Now, is this really even fair? I mean – am I allowed to review one of my all time favorite band’s albums and be objective about it? As I type this I am actually wearing one of my Midtown T-shirts. Uh, wait a minute – am I ever objective to begin with? HAH! Yeah right. This is supposed to be my opinion anyways .. screw being objective. Midtown – Living Well Is The Best Revenge: Best album of the year or biggest flop of all time? Let’s take a look:
Midtown seems to have started a tradition of releasing the first track on their albums as the first singles. Could they possibly live up to the huge shoes “Just Rock and Roll” (from their first album) left them to fill? A soft beep.. drums kick in.. guitar picks softly .. volume increase – and Gabe’s voice fills the speakers, it’s not long before we again see the triple vocal styling of front men Gabe, Tyler, and Heath. I’ll make it simple to explain this song, you will be forced to jump off of your bed faking air guitar slams, sing at the top of your lungs, and bounce around your room until your parents threaten to send you back to college. (Wow, I am 19 years old and I am playing the air-guitar? I’m a nerd. Of course I run a website as well .. so, you already knew that.) This song starts the album off with a bang, and you know exactly where the CD is going to take you from there — these guys haven’t lost anything from where they left off — they got better.
So, as the first track ends — my adrenaline is slowly fading and then I hear the speakers hum back into focus, the second song, “Still Trying” – is a song that shows that you CAN release an album as a band and have ‘backup’ vocalists that are also in the band without the annoying layering effect that I have seen every one from Nsync to Britney Spears use. These guys are the real deal, with a mid tempo sing along chorus, this will be a huge hit for fans of New Found Glory, and the like.
Next up is the re-recorded track, “Get It Together” – truthfully, I have heard this song so many times before, that it’s not as good as it once was.
At this moment, as only the third track on this CD comes to a close – I have been slowly increasing the volume on my stereo. The rest of my family is going to be forced to listen to the rest of this album, and from the looks on their faces as the fourth track, “Like a Movie” starts, they are actually going to enjoy this. This is one of those songs that you WILL sing a long too. I guarantee it. It’s like those damn mentos commercials, it’s a song that will get stuck in your head! That’s a good thing. This is one of the stand out tracks on the CD, while slower then some, faster then others – the lyrics speak volumes. With about a minute left in the song, the music comes to a slow halt, and you get a taste of possibly one of the best harmonization any band has ever done. Nsync, eat your heart out.
Okay up to this point, I am beyond speech — four outstanding tracks .. am I just setting myself for a disappointment? As the next track picks up, I just know that I am going to have to blast this one while driving some day — it’s one of those driving songs .. where you can crank the fricking thing — and just barrel down the highway. There is a part of the song where the music kinda stops for a second, and Gabe screams, “I take it back” – and the way his voice hits right there is enough to give ya shivers.
Midtown has a way of using their instruments almost as if they are vocals in themselves, weaving the music in and out of harmonies, in and out of choruses, and up and down through the lyrical jungle-gyms they have constructed.
So, by now we know that the rock and roll is still alive and well in Midtown, but one of the band’s best talents from their last releases was the ability to incorporate slower, more ballad like songs into their music – well, as I am thinking this — “Perfect”, track 6 picks up. Hey, it’s in the ‘perfect’ (pun intended) ballad spot as well, dab smack in the middle of the album. For those relationships that are o’ so hard, but that you keep running back to — this one goes out to you, “this time i think it could perfect.”
“You Should Know” is the second re-recorded song on this album, and well – it lives up to it’s potential. The musical talent runs amok in this one, having heard the song before — I was able to sit back, listen to the music, the lyrics, — ooo, did I mention that they harmonize really well? Hah. If you were worried they would screw up the old version, don’t worry – you won’t be let down.
Okay. Track 8 – “One Last Time,” best track on the CD. I swear the first time I heard it, I didn’t think it was Midtown – I was thrown back. Woah!? They can do THIS!? Yet Staind, and Nickelback are on the radio? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? WOW. The sound is slower, more of a rock tune – but it just has something about it that draws me to it, it’s one of those songs that I will be singing my lungs out every time I hear it. Lyrics that mean something to me (how do they always seem to do that?), infectious chorus — this better be turned into a single! HINT HINT.. I was told later by a friend — that the first time he heard this song he thought about me immediately and just knew I would love this song. You know what? I more than love this song. When I hear it, I can honestly picture a music video in my head .. start in a bar, lonely taxi rides home, rain pouring down, band playing on top of a building at night — hmmm, I smell at hit. Fricking incredible.
After the mind blowing “One Last Time”, we get throttled again with a new take on “Faulty Foundation”. When I first heard this song was going to be redone, I wasn’t sure what to expect – of course I didn’t expect it to be as good as it turned out — it’s another one of those songs that will leave you breathless as you try and sing every line.
We reach the later part of the album with an anathematic song, “In the Songs.” The song has a cool intro, and a cool almost chant like chorus, and when I hear the chorus, I swear I have heard something similar to it before somewhere..
The CD ends out like any great CD should, a strong song, with a strong message .. the line, “what you have is not what you are” – speaks, in my opinion to the whole fricking nation – KNOCK IT OFF PEOPLE, get over yourselves, .. and there is no way you could have ended this album any better.
This is the CD where Midtown steps out, grows up, and starts changing the world. Well, that last part may have been a little over dramatic, but this music industry is in some serious need of a revolution — now days whenever any band gets a little critical praise, everyone attempting to be cool in the music scene jumps on the bandwagon. Or on the other side you have the premade, manufactured, and spoon fed poppunk bands trying to emulate on others success. This album does neither. Midtown is not the next Blink-182, Sum41, boyband, Nirvana, huge craze, or any of the other stereotypical music industry bullshit. Midtown is Midtown, and this album is filled to the brim with 38 minutes of pure emotion, pure music, and just rock and roll.