Story of the Year
The Constant


2.5
average

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
February 9th, 2010 | 48 replies | 10,893 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tithing a wealth of potential to the church of boring pop-punk.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Story of the Year have always been the ultimate squanderers of potential. Ever since their well-known and perfectly acceptable debut Page Avenue in 2003, the band has been peppering their releases with brief moments of great potential amidst a surplus of mediocrity. Their dual attack of anthemic choruses and refined aggression has always been a little lopsided, but as the band discovered their knack for a less tailored, louder sound with In the Wake of Determination, one could only assume that Story of the Year were destined for a much more focused and memorable record in the near future. 2008’s The Black Swan wasn’t that record, and regrettably, the band’s latest, The Constant, certainly isn’t either. Recalling much of the melodic aspect found on Page Avenue, those thrilled with the band’s well-worn formula will have plenty more to sink their teeth into on The Constant. However, listeners waiting for Story of the Year to capitalize on their potential will be less than thrilled when they realize that this is in no way a regression or progression for the band - it’s simply another Story of the Year album, no changes made. Going strong, but going nowhere.

As it has on every Story of the Year album before it, the band’s potential remains prevalent on The Constant. Guitarists Ryan Phillips and Phillip Sneed are as capable of musicians as ever, but they’re still pretty bad at writing memorable riffs. ‘Ghost of You’ contains some of the crunchy riffs you’d expect from the band that wrote the powerful ‘We Don’t Care Anymore’, and lead single ‘I’m Alive’ opens with a chorus-ridden, classic picking part that is as acceptable as guitar lines get - but there’s nothing to latch on to. The two obvious solos on The Constant - found on ‘To the Burial’ and ‘The Dream is Over’, respectively - are complete opposites. The former is the most indulgent, technical thing to ever fall under Story of the Year’s tree of riffery - a tour-de-force of musicianship that, while impressive, is just a blur of poorly composed ego-fellating. The latter, however, is a tasteful and well constructed example of Story of the Year’s potential - technical, tasteful and actually relevant within the song’s structure. This is essentially a microcosm of Story of the Year’s entire career (and The Constant in particular) - they know how to write something catchy and memorable, they just don’t do it often enough.

The more aggressive moments on The Constant are, somehow, the most memorable segments on the album. Contrary to the way Story of the Year probably intended it to be, the punk/metal hybrid of songs like ‘Won Threw Ate’ - while still rather bland - are miles more interesting than the smarmy power ballad of ‘Holding on to You’ or the Saosin-influenced ‘Ten Years Time’. When the band flips the post-hardcore switch on throughout the album, the results are immediately more varied and creative than the tepid pop-punk they settle for throughout most of the other tracks. Most notably, ‘To The Burial’ presents the most well-rounded song on the album; wedding vocalist Dan Marsala’s consistently strong harsh vocals (now more guttural than ever!) with a smorgasbord of decent riffing and a positively soaring chorus melody. However, despite Marsala’s improvement on the more aggressive front of things, most of his melodies you will have already heard before on previous Story of the Year records - his once explosive choruses are getting progressively less catchy as time goes on.

Although Story of the Year continue to consistently release average albums, something about the The Constant hints at the band eventually breaking through and making something worth coming back to again - and why not, the band certainly isn’t done yet. Marsala says, “The Constant can mean anything; [...] we want music to remain a constant thing in our lives no matter what" - and as long as Story of the Year eventually get as bored with their formula as most listeners have by now, this isn’t such a bad thing at all. We just want some progress, boys. Help us out - a little variation couldn’t hurt, could it?



Recent reviews by this author
Anberlin LowbornThe Oh Hellos Through The Deep, Dark Valley
Dan Mangan Oh FortuneThe Decemberists Long Live the King
The Reign Of Kindo Rhythm, Chord & MelodyAntoine Dufour Convergences
user ratings (197)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
Davey Boy STAFF (3.5)
2010 may be a new year, but The Constant is the same old story. You decide if that is a good or bad ...

Alexander (3.5)
SOTY presents The Constant: 11 all-natural anthems that don’t change much but certainly bring the ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
February 9th 2010



11445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I wrote this before Alex's review (which was grand, well done) - but reading both of them over again, we basically agree with each other. Except he likes this a lot more than I do for the reasons I dislike it.

As noted, if you like the past three SOTY albums, you'll like this too. Others simply will be tired of the band releasing the same album four times over.

cheeeeeeers

YouAreMySilence
February 9th 2010



3727 Comments


Nice write up, agree on most accounts.
Pos'd.

