This first impression was originally posted as a live blog for supporters in our forums on April 24th, 2017. First impressions are meant to be quick, fun, initial impressions on an album or release as I listen to it for the first time. It’s a running commentary written while listening to an album — not a review. More like a diary of thoughts. This post has been lightly edited for structure and flow.
Wooooo, time for a little first listen blogging time. Been way too long since I’ve done one of these, and I’m really excited to do a live-blog-first-listen tonight for the new New Found Glory album. Before getting started, a few things:
- I think this is my favorite NFG album since, at least, Coming Home, and I think I actually will end up having it ranked pretty high in their discography within a few years. It is surprisingly fun, energetic, a fun spin on their well known style, and incredibly enjoyable. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I have, and I’ve been playing it … a lot over the past few weeks.
- NFG were at one point a band I called my “favorite” (I think I talked about this on a past podcast episode about favorite bands), I wanted to BE this band. Haha. They had the style, the look, and the sound that I wanted to emulate so badly. I kinda moved away from them over the years, but when I go back and play their albums now (at least the early ones), they are so caked in nostalgia for me I can’t help but love them.
- I haven’t really liked their last few albums that much to be honest. They’ve been fine, but they felt so predictable to me that I never found myself coming back to them at all. I’d listen for a week or so, and then if I ever wanted an NFG fix, I’d go back to the ST and S&S instead. I really do think this is the first album from them in a while that will shake up that trend for me.
- I love the production on this one. I think the band mixing it up with new ears and a new voice in the studio was exactly what they needed. I think Sprinkle knocked this out of the park.
- I’ve talked on past podcasts about bands getting in a rut, and how I wish more would try new things that work within their sound … this album is exactly what I wanted to see from this band … it really is exactly that.
Beer of choice tonight: New Belgium’s Juicy Watermelon (and lime).
As always, I reserve the right to change my mind in the future, this isn’t really a review as much as it is just me listening to the album, writing some thoughts down, and speaking off the cuff about what I like, don’t like, and the over all impression the album gives me.
Feel free to jump in either nor or later with questions or anything you’d like to know more on, I can always expand and offer more thoughts and such.
Your Jokes Aren’t Funny
7:32pmThis album starts like all great NFG albums to: with a fantastic opener. Right off the bat we get a little synth line, some driving bass, and great little energetic opener.
“Your jokes aren’t funny anymore to me, I’m not the same fool that I used to be…”
It gets stuck in your head, even if the lyrics are a little silly.
7:34pmJordan sounds great, they let him be very Jordan on this. They pulled his vocals forward in the mix a little more than on the past few albums, and it gives a feeling of confidence and they let him drive the songs more than they have in the past IMO. I think all the instruments also end up being more interesting, the songs may feel a little more mid-tempo, but it’s because they let them breath and they never feel rushed. It’s a welcome move.
Party on Apocalypse
7:36pmI think this song is going to be released this Friday. It’s far and away got that “single” vibe to me. I find myself humming the chorus all the time … seriously, I wake up in the middle of the night with this ear worm in my head. I haven’t had that happen with NFG in … uh … a long time.
I am curious what fans think of this one. I could see it becoming a crowd please.
“If a psychic said this was the end, I think I’d believe it…”
7:37pmSeriously this fucking chorus is so damn catchy. The lyrics are so … whatever … but the damn melody is ridiculous. It works. It’s “My Friend’s Over You” level catchy.
“After everyone self destructs, pop the hatch and we’ll climb back up.”
7:40pmBy the end of this song, I found that I was tapping my foot and thinking, “hmm, this is familiar yet oddly feels fresh, I wonder if they can keep this up at all, or if it’s gonna end up feeling samey and stale within a few songs.” My biggest fear with this band is that I end up getting four songs in and turn it off. That I just don’t “feel” it and I zone it out.
Call Me Anti-Social
7:41pmOpens with a little key line and vocal melody that woulda worked on Coming Home.
I flat out love this song. Haha. I really do. The bouncy melody, even the lyrics, it’s just flat out a great NFG song.
7:43pmThe little pre-chorus thing is perfect NFG. They find a way to speed into it and the drums and guitar sound splendid.
Fun guitar riff, why not.
“I’m trapped in another boring summer, while everyone is living it up. But it’s way too hot to go outside, when I don’t relate to anyone.”
