this album but from KK’s entire repertoire–that I find the most fun, and find myself singing at random intervals in the day. (It was also the first song from this album whose lyrics I learned in their entirety, which is quite a feat when you consider that part of it goes, “arithmetic sequence, call me on the weekend/Practice polynomials, then I know we all will/Come together and sing this song/I wanna see that booty do math”).

Without a doubt the catchiest song on the whole disc, and–with the POSSIBLE exception of “Great Lakes Avengers”–the absolute most fun to hear live. It also features a guest rap from another one of my favorite artists, Adam WarRock.

4. Big Heart

Although fairly straight up rock song, but I’m a sucker for this one. Not so much because of the music, but because of the subject matter. Rather like Kick Ass, it’s about a guy who wants very badly to be a superhero so he can help people. He just doesn’t have the powers, skills or fortitude to be a good one. I still find it a very sweet and inspiring song about an everyday guy who wants to do good like the heroes he loves, even if he’s (hilariously) terrible at it.

5. Hunt ‘Em All Down

This one’s for the Transformers fans out there. An awesome, driving Autobot call to arms, as they prepare for a final battle against the evil forces of the Decepticons. It’s more repetitive than most KK songs, but that actually fits the song quite well, and actually echos the repetitive nature of the Transformers cartoon theme song.

True story: I cranked this up while riding around in a Humvee while I was at drill last weekend, and it might have been the single coolest (and yes, nerdiest) experience of my life.

6. In Another Castle

Any ’80s gamer will be able to tell you the subject of this wonderful song. In addition to marking the return of KK’s signature ukulele (yes!), the quieter nature of the background music allow vocalist Kyle Stevens to show off his excellent range. Another of my instant favorites that was quickly memorized.

Poor Mario. I always did wonder how it felt to constantly meet with failure like that.

7. Nerd Money

Oh my god I love this song so much! Not only does it sound awesome (it has this great Big and Rich country-western sound going on), its probably the song that I (and just about anyone else) can identify with most. I mean, if you–as a nerd–DID win $45 million, of COURSE you’d use it to buy awesome, ridiculous and impractical stuff! It’s your sacred nerdy duty!

This song also contains my favorite lines in KK history: “Just last week I was feeling lucky so I bought/Lotto tickets 45 mil. was the pot/
And I won it, didn’t believe it/Then I spent it, on nerd shit.”

That makes me laugh every single time.

8. Super Powered Love

Ah, the title track. Musically not my favorite song on the album. It’s not bad by any means, it just feels a little…out of place, I guess? Still, it’s a good song, and the subject matter is very interesting: what would it be like to be the significant other of an honest to goodness superhero? Certainly not easy, as the protagonist of this song discovers. (On another note, if you’re interested in a slightly more in depth discussion of this very issue, MovieBob did just that last week.)

9. Comic Shop Oh boy. I’m so torn on this song. On the one hand, it’s hilarious, and a lot of fun (I’ve taken to listening to it every week at a minimum, during my comic run), but on the other hand…it’s not really Kirby Krackle. This song belongs to the (vquite good) rapper GMK the Great. He had a guest spot in KK’s original album as well, but it wasn’t for a whole song. I know the song is a direct parody (the first KK has ever done, actually), and I know that, according to the guys the song didn’t sound as good when Kyle tried rapping it, but still. I’d wholeheartedly throw my support behind the idea of releasing some sort of all-KK special single of this song, were it possible.

10. Rainbow Bridge

Man oh man, this song I was not expecting. KK almost always has their tongue planted firmly in their cheek when it comes to lyrics, and then, almost out of nowhere, this: a gorgeous, powerful, lyrical ballad that doesn’t feel like it would be out of place in Hall Heorot, or at a Viking feast. The theme–the way Thor finds himself trying to live in the world of the gods and the world of mortals simultaneously–is handled with similar, thoughtful sobriety. The result is quite moving, and still gives me goosebumps every time I hear the opening chords.

11. Needing A Miracle

This one is sweet! A more serious take on the themes present in “Super Powered Girlfriend,” this nearly straight-up love song deals with a hero who has fallen in love with a girl he’s saved, but is unable to settle down with her because of all his heroic obligations. This (along with “In Another Castle”) is the other song that really gives vocalist Kyle Stevens the chance to show off his voice. In most KK songs, it’s the marriage of music and vocals that make the song–with this one, I can safely say it’s pretty much Stevens all the way.

12. Open Up Your Window

“Different” is the best description for this song. It feels very much in the vein of “Needing A Miracle” (and it was definitely a good choice to put them back to back), but there’s no overtly nerd-centric themes or lyrics to be had here. That said, the song does fit in beautifully with the overall theme of the album, and as such is a nice and unexpected addition.

13. I Wanna Live In A World Full Of Heroes

This may be the best way to close out an album I’ve ever heard. Not only is the song itself excellent, it perfectly sums up all of the themes and ideas of KK’s work. If I had to pick one single song to summarize this band, and to convince someone that they were worth listening to, this would be the one. Also, as much as I adore “Ring Capacity,” I firmly believe that this is the song that should end all live KK performances from here on out. It’s just too perfect. An absolute home run on an album chock full of amazing content.

If you liked those songs (or had your curiosity piqued), be sure to visit Kirby Krackle’s website, their YouTube account, and check out their iTunes page and Bandcamp page as well. If ever there was a band that was worthy of your support and dollars, these guys are it.

Also, if you ever get a chance to see them live, DO NOT MISS IT! I’ve seen them twice, and let me tell you–there is NOTHING like screaming the words to the Green Lantern oath along with a room full of other fans. Amazing experience–don’t miss it!

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3 responses to “Album review: Super Powered Love by Kirby Krackle

  1. They also have a Bandcamp page (at kirbykrackle.bandcamp.com ), for those among us who want to listen to the album straight through before considering a purchase.

    I wish I was into Kirby Krackle’s style of music, because they seem like the sort of band I’d be really interested in.

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