Streetlight Manifesto
99 Songs of Revolution: Volume I


3.5
great

Review

by Luigi L. USER (8 Reviews)
March 30th, 2010 | 44 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most anticipated albums on the year drops and falls somewhere in the between.

When one thinks of ska, most times they will think of one band: Streetlight Manifesto. The band has changed the face of the ska scene for the better by creating memorable songs and having a group of highly talented musicians fronted by the ever-captivating Tomas Kalnoky. With their albums, Everything Went Numb and Somewhere in the Between, Streetlight has become one of the best bands in the ska scene, and underground music scene in general. When word came out that the first volume of the infamous 99 Songs of Revolution collection was coming out, the usual fanfare came around for the band, and the anticipation grew.

So how does this album stack up against their previous work? 99SoR packs the usual ska-punk of Streetlight with enough energy to power Los Angeles and a musicianship that most bands would kill for. At the same time it also disappoints. This is not to say that the songs are not good (at least not all of them). It just means that a covers album is not the best thing to bring to the table when your catalog is quite short, especially after 8 years (21 original songs total).

The songs themselves are up to Streetlight’s standard, and the band even improves in some areas. Kalnoky has made room for his guitar skill in “Just” and “Linoleum”. The horn sections are as intricate and brilliant as before, and Chris Thatcher and Pete McCullough go full force on drums and bass, not just keeping beat, but acting as lead instruments at times, such as “Punk Rock Girl”. The songs chosen for this album really show how Kalnoky has been influenced by these bands, and one can see how Streetlight’s music holds little bits and pieces of them on their albums. These covers blend the band’s ska-punk style with the style of the original artists gracefully as if you are listening to two bands at the same time.

However, some of these songs falter, such as with the case with “Skyscraper”, originally written by Bad Religion. The song is boring and does not go anywhere, as well as including some of the worst singing Kalnoky has done since Everything Went Numb. The only interesting thing about this cover is the organ solo halfway through, something that Streetlight has never used in their songs. In addition, “They Provide the Paint…” does very little besides turn the amp up to 11. It strips away the things that made the original a classic and just speeds it up a bit, as if the song was never punk enough for Kalnoky. The song is still good, but I question why it was included on this particular album.

Besides the previously stated songs, the rest of the album is quite good. The highlights on this album include “Red Rubber Ball” and “Such Great Heights”, which display the typical Streetlight sound and will no doubt have repeat listens. “Red Rubber Ball” sounds like something that could have been included on Somewhere in the Between, with its anthemic horn melody and driving rhythm section. “Such Great Heights” takes a chance at taking an electronica song (or “indietronic” for you hipster label-makers) and drastically transforming it into something different and interesting. The horns play off of each other in as intricate a way as the electric bits did in the original. The guitar and bass blend perfectly together and carry the verses at a fast pace, while duel guitar riffs do their best to reproduce what The Postal Service did years ago. It will make you nostalgic for 2003.

“Linoleum” slows things down a bit and carries itself with reggae-style upstrokes on an acoustic guitar. It proves that Streetlight does not need horns in every song to still be good. It is the most emotional song on the album and adds something to the song that NOFX never did. The violin piece and the guitar solo keep the song interesting and flowing perfectly as to not make the song boring and repetitive, something NOFX also never did. It is very reminiscent of “A Moment of Silence” from Everything Went Numb.

In general, 99 Songs of Revolution: Volume 1 is a good album that deserves respect, but in the end it is just another cover album. But you need to take it for what it is: a collection of old songs that have that familiar Streetlight flare to them. The album still retains what people like about the band, and it adds quite a bit to their already unique style, while simultaneously shedding a new light to the original songs. 99SoR will not go down as a classic or enable Streetlight Manifesto to break through and gain mainstream recognition, but it will leave most fans satisfied until they release another album of original material.



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user ratings (215)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
gaz (3)
Build me up, tear me down, like a skyscraper. Thanks a bunch Thomas....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
March 30th 2010


20379 Comments


I hate when people say pun not intended.

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=puns

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

Skimaskcheck
March 30th 2010


2360 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Surprised this took quite a while to be reviewed. Maybe everyone was busy wallowing in their disappointment

Transient
March 30th 2010


1461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

of course the pun was intended dumbass, take that out of the summary

Skimaskcheck
March 30th 2010


2360 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

However, some of these songs falter, such as with the case with “Skyscraper”

aww, i really liked Skyscraper. Just me? No pun intended
uggggggh shoot me now
but seriously, Skyscraper anyone?

Pizza
March 30th 2010


687 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I kind of forgot about this until now so I'll have to listen to this later. I wish they would have written a new album instead of doing covers

ThePalestMexican
March 30th 2010


2816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not gonna lie I enjoyed this

Foxhound
March 30th 2010


4570 Comments


This band always annoyed me. Good review.

PirateSquid
March 30th 2010


1881 Comments


Eh, they're better when they're making stuff THEY wrote.

EmersonRhodes
March 30th 2010


19 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Alright, I took out the pun thing. I now see how stupid that was to put in there. Oh well.

TheBlackHoleofDeath7
March 30th 2010


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this band but this album wasn't their best.

Pizza
March 30th 2010


687 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So I just finished listening and it wasn't anything exciting, Such Great Heights or Linoleum are my favorites right now. And Skyscraper was pretty awful

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2010


10211 Comments


I don't quite see why the pun thing was such a big deal...
Anyhow, nice review! It's good to see someone finally got around to this album.
And also, "Revolution" was spelled wrong in the final paragraph, just so you know.

VicariousIntent
March 30th 2010


1593 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review. I like some stuff off of this. Their rendition of Such Great Heights is awesome.
Is it me, or is the singing REALLY off at some points in Just?

rudy4u51
March 31st 2010


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Skyscraper was awesome. maybe because i love bad religion but the song stood out as one of the best on the albums for me. such great heights was really cool to hear to. I really like this album a lot!

MichaelTheos
March 31st 2010


21 Comments


i hate cover bands

Fort23
April 8th 2010


2475 Comments


such great heights=super choclate sex, rest is okay

Masochist
April 9th 2010


8039 Comments


Eh..."Skyscraper" wasn't all that great. Ska covers of BR songs can work if done right (just ask Sublime), and I think SM could get it, but it was just a poor song choice, IMO.

I'd love to hear something like "Sorrow" or "Tiny Voices" covered by a ska band.

Fort23
April 15th 2010


2475 Comments


i change my mind this is pretty damn good overall. organ solo in skyscraper is sweeeeet

starry
January 5th 2011


552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I heard this album for the first time today and liked it straight away. Fresh and melodic. I don't care if they wrote the songs or not, they bring the songs alive. And I don't know SOME of the original versions very well anyway, so I don't have that baggage to carry listening to this.

Corvus
April 10th 2011


13 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ok-ish. they can definitely do better.



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