7:45pmIt’s one of my favorites on the album, I find it catchy, fun, and demonstrably summer. I want the weather to change just so I can go for a walk and listen to this album. I haven’t wanted to go listen to an NFG album outside in what feels like years now. There was something missing. Something fun, something that just screamed “turn it up” and yet I really do think they found it on this album. It has an “it” factor to it that I wasn’t expecting and is downright delightful.
7:47pmNow, the lyrics are silly. There’s times where Jordan feels stretched and he over reaches. But, these are minor qualms I have with the album, and they never feel like they dominate a song … on the last album I’d end up pausing for minutes at a time thinking about specific stuff that I didn’t think worked. By and large, I guess I’d call that just unforced errors … and on this one those don’t stand out. There’s no huge “wait what are you doing there” moments, instead the album ebbs and flows together and the songs feel distinct, yet part of a whole thought.
Happy Being Miserable
7:49pmAssuming most everyone has heard this one already.
I still really like this song. I think it does a pretty good idea of setting up the “sound” for this album as well. It gives you an idea of what the album sounds like sonically. It’s a pretty right in the middle of this album’s sound song. Good first single in that regard IMO.
7:49pmEveryone’s known someone like this, right?
7:50pmAnother fun bridge. Really love the bridges on this album … it’s the missing piece of the last Blink album surfacing right here.
The Sound of Two Voices
7:54pmOk, so this is probably my favorite song on the album. Ok, maybe. It seems to change quite a bit. What I love is that this is the band actually changing this up in a way that I would not have thought would work. It’s got a little island vibe. It’s right in the middle of the album. And it’s something on paper, I would have said it doesn’t work
And yet …. I fucking love it.
The vocal melody and harmony is flat out great. It isn’t what I was expecting at all when it starts, and yet the moment that chorus hits it’s got this great little rise that makes me smile every damn time. It’s slow without feeling like a ballad and the sunny disposition is god damn charming.
7:55pmGrab me some bongos. I wanna join in.
7:56pmI remember the first time I heard “Head on Collision” and I had a “woah, that’s not what I expected” feeling. I feel the same here. It’s not anything close to what I was expecting from the band … but I think it works.
Also “you think you’re inspiring posting slogans on a photo of the sky” is a pretty funny line.
7:57pmThis song for me is all about the chorus though. That melody is why it’s probably my favorite song here. It’s so simple, and so well executed, that it just grabs me every time. Hell, I wanna hit repeat.
This will be a polarizing song IMO. The little island flavor drums are going to catch people off guard. I expect “WTF” to be a prevalent post in the thread.
8:00pmAll about the keys on this album. This one feels like it coulda been flat out on Coming Home to be honest.
8:01pmI always forget about this song when thinking back on the album, I never remember it, but then when it’s playing it’s a lot of “ohhhhhh, yeah, this is that one.” Some cool vocal layering here.
“There’s no grass greener on the other side, I planted my roots … (can’t make out this next line) … if there comes a time come where your leaves might die, I’ll water them, I’ll water them for you.”
I laugh at that line every time though. It’s … so cheesy.
Say It Don’t Spray It
8:05pmMore synthy guitar noodling fun. Haha.
This one feels pretty standard NFG-fare. It coulda fit on quite a few of their albums, it’s got a pretty good chorus, but to me it’s just the band doing exactly what they know they can do. That said, the fresh engineering choices gives it a nice new coat of paint.
8:07pmI do like that the band clearly spent some time writing guitar riffs for this album. Distinct and noticeable ones too.
(And if that’s Sprinkle adding the keys, hell yes, cause they’re a great little counter melody.)
8:09pmI think this one is one of my least favorites on the album, but only because it just doesn’t have anything that doesn’t make me think it coulda been on their self-titled album in that same spot. It’s telling to me that my least favorite tracks I still find more enjoyable, even after all these listens, than I do almost anything on the last two albums.
8:09pmIt sure is fun to like an NFG album again. I didn’t expect it.
It sure is exciting to actually seek out an NFG album and want to play it each day at least once.
8:10pmI think after all this time I’d make this my second favorite track. And at times it fights for #1.
