Review: Angels & Airwaves – The Dream Walker

TheDreamWalkerI can’t believe that, until now, I haven’t got the chance to review the newest Angels and Airwaves album, The Dream Walker. Their latest effort since 2011’s Love Part II is, maybe, their best so far. I’m not quite sure if this affirmation will stand in a few years or even a few months, but until now I’ve come to terms with it.

This 5th album came with a lineup change, especially with Mr. Ilan Rubin taking over drums and keyboards. Rubin, formerly of Lostprophets and Nine Inch Nails, brought a heavier sound, that gives depth to DeLonge’s aerial vocals in such a manner, it only makes you wonder why the f*ck they waited so long for this collaboration to start.

The new lineup gives a little more organic darkness to the sound, and lyrically speaking, DeLonge’s has kept the same balance as before, albeit a little simpler and poppier. The Dream Walker marks a little more experimentation for the Blink 182 frontman, coupled with electronic sounds bound to keep you playing the album on repeat. I think the best quality of the album is its fresh feeling once you forget about it and you stumble upon it by accident.

Teenagers & Rituals opens up The Dream Walker, leaving you no chance but to speed up with the sound that takes you faster and faster. It’s the kind of song that won’t take no for an answer, it’s raw and young and stupid, just like we were, and while the lyrics aren’t the greatest thing cooked up by Tom, they fit perfectly with the youthful sound of the song. (8.5/10)

Paralyzed was one of the singles that preceded the album, and through the bass line, you get carried away in a split second. This song has such a sense of urgency; it’s quite unbelievable I hated it when I first listened to it. Paralyzed is one of those rare songs that grow on you, even if you hate it at first. It’s demanding, and it has determination, anger and angst – a perfect anthem for Mr. DeLonge. (9/10)

The Wolfpack stands out from all the Angels & Airwaves songs I have ever listened. It has such a buildup, it’s electrifying, to say the least. It’s a perfect song to be played out in the open, and I can’t wait to see the band live, just because of this one song. It can’t hurt that the video is one of the most pop attempts I have ever witnessed from DeLonge, and the lyrics will appeal to both teenagers and adults. (10/10)

Tunnels comes to argue with everything that The Wolfpack was. As far as I know it, the song was inspired by the death of Tom’s father, and maybe because of that I have the feeling that this track is the most personal thing he created with AVA. Tunnels is filled with emotion, sad reality and hope at the same time, and the overall composition – musically and lyrically speaking, seems so mature for Tom. I have to applaud this effort. (10/10)

Have you ever missed Depeche Mode in their glory days? Look no further, then! The same gravity Martin got us used to is employed in Kiss With a Spell. Until I listened to this song, I could’ve sworn my all time favorite track off the album was The Wolfpack, but Kiss With a Spell has such depth and the electronic touch can’t hurt the meaning of the song, so I’ll have it forever on my playlist. (11/10)

Mercenaries is one wicked track. I can’t remember its name, nor I can distinguish its beginning, but around the first and a half minute I start recognizing what I like about it. It’s a weird composition, I never know if I fully love it, or if I hate it with all my power, but one thing I know for sure – I wouldn’t recommend missing it. (8/10)

Bullets in the Wind will come off as a surprise, especially for Interpol or The Editors fans. Ilan Rubin goes wild with the drums, engaging in a wicked rhythm filled with awesomeness – but of course! This song is one of their best and the proof (if you really needed that) that this combo works on many levels. (10/10)

The Disease seems a bit uneven, or maybe uneventful, even though it plays on the dark side of the album, with a little more emphasis on the analysis, and a little more focus on the choice of words. However, even if it’s a great song technically speaking, it doesn’t have the spark. (8/10)

Tremors has the same anthem-y sound I was expecting from the band, and for me it screams “hope and happiness are at your feet”, how can I not love it?! (10/10)

Anomaly, just like its title, is an anomaly. For me, it kinda sounds like Boxing Day, from Blink 182’s 2012 EP, Dogs Eating Dogs. It’s a mellow track, with sad accents, almost emo-ish, but at the same time you can sense a bit of hope at the end of the song. (8/10)

Overall, the album is better than I expected. Thematically, it shows that the band has grown (if you really doubted that until now), musically, DeLonge has allowed himself to explore a little more and it has taken Angels & Airwaves outside their comfort zone, and God! How good they sound outside it!


Review: Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll

I’ve been a Fall Out Boy fan since Sugar We’re Going Down, back in 2006, in my ugly dark room filled with nothing but music. Their hiatus made me at least a little sad, but I can’t say their album at the time (Folie a Deux) was memorable.

In the meantime, I entertained myself with Patrick Stump’s new EP (Truant Wave in 2011) and his new solo album (Soul Punk, 2011), my idea of a redheaded white Michael Jackson on eurodanced LSD.

Save-Rock-And-Roll Nothing prepared me, back in 2012, for a new Fall Out Boy album. When their first single, My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up), got out, I was like „WTF?! This isn’t Fall Out Boy!”. I didn’t press play again. I just stood still enjoying God knows what.

The next single, The Phoenix, was awesome. It was what I expected from their comeback move, the thing I didn’t get with My Songs. Released on April 12th, Save Rock and Roll didn’t save rock and roll. It didn’t bring us back the old FOB. It wasn’t unexpected. I’m not sure how to define it, it’s raw and mature at the same time, lyrically and musically. It’s old FOB mixed with Patrick’s black beats. I can almost swear I hear arena songs in there, but I’m too afraid to admit it. What if that doesn’t come true?

Because it’s something so out of the blue, you are caught unprepared and while the musical genre is not quite saved, I can say it is revived.

The Phoenix (10) is the second single and it benefits from a sexy video. It’s core is the power of string instruments that dominate the whole composition. I like the raw power this song has and it’s a very good workout entertainer (as is the whole album, of course).

Cross walks and crossed hearts and hope-to-dies
Silver clouds with grey linings

So we can take the world back from a heart attack
One maniac at a time we will take it back
You know time crawls on when you’re waiting for the song to start
So dance alone to the beat of your heart

Hey young blood
Doesn’t it feel like our time is running out?
I’m gonna change you like a remix
Then I’ll raise you like a phoenix
Wearing our vintage misery
No, I think it looked a little better on me
I’m gonna change you like a remix
Then I’ll raise you like a phoenix

My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up) (9.5) was the first single off of the album and, as I said before, it didn’t impress me much. After the release of Save Rock and Roll, I really fell in love with this one, especially Patrick’s vocals and the chorus. It really strikes me as a summer song and I find it perfect for this hybrid sprinsummer we have in Romania. Also, I’d love to hear this one on a stadium (I’m in love with rock anthems! But who isn’t?).

A constellation of tears on your lashes
Burn everything you love, then burn the ashes
In the end everything collides
My childhood spat back out the monster that you see

My songs know what you did in the dark

So light ‘em up, up, up
Light ‘em up, up, up
Light ‘em up, up, up
I’m on fire

Alone Together (8.5) is a teen-angsty song, with Wentz’s unmistakeable signature (lyrically wise). If you ignore the poetry for just a little, you get great power and rhythm and, though it’s not quite rock-y, it’s a great summer afternoon song.

My heart is like a stallion
They love it more when it’s broken
Do you wanna feel beautiful?
Do you wanna?

‘Cause I don’t know where you’re going
But do you got room for one more troubled soul
I don’t know where I’m going but I don’t think I’m coming home
And I said I’ll check in tomorrow if I don’t wake up dead
This is the road to ruin
And we’re starting at the end

Where Did the Party Go (10) is, supposedly, the first song they wrote (Stump and Wentz) for Save Rock and Roll. It has a new vibe, it is party-like (as the title suggests) and it has young energy and optimism, so I would play it in my favorite clubs (if they would allow me to bring weird music to the scene). It’s one of my favorites on this album and it makes me want to start dancing (and when I say dancing, I mean I look like Elaine from Seinfeild, if she was in a whole body cast, while slipping on a banana peel).

I’m here to collect your hearts
It’s the only reason that I sing
I don’t believe a word you say but I can’t stop listening
This is the story of how they met
Her picture was on the back of a pack of cigarettes
When she touched him he turned ruby red
A story that they’ll never forget
Never forget

And all the boys are smoking menthols
Girls are getting back rubs
I will drift to you if you if you make yourself shake fast enough
My old aches become new again
My old friends become exes again

Oh, where did the party go?
We’re ending it on the phone
I’m not gonna go home alone
Oh, where did the party go?

