When this band came about in the mid-2000’s, I actually liked a few of their songs. They weren’t the best new band around, but they had decent songs. I decided to check out this album by them and I apparently I hated it. I only found three songs that I could stand. I decided to give the album another chance after one of their songs came up on my shuffle recently. I should’ve trusted my younger self. I don’t want to be mean, but this album really sucks. I gave it another shot thinking maybe I wasn’t ready or expected something else, which happens with me a lot. Nope. It just stinks.
Let’s focus on the decent part of the album first. There are a few songs that are tolerable and really I’m not exactly sure why. “Nkki Fm” is one of these songs. It begins with a slow, somber guitar riff that sounds like something you would play at a funeral before the equally somber dancing riff comes in. Actually, the riff is pretty cool since it actually sounds different from the rest of the music here. For the 80’s movie fan, you may notice that there’s a huge reference to the John Cusack movie Say Anything: “I’m outside of your window with my radio.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t really understand why the reference is here. What does it really add to the song? Also, when you look at the lyrics, this guy comes off as a stalker. One of the lines is “Asleep with one eye open so I can see you breathing…” What the hell man? I know you like this girl, but why do you have to be creepy? Aside from that, the song is pretty good, at least one of the best here.
Another decent song is the band’s biggest single “Ohio is for Lover’s.” Really, there’s nothing special about this song and with the line “So cut my wrists and black my eyes” you realize just how emo this band is, but more on that a little later. I guess this song is tolerable because again it has a pretty cool guitar riff, which makes the song stand out from the other ten tracks. And in it’s own little fucked up way, it’s catchy. There are other songs like “Life on Standby” and “Wake Up Call” that aren’t that bad either, but there really isn’t anything about them that makes them fantastic.
Now time for the bad. After the third song, everything starts to sound the same. All the vocals are whiny and annoying, the screamo element gets old really fast, and the guitar sound really doesn’t change aside from a few songs where it does some cool tricks. It just gets really annoying when you get to “Dissolve and Decay” and realize it sounds like “Life on Standby.” There’s just nothing here that makes you want to listen to the album past track five, which is really disappointing. Also, you’ll get tired of the whiny vocals after the first song.
Hawthorne Heights doesn’t try to hide the fact that they are an emo band, but they seem to be the most emo band out there. Every song is about how much life sucks because a girl dumped a guy or how this guy wants to drown himself because a girl dumped him or how he’s cold and pale because of this girl’s cold love. It just goes on to the point where it becomes laughable. It really sounds like bad Gothic poetry by someone who is trying to be deep, but comes off as someone who’s miserable just because it’s raining outside. The band never let up for one second with their death and love theme. Every song alludes to it and since they don’t do it in a clever or unique way it gets old.
Overall, the album gets 5/10. There are a few songs here that are decent, but they aren’t enough to save the album. The songs are repetitive, whiny, and really easy to tune out. Also, the lyrics are so corny at some point you want to grab this guy by the shoulders and tell him that everything’s gonna be alright! Surprisingly, the band keeps releasing albums. I don’t know how. Maybe they’ve improved at this point, but I’m not about to find out.