Tonight Alive are back with their new album, Underworld. This album is clearly an evolution in the band’s sound as much as it is an evolution in lead singer Jenna McDougall’s mindset.
Underworld is highlighted by McDougall’s vocals, vocals that are illuminated in the best way possible through a crystal clear recording with no apparent studio trickery. The album was largely recorded in Thailand with Dave Petrovic and it highlights the band’s growing maturity — delving into concepts such as depression and negativity with honesty and hope.
The album ignites with the bombastic tune “Book of Love,” which preps fans for a more grown-up sound with crisp, clean vocals.
“Temple” is honest and raw as it rocks with the lyrics, “Intoxicated by my depression; and I’m consumed by the fear that I might never find the answer.” The band has broken itself from the shackles of the pop label and moved firmly within the broad alternative rock category. This song may be the anthem listeners in 2018 need.
“Disappear” features Lynn Gunn of PVRIS, and the pairing makes total sense in a song with honest lyrics and smooth vocals. McDougall’s vocals smolder again, “sinking down, I thought I lost myself, but I didn’t” on a track that could fit seamlessly on either band’s album.
“The Other” is very relatable to any listener who feels like he or she doesn’t belong. With the lyric, “everyone looks at me, like I’m not who I ought to be.” This song is poignant and personal to McDougall who has said the song reflects her journey to her truest self. From there we move on to “For You,” which is pure in its optimism. The lyrics, “For you I would breathe underwater; for you I would fly without wings” alludes to the unabashed joy one can feel within a safe and fulfilling relationship.
“Crack My Heart” sizzles with angst in tune that is as anthemic as it is raw. In the video, viewers can see McDougall as she seethes, “I wanna feel/wanna heal/wanna break/wanna change/wanna live.” And then we have “Burning On,” an up-beat track that is cleverly deceptive in its tone. The tune pops, “You’ve spent your life avoiding pain/beauty lies in that which is not safe” to tackle the work that needs to take place in order to make love last.
“Looking for Heaven” is a piano-driven song that, again, showcases McDougall’s vocal talent.
“My Underworld” is the hidden gem that is the album’s finale and is the duet fans didn’t see coming. The track features Corey Taylor of Slipnot and Stone Sour, on a song that encapsulates the darker feelings the album tackled. The duo sing, “These deep blue storm clouds hold my head now, strangely I feel at peace as I come into my underworld,” proving that one can deal with negativity and come out the other side, feeling resilient and ready to thrive.