(Sorry for my obsession, I really love this song!)

Just One Yesterday (8) features Foxes (and that’s all I can say about this singer). It is a song for the heartbroken people (which I am not), so I can’t say much about this one, except that it has a nice rhythm, even though the lyrics are not the most happy ones.

Letting people down is my thing, baby
Find yourself a new gig
This town ain’t big enough for two of us
I don’t have the right name
Or the right looks
But I have twice the heart

Anything you say can and will be held against you
So only say my name
It will be held against you
Anything you say can and will be held against you
So only say my name (name)

The Mighty Fall (9), another song featuring someone (they are plenty on this album!), this time is Big Sean. I have a very Kanye West-vibe, circa Niggas in Paris and also Katy Perry‘s ET. This doesn’t mean it’s bad. I’ve heard of Big Sean before, but this song can be easily named his best one until now. If you’ve read so far, you’ve noticed that I said something about Patrick’s black beats. So here they are, please enjoy them!

Yeah I know you said not to call unless I’m dying
But I’m driving and I can’t stop staring at my eyelids
But even though my eyes closed, I still see you
I just hope that when you see me I’m not see-through
You know how we do
Some times I swear, I need a day just for me to lay
With some T and A, but the way we, they way we is do deeper
Baby straight up chemistry DNA
Make me wanna give you every dollar out my B of A
Like, I let her climb on top
I’m either fuckin’ or workin’, so the grind don’t stop
They say I got screws missing, well hell, only when I’m missing you
And hell yeah I’m a dick, girl, addicted to you

Whoa, how the mighty fall
The mighty fall
The mighty fall
They fall in love

Miss Missing You (9) is so simple, yet so good! Like all the good things, this one takes its geniusness (is that even a word?!) from simple music with simple words. Love is the base, people. Love.

Baby, you were my picket fence
I miss missing you now and then
Chlorine kissed summer skin

I miss missing you now and then
Sometimes before it gets better
The darkness gets bigger
The person that you’d take a bullet for is behind the trigger
We’re fading fast
I miss missing you now and then

Death Valley (8) has a nervous side. It’s animalic and raw. It’s mature. It’s everything at once, even though it misses something (but I can’t put my finger on it).

I wanna see your animal side
Let it all out
Oh there you go; undress to impress
You can wear the crown but you’re no princess

So put the “D” in „dirt” now, baby, baby
Let’s get you wasted and alone

Young Volcanoes (10) is my favorite (I know I said that about some of the songs before, but bear with me). This is the third single off of Save Rock and Roll and the video continues the story from The Phoenix. I have a strange feeling of accapella and stadium, combined with a jungle of emotions, energy and love. How can I not love this one?!

When Rome’s in ruins, we are the lions
Free of the coliseums
In poison places, we are anti-venom
We’re the beginning of the end

Tonight the foxes hunt the hounds
It’s all over now before it has begun
We’ve already won

Come on make it easy, say I never mattered
Run it up the flagpole
We will teach you how to make boys next door
Out of assholes

Rat a Tat (9.5) is for the people who didn’t love Courtney Love. Because she is just awesome on this track. You know her as the drunk widow of Kurt Cobain, but here she gives me the impression she’s bigger than Madonna (and that’s hard to pull off!). If Madonna had talent, she could’ve been what’s Courtney on this track. With a Britney refference (It’s Courtney, bitch!) as an intro, the song dives into punky soul phase that is this new Fall Out Boy thing they’re doing now.

We’re all fighting growing old
We’re all fighting growing old
In the hopes
Of a few minutes more
To get on St. Peter’s list
But you need to lower your standards
Cause it’s never
Getting any better than this

I’m about to make the sweat roll backwards
And your heart beat in reverse
Our guts can’t be reworked
As alone as a little white church
In the middle of the desert getting burned
But I’ll take your heart served up two ways
I sing a bitter song
I’m the lonelier version of you
I just don’t know where it went wrong

They saved the best for last. If they didn’t saved rock and roll until now, maybe Elton John can lend a hand? Who knows? Save Rock and Roll (10) is a beautiful musical combo of young and new, not very rocky, but very rollable, filled with soul and patience and time. Even though it’s not as alert as the other songs on Save Rock and Roll, this one is its heart.

I need more dreams
And less life
And I need that dark
In a little more light
I cried tears you’ll never see
So fuck you, you can go cry me an ocean
And leave me be

You are what you love
Not who loves you

In a world full of the word yes
I’m here to scream

No, no
Wherever I go, go
Trouble seems to follow
Only plugged in to save rock and roll
Rock and roll, no
Wherever I go, go
Trouble seems to follow
Only plugged in to save rock and roll

Blood brothers in desperation
An oath of silence
For the voice of our generation
How’d it get to be only me?
Like I’m the last damn kid still kicking
That still believes

I will defend the faith
Going down swinging
I will save the songs
That we can’t stop singing

This album is more than I can expect from a comeback album. I can only compare it (sentimentally speaking) with Blink 182‘s Neighborhoods. It shows us a grown up version of our lovable punk kids that help granny cross the street, a version in which they love love and they suffer and they want to party, in which they are angsty and annoyed and worried and so human.

Leaving the album for a second, I can’t wait for the whole The Young Blood Chronicles, inspired by Daft Punk‘s Electroma. Until now, there are three episodes available, for My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up), The Phoenix and Young Volcanoes.

This is the album I’ve had on repeat for three weeks now. I listened to it while walking to work, doing chores, getting ready to get out and party, while working out or doing nothing. It has grown on me and I’ve come to love it more and more. Please be gentle to beautiful music!


Blink-182 on the market

I forgot how punk I am. Just listening to rebels and the stomping pedal (as one would say), just enjoying the music as a filler and as a well-deserved Xanax.

Everytime I hear Tom DeLonge I feel like I am young again and prone to mistakes. And I don’t mind that. I love the feeling of Californian summer and skater skirts and a bass just for me.

Blink-182 is one of the bands I grew up with, one of the many. I have followed them around, like a puppy, so I guess you can call me Fido.

Their music is like me – until 2005 it was young and fun and what-the-heck-mistakes-are-meant-to-be-made, but now it has grown into beautiful poetry.

Yes, I know. I am a little romantic when it comes to my singers and my music, but who’s to say I am wrong with that?

I enjoy it so much, sometimes it’s so peaceful, and sometimes it’s so full of energy, I can’t wait to go outside and laugh.

Yes, Blink-182 has a new record. Yes, they got out of Interscope. Yes, they are still amazing. I just wanna be young again…

And the way Tom says those Ls, you know it’s happening!

Heart’s all gone

Zilele trec, se mișcă extrem încet… Una după alta, tot mai aglomerate și încărcate. Cuvintele nu vin. Timpul nu vine. Aerul nu intră.
Am fost un pic bolnavă, probabil de acolo starea de apatie. Subiectele bune lipsesc, timpul lipsește, totul lipsește.
Primăvara n-a venit nici ea…
Mă simt ca într-o continuă așteptare, blocată într-o gară unde nu știu ce tren aștept sau ora la care vine.

Heart’s all gone…

Dar începutul este mereu frumos.

blink-182 – After Midnight

What Love – Part II should have been… Angels & Airwaves meets blink-182 again.

I can’t get my feet up off the edge
I kind of like the little rush you get
When you’re standing close to death
Like when you’re driving me crazy

Hold on as we crash into the earth
A bit of pain will help you suffer when you’re hurt, for real
‘Cause you are driving me crazy

Bite your lips, the word’s a robbery
Do you grin inside? You’re killing me
All along we talked of forever
I kind of think that we won’t get better
It’s the longest start, but the end’s not too far away
Did you know? I’m here to stay

We’ll stagger home after midnight
Sleep arm-in-arm in the stairwell
We’ll fall apart on the weekend
These nights go on and on and on

I can’t keep your voice out of my head
All I hear are many echoes of
The darkest words you said
And it’s driving me crazy

I can’t find the best in all of this
But I’m always looking out for you
‘Cause you’re the one I miss
And it’s driving me crazy

Bite your lips, the word’s a robbery
Do you grin inside? You’re killing me
All along we talked of forever
I kind of think that we won’t get better
It’s the longest start, but the end’s not too far away
Did you know? I’m here to stay

We’ll stagger home after midnight
Sleep arm-in-arm in the stairwell
We’ll fall apart on the weekend
These nights go on and on and on

Istoria muzicii in viata mea

Eram mica-mica, si sincer nu mai tin minte ce ascultam cand eram bebelus, dar pot ghici ca muzica din casa era un Beatles combinat cu o Janis Joplin si cu The Doors, poate putin de tot Led Zeppelin.
Am mai crescut si, in tumultul de cantece semi-comuniste, semi-ABBA-wannabe, de genul Dida Dragan, Madalina Manole, Catalin Crisan, etc (ascultate pe la TV, ca mama nu dadea banii pe ele), in tumultul, cum ziceam, format de aceste cantece, eu ascultam Elvis Presley si Pet Shop Boys, Michael Jackson, Sandra, Beatles (again), Elton John, Smokie, The Cure si multi altii pe care mintea mea de copil nu reausea sa-i distinga sau sa-i tina minte. Ah, si Queen. Cum am putut sa uit de Queen? Si AC/DC?

Mbuun… Anii au trecut, generala a venit si ea peste mine, cu generatia anilor ’90, cu blugi din ce in mai scurti, cu Coco Jambo si Spice Girls si mai ales cu blugi. De cate ori ma gandesc la perioada aia, observ ca n-am ramas cu mai nimic in urma, decat cu Tori Amos si cu Puff Daddy-P Diddy-Diddy. Cam atat. Am mai ramas cu vreo 2 formatii de baieti frumosi, ulterior dovediti gay (cel putin cate unul din fiecare formatie), cu Nirvana si cam atat.

S-a apropiat cu pasi vertiginosi capacitatea, cu senzatia aia de insuficienta pe care ti-o inspira trecerea timpului si faptul ca ajungi aproape de un sfarsit. Am avut-o pe Britney in viata mea, dar eu nu puteam decat sa fac misto de ea. Pentru ca Blink si Green Day si Offspring si alte formatii rebele isi faceau loc pe langa mine.

De aici totul pluteste in indecis, pentru ca am inceput sa ascult de toate, cu precadere, fara sa aleg. Au trecut toate prin mana mea, pana la liceu. Moby, Blink, Smokie din nou,  Elvis din nou, Pet Shop Boys din nou, am experimentat cu formatii din anii 50 si 60, fara sa mai retin nume, apoi m-am indreptat fara sa ma uit in reggae. Amalgam si poezie, in fiecare din ei era ceva frumos.

A venit liceul, cu putine dragosti de genul Backstreet Boys, probabil din dorinta de a  apartine, dar s-au dus repede scainteile respective. M-am reorientat spre folk, ba chiar am si cantat (am avut o tentativa, ce e drept esuata), in timp ce acasa ascultam Blink si Anouk si femei cu atitudine, apoi incet-incet Metallica si alte chestii mai „hard”. I wanted to be badass.

Au urmat o gramada de formatii suparate si mai putin suparate, a descoperit mama Nightwish-ul si Rammstein (eu le stiam, dar nu ma dadeam in vant dupa ele). Le ascultam pe astea pe-acasa, apoi tot felul de chestii dubioase, gen Apocalyptica, Ozzy, Children of Boddom, Cradle Of Filth, Sepultura, Samael, Slayer, Deftones, Korn, Disturbed, Evanescence, Mudvayne, Slipknot, System Of a Down, Moonspell, Amorphis, Anathema, The Gathering, Lacrimosa, Lake Of Tears, Katatonia, Paradise Lost, Sentenced, Tiamat, Lacuna Coil, Godsmack. My god, that was MANY.

