Are you ready for the most 90s album cover of all time? The three dudes are standing on a beach cleared by low tide. They’re all wearing khakis. They have serious expressions, because this is a very serious album. The lead singer is looking skyward. They’re all wearing button-up shirts that are slightly too large . Oh GOD. It looks like a Christian rock album! Oh, dear.
This is a very serious album. Too serious to be rock music. Cellos! Violas! Delicate harmonicas! Only three songs here are faster than a snail’s pace, because serious music needs to be very SERIOUS.
I’m not going to argue too much with the first half of the album, because that’s what happens when you literally put the six most accessible songs tracks 1-6 on the playlist. Perfect for leaving the last seven for bore, bore, and boring. Oh! Low tide is dramatic! Drama is conveyed by Celine Dion-paced dirges! There’s precisely one song where the bombast works well, the political genius of “If You Tolerate Your Children Will Be Next” – what a cocksucking title! And what a song, too. Shitballs. And I can vouch for the combined one minute of glorious hammond organ on “Ready For Drowning” and the Casiotone backing of “You Stole the Sun blah blah” and “My Little Empire” is a wonderful anthem for the fucking depressed, but what else have you got? Thump….thimp….thump blah lbah what else do you ahve? The same thing you did on the last song and the song before that? Great, great.
And I don’t know who this new lyricist “Nick Jones” is instead of the old Nicky Wire, but he’s fucking lazy. Let’s look at one fun example: album closer “S.Y.M.M.”, about (I read interviews) the terrifying deaths of 90 soccer fans due to overcrowding and poor security. Good topic for a song! Let us see how Nick approaches the subject! Here’s the first verse: “The subtext of this song / I’ve thought about it for so long / But it’s really not the sort of thing / That people want us to sing” – interesting! That’s not about the fuck anything! And that’s the entire first verse. Let’s skip to the third verse: “The ending of this song / Well I haven’t really thought of one” – great! Wait, that’s not great, that’s stupid. Da fuck? And don’t get me started on the like three times he pulls the same “I am doing x because of y / Or maybe it’s z” thing that he pulls like three times in the album. Hey, I’ve got a good one: “The reason for listening to this song / I don’t think there really is one” Boom!
I don’t resent this album because it’s “accessible.” I resent it because it’s bo-ring. Boring! The band sounds excited about, what, maaaybe the somewhat cheesy symphonic shit opener “The Everlasting”, the two big singles, a combined minute of “Ready For Drowning”, the cheeseball “Tsunuami”, and um…maybe the opener of “You’re Tender and You’re Tired” before they looked at the song’s title and realized they’d better calm down for tenderness’ sake. This is the lamest lamity lame album that’s not a terrible album ever.