8:11pmI wanna see this one live. It just feels like it would be blast. It’s pop-punk through and through …
“‘Cause we’re barbed, wi .. re … ”
That damn line is perfectly articulated.
8:13pmFor some reason I always get a little Failures Not Flattering vibe with this song. I really like it. It’s what 2001 Jason woulda called a summer anthem and over played with my windows down driving around with friends.
Seriously, put this one on all the mixtapes. I call instant NFG classic!
Short and Sweet
8:15pmI’m not as in love with this one. I am not sure what I would really compare it to, it’s got a nice different chorus melody, it’s a little cheesy, but it never really grabs me. It feels a little too much like “Blurred Vision” I think.
By and large I think it’s the only track I kinda just pause over. Filler-ish, but not bad.
The Cheapest Thrill
8:20pmI have pretty high expectations from NFG closers. I think I woulda loved something like “The Story So Far” here, and this one never quite gets there, but that’s not to say it’s bad by any means.
I do like the bass line.
8:22pmThis one does have more of a story teller feel to it than the band usually goes for. Ahh, our little protagonist got cheated on.
8:23pmThis song is interesting to me because while I don’t love it and the chorus is a tad predictable, it feels most strange that it’s at the end of the album. I don’t dislike it, don’t feel strongly in the love category either.
8:27pmI think that this album has some of the band’s most interesting instrumentation on it in quite a while. I love where they try new things, expand a little, and take their time to be deliberate. Nothing feels rushed to me. I got this feeling with the past few albums that the band could write these songs in their sleep and they weren’t pushing themselves. I never get that feeling with this album. It feels like a group that actively wants to stretch their songwriting legs and see what they can do, but still within the very “NFG” sound.
I find it funny how “raw” an album like their self-titled sounds now, when at the time I thought it was one of the most “polished” pop-punk albums I’d ever heard. I tossed it on recently (it holds up pretty well) and can’t believe how polished this new album sounds in comparison. And how there’s a very clear line from the band that wrote that album to this new one, but at the same time I finally feel like the band is willing to not just rest on their crutches and are embracing other parts of their talents. Their ear for melody, letting the instruments find their own place and stand out, and knowing when a well timed bridge can take a song to a new level.
8:31pmAs the album ends basically what I think is what I’ve thought almost every single time I’ve played the album … I think it’s their best album since Coming Home. I think it may even end up being in the top three of their catalog for me. I think it takes what the band started with “Dressed to Kill” and they really do knock this one out of the park.
I mean, I’m a different music listener than I was back then, I’m a different person, but … there’s a part of me that’s always a sucker for pop-punk that I think is interesting. For a melody I think is interesting. And I’m a sucker for sing-a-long guitar driven rock music. And this album makes me happy. I’m happy that I like it. I’m happy it exists. I’m happy that it’s not a total downer like their last album. I’m happy that the band feels fresh while still familiar. Like a newly washed favorite shirt.
8:34pmI’ve loved New Found Glory since around 1999. I first heard the NGCS version of “Hit or Miss” and fell in love. I thought they would be the shape of pop-punk to come. That they were the “next” wave of that genre. And I think history has vindicated me a little in that belief. They are wildly influential and have a catalog full of songs I like. But, for a while I wondered why nothing new from the band was grabbing me anymore.
Why was a band I called my favorite at one point, had posters on my wall of, and owned a half dozen t-shirts from and really “identified” with in so many ways … why was that band just not doing anything for me? I think this album tells me it was the songs … they just weren’t there on the past couple albums … and here they’re just better. They’re more fun, they’re more. confident, they’re more unique, and the band feels at home with writing this kind of album right now. And it all comes through, and I think it works.
8:38pmWhew. Ok, I think that’s what I’ve got for now. I’m gonna go grab another beer and watch a movie with Hannah. She’s sick with a cough in the bedroom and probably wondering why I’m playing pop-punk very loudly over and over again. Heh. (And my fucking hand hurts.)
Thanks for reading! Hit me up if you have any questions or other things you’d like me to touch on tomorrow or in the future in this thread – I’ll definitely be checking back in.
“Have I waited too long … have I wanted too long … tooooo seeeeee youuuuuuuuuu.”
Yeah, I like that I like this album. Maybe they never progressed to where a band like YC did at the end of their careers, but I’m happy to look at my last.fm and see the band crawling back up that list.