Breaking Benjamin
Dear Agony


2.0
poor

Review

by Dylan620 USER (4 Reviews)
November 11th, 2009 | 14 replies | 3,978 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dear Agony is a disappointing step backward from Phobia.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Here's a Breaking Benjamin bio in a nutshell. It starts with Saturate, their 2002 debut, which got little initial attention aside from the moderate hit "Polyamourous". BB's 2004 album, We Are Not Alone, kicked them into the mainstream, with two #2 hits, "So Cold" and "Sooner or Later" (please, don't burn me, for the overuse of commas, in that sentence). Then in 2006 came the pinnacle of BB's brilliance, Phobia. Phobia sported the hit singles "The Diary of Jane", "Breath", and "Until the End" - the first of which became Breaking Benjamin's first pop chart hit, and the second of which became their first (and to date, only) #1 hit. Basically, Phobia is a very impressive piece of work - one that I would probably give a 3.5 or 4.

Now, here we are in 2009, with Dear Agony.

With lead single "I Will Not Bow" becoming one of Breaking Benjamin's greatest hits so far, you would expect Dear Agony to be even better than Phobia. But instead of the intelligent intricacy of the musical style that made Phobia a masterpiece, much of Dear Agony's music seems pointless, forced, or pointlessly forced. This can be especially seen in "Crawl", "Give Me a Sign", "What Lies Beneath", and "Lights Out". "Crawl" just doesn't feel like an interesting track - rather I feel like it is too heavy, and drags on a long time. Then we have "Give Me a Sign". "Give Me a Sign" would probably be a better tune than it turned out to be if it didn't seem to wander aimlessly, and drag on almost infinitely. 2 tracks later, "What Lies Beneath" comes on. "What Lies Beneath" is easily the song I have to criticize most, given the unnecessarily sharp vocals and extremely generic, unimaginative lyrics. After that, there is yet another overly heavy, exaggerated number, "Lights Out".

Dear Agony generally comes off as a frantic response to the popularity of Phobia. Breaking Benjamin wanted to please the fans, and tried too hard. As a result, the overly abrasive, jagged, and boring Dear Agony is born.

While Dear Agony may be popular with diehard BB fans, if you only liked Phobia then you may wish to stay away from this album.


user ratings (867)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • thatdudeud0ntknow (2.5)
    Here we go again…...

    marshal46 (4)
    "Dear Agony" is an excellent album that has been unjustly ignored and forgotten because it...

    sularetal (3)
    Puntuación: 6/10 Lo mejor: El single “I Will Not Bow” (hasta a mi hijo de 10 meses l...

    Nikichan004 (3)
    Solid musicmanship, tight riffs and too perfect to be true vocals create an album that wil...

  • James OBrien (2.5)
    Dear Agony is the result of an album designed to do exactly what its predecessor did. You ...

    Austin (4)
    Breaking Benjamin combine the strengths of their previous albums to create what is surely ...

    Davey Boy STAFF (3)
    As competent & inoffensive as ever, Dear Agony is unlikely to change your opinion of Break...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dylan620
November 11th 2009



993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm sorry that my first review had to be a negative one.

Eclectic
November 11th 2009



3302 Comments


But instead of the intelligent intricacy of the musical style that made Phobia a masterpiece

It was good, but it wasn't THAT good.
Review is a bit short as you could easily condense the 3rd paragraph into a few lines by saying that a few of the songs are too long.
Good review for a first though so I pos'd, keep writing and you'll get better as you go along.

Dylan620
November 11th 2009



993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks for the feedback - I'd change that bit if I knew how.

Dylan620
November 11th 2009



993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh, I thought you meant that I worded that "Phobia is a masterpiece" bit unwisely.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2009



20825 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not bad for a 1st review Dylan. I liked some of the songs you rubbished, hence the slightly higher rating from me.

And just a nitpick from me (which I brought up elsewhere), I question the use of thee word "hit" & especially the chart positions you quote for their previous songs.

I presume you are in America where there seems to be a chart for every genre. To me (& many may disagree), the only chart positions you should quote are from the main one (I think you call it Billboard 200). Breaking Benjamin have only had one Top 40 hit & believe it or not, it is 'I Will Not Bow' from this album.

Oliver
November 11th 2009



118 Comments


I think Billboard 200 is the album chart whereas the Hot 100 and Pop 100 are the pop singles charts.

For this type of band it might be more relevent to reference rock and alternative radio charts in my opinion though; the band tends to do well within these, and that is why they are considered mainstream leaders in the rock format.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2009



20825 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, I meant to say Hot 100. I checked on 'Breath' & it made all of #84 on that chart, while making #1 on the "Mainstream Rock" Chart. Does that mean that none of the 83 songs ahead of it at the time was mainstream rock. Ridiculous. I'm sorry, I still don't see the value in genre charts. Well, I do, but not enough to quote them in a review.

Oliver
November 11th 2009



118 Comments


Yeah its a fickle system in truth. The problem is that the Hot 100 is fueled by a lot of online retailers like Itunes. Rock and Alternative charts tend to be more radio airplay based. Its actually not too common to see many rock bands on the Hot or Pop 100 charts as they tend to carry Pop and Hip Hop artists. These music artists are the majority of the mainstream I believe, and unless a band is Nickelback, Green Day, or Linkin Park, its very hard for a single to climb the charts.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2009



20825 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the info. It definitely suggests that these genre charts are required them. However, I stand by my initial recommendation to not include these chart positions in reviews. They are predominantly irrelevant & more than a little misleading.

Oliver
November 11th 2009



118 Comments


I definitely agree with you there. Radio airplay doesn't mean a song, or a single for that matter, is necessarily good or bad. A lot of it is just marketing and mere luck.

Emim
November 11th 2009



26195 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Pretty good first. I semi enjoyed this album, I Will Not Bow being my favorite. You do use a lot of commas, but then again so do I in my reviews.


Oh hey, 500 comments! ...I thought it would feel more exciting than this.

Captain North
November 12th 2009



6743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You give Phobia way too much credit. It was mainstream rock through and through, the previous albums had more musical technicality.

DinoX
January 25th 2011



3582 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I am a diehard BB fan for all their work except this album. There is a special place in my garbage can for this monstrosity. Every song sounds the same and it is very boring.

Azn.
April 17th 2012



5326 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ehhhhh Phobia also sucked too. Which goes to show that this isn't good either.

Uncatchy, bland, musically unskilled, lots of regression. Gotta love BB.

Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc



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