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2010



10306 Comments


props for using the word "tithing"

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Knott-
Emeritus
February 9th 2010



10195 Comments


if im honest the whole potential argument smacks of you not liking the band and dressing that subjective thing in objective clothes in lieu of better arguments

jussaying :X

Waior
February 9th 2010



11445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

but i like the band when they do things right. they just don't do things right nearly often enough. also every review is dressing a subjective thing in objective clothes.

please elaborate! i am in distress

Knott-
Emeritus
February 9th 2010



10195 Comments


yeah i know that

for the record i think the band is ok, good but nothing amazing. ive just listened to this and its alright, probably a 3 for me. i dont really know why i think it its just the way it reads to me, like youre trying to avoid saying you dont actually think the band are that good

loseit13
February 9th 2010



226 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I wonder when this band will change their sound and at least attempt to do something different. That being said was enjoyable but I can see myself getting over it quickly

Ponton
Emeritus
February 9th 2010



5787 Comments


From what I've heard of this, it seems more catchy than their last album.

fromtheinside
February 9th 2010



17911 Comments


i think the song titles are keeping me from downloading this.
The Children Sing? ughh...

Digging: Coroner - No More Color

ToWhatEnd
February 9th 2010



3172 Comments


i think the song titles are keeping me from downloading this.
The Children Sing? ughh...
Really that fickle? If you've rated any SOTY records a 3 or more this is worth streaming.

Nice review Caleb.

AlexTM510
February 9th 2010



1399 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Nice review, and yea we basically agree hah.

Though I really have no idea where they'll go after this. The subtle changes from TBS to this are just enough for me to enjoy. And honestly for me the SOTY formula/sound is just way to infectious to object to any flaws. So the fact that they just jammed out 11 songs in their skin is cool for me.


Digging: Sadistik - Ultraviolet

BigTuna
February 9th 2010



5154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Album is crazy catchy. The first two tracks rule.

Digging: Common - Nobody's Smiling

tylerevans9
February 9th 2010



11 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Enjoyed The Black Swan more. 4 or 5 really good songs on this this though.

DaMorg3
February 10th 2010



10 Comments


Having only heard the first four tracks so far, I can't really pass judgment. I will say, "I'm Alive" is very catchy, but everything else is catch and release. Still waiting to be really impressed.

I do have one contention with the review, which is to say that I don't quite think they've released the same album four times. I personally was really impressed by In the Wake of Determination, specifically because the took the pop-punk-with-a-twinge of metal and threw out all but the metal and the hooks. Similarly, by FAR the best track on The Black Swan is the opener, "Choose Your Fate". I still really enjoy listening to ITWOD, except that it reminds me of how lame it is when they sink back into the lame poppy stuff that they aren't as good at and clearly don't even like doing as much.

And Lord, "To The Burial" embodies everything that sucks about their cross-genre attempts. The riff is completely forgettable and the tempo shifts are about as smooth as a bunch of smashed Christmas ornaments. What a shame.

DaMorg3
February 10th 2010



10 Comments


P.S. To elaborate on "To The Burial" being lame: it reminds me of the garbage that is "Angel in the Swamp" from TBS. Seriously, these tracks just feel like they never should have made it past the demo stage. Furthermore, it's difficult not to recall the infinitely better songs that SOTY has done in this main-riff/double-time/half-time/breakdown/etc. vein. For example, "Choose Your Fate" from TBS or "Our Time Is Now" from ITWOD are two very well-executed and totally awesome songs that fall into a similar style.

Ponton
Emeritus
February 11th 2010



5787 Comments


Congrats, Caleb.

Did Davey not call this?

Waior
February 11th 2010



11445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Oh, cool. It's been since Susan Boyle since a feature. Shanks. Davey called it, yes, he'll likely still review it and earn the feature once his is out... that happens often (most recently with BT's latest album).

DaMorg3, I appreciate the rationality of your approach. 'To the Burial' is the most interesting song on this album, in my opinion (followed maybe by 'The Dream is Over')... perhaps mostly because it actually sounds like they're having fun. I find it peculiar that you don't enjoy the song considering you dislike their poppier songs more but I guess it boils down to subjectivity.

rasputin
February 11th 2010



14538 Comments


friends of mine loved this band about 4 years ago. i always hated them with a passion.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I'll still be reviewing it... But it won't be until at least early next week, so Caleb can stay featured through the weekend.

Waior
February 12th 2010



11445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Have you heard yet? If so, thoughts? 3.5? 3?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy