Review Summary: Screw the technicalities-Addicted is just plain fun.
Remember Devin Townsend, from way back when? Performing under the name of Strapping Young Lad, thumping about the music scene with his unmistakable hairdo, screaming angry words, chugging out angry riffs, and just being a very angry man playing very angry music in general? Well, in 2009, this very same man-minus the ridiculous haircut-released the second album in his latest four-part project; Addicted.
And guess what’s on the cover of Mr. Very-Angry-Man-Playing-Very-Angry-Music’s album?
Yep, crayons. The sight of a child’s plaything on the cover of Devin’s album may worry the innocent Strapping Young Lad fanatic who is unfamiliar with the nature of Devin’s solo work. And the fact that the production was apparently “directly influenced” by Nickelback’s Dark Horse
may well-and should well-worry pretty much everyone else. But try not to let anything deter you from giving Addicted
a good listen-because, to be quite frank, the album is totally and utterly brilliant.
The generally outstanding quality of Townsend’s previous solo releases has earned him much respect with music critics. Going back to the first of these-Ocean Machine: Biomech
, we find ourselves presented with an album that was devoured by critics and Townsend fans alike-and showered with glorious praise. From here on out, Devin’s releases have been nitpicked by critics for even the finest detail-and, usually, applauded for them as well. Of course, this is entirely possible with Addicted
-you could take the album and analyze it for every little musical element and factor, but you’d be missing the point entirely. Sure, Addicted
has as many brilliant technicalities as any of Devin’s other LP’s, but that’s not the point. You shouldn’t be paying any attention to the technicalities. Because Addicted is just flat-out fun, and that’s what you should really be focusing on here.
Take, for example, the third track. “Bend It Like Bender!” starts with Devin’s signature, chugging riffs and harsh, angry vocals, but then suddenly breaks out into a poppy, catchy chorus displayed beautifully by some surprisingly gentle female vocals. “In-Ah!” is a wonderful, melodic, mid-tempo poppy cut, which still manages to remain as undeniably gripping as all the other material here. Hell, even the two (a little out-of-place, I must admit) crushingly heavy openers, “Addicted!” and “Universe in a Ball!” are still not “angry” as such-just heavy. The anthemic choruses of tracks like “Supercrush!” are also truly a delight for the ears to behold. The melodies are brilliant-and every track hits the mark it’s meant to (except, perhaps, “Universe in a Ball,” which doesn’t really have any lasting affect).
Addicted is an album you’re meant to just sit back and enjoy, a release you’re meant to have a great time singing-or headbanging-along to, a release that’s just meant to be listened to without being nitpicked. Take a drive, slot the CD into your player, and lose yourself in some of the best music of ’09.