Review Summary: The complete realization of Tom DeLonge’s ambition…take that for what you will.
When DeLonge parted ways with Blink-182, he took his fully blown, unwarranted sense of self-importance and put it to work on “the greatest album ever” We Don’t Need to Whisper
. After proclaiming that the record would reshape the foundation of rock n’ roll and possess the lyrical depth of Pink Floyd along with melodies worthy of U2, many lost, impressionable Blink-182 disciples clung to his promise and everything that the supposed evolution in maturity stood for. When the album finally made its impertinent entrance, even the most blindly zealous fans couldn’t hide the fact that it was a complete and utter disappointment. But then again, how could it not have been? Tom hyped this thing to high hell, and when people finally got a chance to listen it was the audio equivalent of prematurely ejaculating on the jeans zipper of a still clothed woman after telling her for months that you are the greatest fucking lover on the face of the planet.
And then I-Empire
was even worse. It took three album to get on track, because Love
part one was the first time that Angels & Airwaves even showed a glimpse
of what it was initially intended to do: provide emotional depth without sacrificing musical appeal. The guitars were amped up, the riffs juicier than ever, and DeLonge actually toned down the overbearing theatrics and space synthesizers for about two songs. “The Flight of Apollo” best illustrated what AVA could have been all along, and the hope amongst those still wielding hope was that DeLonge would carry that kind of ambition into Love Part 2
, not the kind of ambition that made Blink-182’s reunion album sound like a sixth grade poetry recital. The bad news is that Angels & Airwaves haven’t progressed all that much on Love Part 2
…but the good news is that the most enjoyable facets of the first Love
have returned for another go around, making the tale of two Love
s the most consistent portion of AVA’s discography.
The opening three songs seem to have received the most attention thus far, and if they haven’t caught your ear then you are probably better off. Out of the eleven songs presented on Love Part 2
, they are easily the most diluted and possess the most transparent purposes (it’s like they stacked all the front-runners for the first single at the beginning). But after the numbing repetitiveness of ‘Saturday Love’ and ‘Surrender’ have subsided, and the nonsensical lyrics to ‘Anxiety’ have been shaken off (“Don’t pressure us, anxiety…I’m a passenger”), things actually start to get pretty good. ‘Crawl’ is as earnest and romantic a song as AVA have ever written, with emotion surfacing everywhere that actually doesn’t sound markedly forced, and ‘Moon As My Witness’ treats us to Tom’s least whiny vocal delivery in years. Even though ‘Dry Your Eyes’ is a less enthralling version of the previous album’s standout track ‘Shove’, we are given a quick apology in the outstanding triple-play that is ‘The Revelator’, ‘One Last Thing’, and ‘Inertia.’ The first contains the uplifting sentiment, “The end, it will never come / But we're in for a few hard times / And we’ll get knocked up down and done / But the truth is we're still alive.” Combined with punchy, quickly sang verses and a gorgeous bridge, ‘The Revelator’ proves to be one of the better songs in AVA’s catalogue. ‘One Last Thing’ is easily the most unique song they have ever written, as it escapes the stringent synth-pop grasp that suffocates so much of the band’s work. If you are craving something carefree by nature (one word that never
described Angels & Airwaves before), it will do the trick quite handily. The real prize of Love Part 2
, however, is ‘Inertia’ - a song that combines thunderous drumbeats with an infectious rhythm, creepy synthesized keyboarding akin to Radiohead or The Antlers, and guitar riffs that are, dare I say, innovative. It is a must-hear song for fans, and it is still definitely worth inspecting even if you have always avoided DeLonge’s work like it’s the plague.
Although Love Part 2
closes out with two rather ordinary tracks, the surprise of just how good some of these songs are still manages to resonate well after the album’s conclusion. It lacks consistency across the board, but it also exudes catchy, fresh tunes in small but potent bursts. The whole space-rock theme featuring endless cycling of synthesizers and drum patterns still hold down the album’s overall creativity, but DeLonge shows a rare willingness to deviate from the formula here, even if only in tiny windows. And that is a direction that, if followed to the full extent, could really help Angels & Airwaves finally lift their asses off the ground.