Probabil pentru ca erau atat de multe, intr-un timp atat de scurt, am revenit la sentimente mai pasnice, foarte repede, si m-am reprofilat. M-am linistit, m-am calmat, l-am descoperit pe Manson, l-am ascultat foarte mult si ma linistea. Mamei ii placea si ei Mason, chiar foarte mult. Si mai mult decat muzica, ii placea persoana lui – mereu i s-a parut ca e un om care a suferit mult. Eu nu vedeam problema chiar asa, dar nu mai conteaza.  Crescusem, si se vedea asta. Mi-am dat seama ca unii artisti pot fi buni, chiar daca ei canta aberatii. Apoi am descoperit ca Pink are voce, Christina Aguilera la fel, Shakira imi placea de prin clasa a 7-a. Nici acum nu inteleg de ce ele canta niste porcarii, cand au voci foarte bune. Probabil la mijloc e banul. Se cam termina si liceul, se cam termina si inspiratia mea in materie de muzica. Pe la sfarsitul liceului, Madonna revolutionase putin situatia, dar n-a durat mult. Au mai fost cateva melodii pop si r’n’b, probabil din criza de timp. Manson. Elvis. Beatles. Queen. Red Hot chilli Peppers. Muse. Matchbox 20. Placebo. Stereophonics. Cateva balade folk. Cateva cantece de dragoste. The Cure. Ceva electronic. Faithless. Basement Jaxx. Moby. Hooverphonic. Cam atat.

Despartirea de liceu a fost brusca. Am intrat intr-o alta tonalitate, s-a dus totul foarte repede, a venit Maroon 5 si a facut ravagii. Inca mai fac, ce sa zic. A venit Natasha Bedingfield, care mi-a copiat coafura de atunci. Alte melodii r’n’b si pop, la un loc cu Guano Apes si Jason Mraz, recent descoperit pe Yahoo Music. Vreun an am stagnat asa, pentru ca aparuse bardul-soldat James Blunt, si eram indragostita de el.

Apoi am descoperit altii ca el, de obicei mai buni. Ma trezeam dimineata cu The Killers. God, ce bine era! Ma trezeam, ca doar la 5 dimineata dadeau aia de pe Atomic videoclipul la Mr. Brightside. Si dansam! Mama, ce mai dansam pe el! Some people called me „hippie” cause of that. Those people introduced me to Poets Of The Fall.

M-am transferat la Bucuresti. Greu, a fost greu cu adaptarea. Stateam in casa si ascultam Jason Mraz si Gavin DeGraw si The Killers si James Blunt si si James Morrison si Maroon 5 si Manson la maxim. Static X si Disturbed. Angels & Airwaves. +44. Se despartise Blink. The Fray. Missy Higgins si Paolo Nutini. Green Day – album nou. Snow Patrol – obsesie noua. Greu, nene. Greu. Mult timp am dus-o asa – pana la prima vara din anul ala. Si apoi a venit noul album Maroon 5 si noul album Joss Stone. Si Mika, sa nu uitam de Mika! Si era asa frumos, si aveam fuste lungi, si le taraiam prin praf. Era cald, ce sa zic. A fost concert cu Manson in anul ala. Anul trecut am fost la Depeche Mode. Am uitat sa zic, si mi-e lene sa editez. Foarte tari, profesionalisti amandoi. Am respectat cuvintele mamei: sa ma duc mereu la concerte.

Alt timp, alta distractie. A trecut un timp, in care nu mai stiu ce-am ascultat, a fost o nebuloasa in mintea mea. Inca vreun an, dupa aia am reinceput sa redescopar alte muzici din liceu. Portishead. Hooverphonic. Moloko, cu Roisin Murphy. Pulp. The Verve. Oasis din nou. Muse din nou. Toate formatiile de brit pop uitate si aruncate prin fundul hardului. Ceasars. Liquido. Descoperiri relativ noi. Damien Rice. Rooney. Fall Out Boy. Sick Puppies. The All American Rejects. Apoi iarasi Tori Amos. Tracy Chapman pana la refuz. Three Doors Down. Velvet Revolver. One Republic. Matchbox 20 din nou. Vanessa Carlton. Vank. Travis, sa nu uitam de Travis. Descoperim side projects de la altii buni. Unele bune, altele nu. Bif Naked – din Buffy. Sarah McLachlan – tot din Buffy. Vega4. The Reindeer Section. Rufus Wainwright. The Knife. Stereophonics, uitati de prin liceu. Amy Winehouse si Duffy. The Darkness, Santogold, MGMT, White Lies. Mark Ronson. Kings Of Leon. The Cure din nou. Anouk din nou. Cate putin din fiecare. Si tot mult mi se pare…