When you’re so far up your own ass…

Sometimes you don’t know that you’ve already made the same record twice before.

Tom Delonge’s pet project Angels and Airwaves released their third album, LOVE, for free on Valentine’s Day this year (hit up www.angelsandairwaves.com to download it).  Lately, Tom’s been on a soapbox telling anyone who will listen that this album is the most prolific release he has ever been a part of.  Unfortunately, he’s said the exact same thing twice before in response to each of the previous Angels and Airwaves albums (We Don’t Need to Whisper and I-Empire, respectively).  I’ve fallen for this trick two times now.  I was a big blink-182 fan and a huge Tom Delonge fan, so when the band broke up and two new projects were formed – I was really looking forward to whatever Tom would do next.

“Biggest rock band on the planet?!  Sounds good to me,” I thought.

We Don’t Need to Whisper was a big fat disappointment.  I-Empire on the other hand (even though it sounded similar in most respects to its predecessor) was a vast improvement.  The songs were catchier and the lyrics weren’t nearly as shitty.  I don’t know that either release lived up to the hype and the grandeur that was promised though.

But now we get LOVEOn Valentine’s Day, no less.  Like Valentine’s Day, you get the feeling that the altruism is muddled with commercialism.  Sure, the album is free – but it comes with the hope of exposing millions of people to Tom’s new-fangled web platform, Modlife – a subscription service intended to bill fans for content from their favorite artists (advanced presale for tickets, access to artist updates, blogs, video posts, etc.).  This is supposed to be the savior of the dying music industry.

After a few listens – I can safely say that this isn’t the worst Angels and Airwaves record yet.  It probably isn’t better than I-Empire either – what I can say is that it sounds familiar… and not in that comforting sense.  From the first synth pads on the opening “Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce”, you get the sense that the band went into the studio and limited themselves to the same tools they’ve been using for the last two albums.  Hell, the  guitar riff throughout “Epic Holiday” uses the same delay-influenced rhythm as the lead single from I-Empire, “Everything’s Magic”.  Same plodding 4/4 time signatures as the last two albums.  Same vocal phrasing.  They even threw in some more epic, yodelly “Oh oh oh’s” for good measure.  I think I even heard that damn toy piano from “Start the Machine” off We Don’t Need to Whisper.  Bottom line – I’m sick of being fooled.  I don’t care about the next audio revolution.  I’m also getting a little tired of the whole Intergalactic Space Battle theme (Coheed does it better).  Let’s hear a little personal growth instead.

On a positive note, “Hallucinations” is a good jam.  Glad they picked it as the single.

We’re also supposed to finally see the movie that was intended to be released years ago by Angels and Airwaves.  A movie conceptually conceived by, but not starring the band (yet featuring LOVE as the soundtrack, ultimately).  Maybe that’ll be cool.  I have a feeling that like Delonge’s other recent solo ventures, it’s going to feel too big for it’s britches.

At the end of the day, what concerns me (read: “your average rabid blink-182 fan) is that Delonge’s illusions of grandeur are going to infect or deteriorate the promise of a new blink-182 album.  Whether or not he realizes it, his songwriting is at its best when it’s complimented by Travis Barker’s mind-bending talent for creating rhythms and Mark Hoppus’s ear for pop sensibility.

You’ve created your epic space odyssey, dude.  Come back to Earth.  Leave the ego in orbit.

And for christsakes, would you please pick up a Stratocaster?


2 Responses to “When you’re so far up your own ass…”

  1. Hey kids! Mike Hunt here, back from my state-mandated hiatus from public life. Aside from hitting the liquor and “movie” stores, the first thing I did when I got back from, uh, “vacation” was read my favorite blog about the psuedo-underground music scene. I’m glad this party’s still rocking! I can’t wait to get more involved.

    That’s all for now! Time to see what Deborah has done to Dallas this time around.


    **Mandatory Lettermark: US Federal Courts. If the preceeding correspondence is pornographic, violent, or otherwise offensive in nature, please notify parolehq@usdoj.org immediately.**

  2. […] you’re all squeamish about looking at your music – your art – as a business than you’re reading the wrong website. Remember, to do this professionally you need people to give you money and not just once, but again […]

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