Review Summary: Glassjaw delivers one of the best and most versatile albums in Post-hardcore.
The other day I was thinking about the genre post-hardcore and where it stands in the music right now. The more and more I thought about, I began to realize how downhill the genre could be heading in a few years. With post-hardcore heavyweights like Thrice, Thursday, At The Drive-in, and other bands like those breaking up, the end of great post-hardcore seems almost inevitable. Sure, there are great current bands like La Dispute, and Glassjaw (even though they just realease EP's) still making great music, I just don't feel like it will ever be the same that it used to be. On top of that Glassjaw is starting to abolish the genre tag. As I thought more and more of the great albums that came out of this genre, I almost always seem to forget one of the genre's most praised album, Glassjaw's “Worship and Tribute”. I always wondered why I forgot it too. It's a sure 5/5 album, almost no flaws to mention, and also one of my favorite albums of the last 20 years. Then it came to me. I began to realize that it was so much more than a great post-hardcore record, which is why I never thought of it when I thought of the genre. I realized it was just a phenomenal record that in my personal opinion didn't even have a genre tag. I guess you could say it was a post-hardcore record, but there are so many different influences in the album. There are some pop punk influences in this album, there are some bluesy and jazzy attributes in it, and there of course some metal influences. Listening to this album quenches so many of the things I look for in music. It has those long epic songs in tracks like “Two Tabs of Mescaline” and “The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports”, some really raw and in your face heavy tracks like “Stuck Pig” and “Tip Your Bartender”, and they even have some softer more serious tracks with the songs “Must've Run All Day”, “Ape Dos Mil”, and of course “Trailer Park Jesus”.
With an album this diverse, you need some good songwriting to really complement the music itself, and the songwriting is absolutely phenomenal. As good as the songwriting is in this entire album, it is especially noticeable in the two epics in this album. The first epic, The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, is really the first song on this album that I noticed the jazz influence in the album. The music is very groovy and smooth in the verses, but when it gets to the chorus they just explode with aggressiveness, but not to the point where the music becomes obnoxious. Daryl's singing in this song is top notch in the first half, but once you get to about halfway in the song, Daryl tries one of the most creative things he's ever done. That is of course the part where acts like a commentator for a race (hence the title “The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports) and refers to all the racers as parts of him as a person. The racers include his heart, his mind, his soul, and his body, but no matter what happens his heart always stays in the lead. I just love the whole groove of the song, and how creative Daryl gets at that part. As good as the singing and songwriting in this song, it is even better in the song “Two Tabs of Mescaline”. The song, like “The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports”, has a real nice groove again, only this time the groove is much heavier. Daryl's voice is intense throughout the entire verse, which contain him bizarrely singing random letters, and pretty much explodes in the chorus. Those are some reasons I love this song, but the main reason I love it is the part where Daryl sings in one of the most beautiful moments of the entire album. That part being:
An old friend of mine
At the leper zoo.
Be cool, girl.”
It has to be one of my favorite moments in this band's music history. Glassjaw doesn't usually write long songs like these, but these two songs both do the same thing ever long song tries to do. They keep you entertained and interested throughout the entire song.
As I said earlier, there are some pop punk influenced songs on this albums. Those songs being “Radio Cambodia”, “Cosmopolitan Blood Loss”, and even a little bit in the song “Mu Empire”. The reason I say only a little for the song “Mu Empire” is because there is a lot more punk involved in this song than there is pop. This song starts out in a bizarre time signature, with a drum solo to start the song that is very good. Then when the guitars kick in, it turns into a headbanger song. Even though the song starts out very heavy, the chorus and all the verses really are not. I see a little pop punk influence in this song as I said earlier, but the biggest genre I see in this song is the emo vibe. The song is very emotional, as are the bizarre lyrics (I still have no idea who Mr. Shivers is). Overall, it is a fantastic song and one of my favorites on the album. Another song on this album that has that pop punk influence is the lead single off this album and probably the most popular, “Cosmopolitan Blood Loss”. This song starts out with very heavy guitars with loads of effects used on them. The effects of the guitar sort of cause for a paranoid feel for the song, which is perfect for the songs lyrics (about a girl who had an abortion and is worried about what other people think of her). The pop influence is really only noticeable in the chorus, which is easily the part of the album with the most pop influence. The thing that makes this song so great is that even though it does come off as a very approachable pop punk song, the paranoid feel of the song and the intense lyrics make it out to be a very well done interesting song. The last song with pop punk influence is the song “Radio Cambodia”. This song is sort of the albums “Ry Ry's Song”. It has loads of pop punk influence in it. The song, however, is not one of my favorites off the album. The songs catchy hooks and well done instrumentation prevent it from being a bad song, but the constant repetitiveness of this song make it drag out for me. The lyrics really are nothing special, and neither is the singing. I really liked the guitar effects in the chorus, but I did get tired of it very fast considering the chorus was repeated quite a bit. This is probably the only pop punk song on here that doesn't keep an interesting feel to it as the others all did.
All this talk about pop punk is starting to bore me, lets talk about the really heavy songs on this album. Now, this album really isn't even near as heavy as their first LP was, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. As good as their debut album was, this album is much more diverse than another of their releases to this point. However, there are some fantastic heavy songs on this LP. Those songs are “Pink Roses”, “Tip Your Bartender”, and “Stuck Pig”. The song “Tip Your Bartender” really starts off this album with a big bang. Daryl is pretty much screaming throughout this entire song, outside of the chorus in which he does a little bit of well done clean vocals. This is another single off this album, but it isn't nearly as approachable as the other singles off this album. The instrumentation of this song is so heavy and great, especially the guitars. In the chorus they really create an intense powerful mood that Daryl's vocals just take to a whole new level. This song has a little bit of a dark vibe, but not nearly as dark as the song “Pink Roses”. The instruments don't really make this song dark, but the lyrics sure do. The lyrics include bizarre topics such as smiles on a clown, black father's souls, and of course Daryl's darkest desire to fornicate someone and film it. This instruments are average in this song, but the vocals and lyrics really take this song and make is so dark and interesting. “Stuck Pig” is a song I always forget about on this album, but it is definitely not a song to just skim over. The song is incredible heavy, with the guitar going absolutely crazy throughout the entire song, drums and bass are very heavy, and Daryl's dark lyrics and intense singing make this song so great. Other than those things, there really isn't too much else to talk about in this song.
Something that you see in this album that you definitely don't see a whole lot in their first LP is the softer songs on this album. I'm talking of course about songs like “Trailer Park Jesus”, “Ape Dos Mil”, and “Must've Run All Day”. The song “Must've Run All Day” is definitely the weakest of the three soft songs off this album. That doesn't make it a bad song though. The singing and songwriting on this song are top notch as usual, and the instruments really don't fall flat either. The thing that makes this sort of a weaker track is that it is just not that interesting. I like to hear Glassjaw try new things, but I definitely feel like I hear songs like these much too often from bands like this. The song “Trailer Park Jesus” is in my opinion one of the most underrated songs off this LP. There is hardly instruments in this song, but Daryl's lyrics and singing are so beautiful in this track. This is especially noticeable in the chorus. I really wish this track would have become one of the singles off this album, but at least another soft song did. That song is “Ape Dos Mil”. This song at first to me was annoying. I didn't care for the singing at all, and I thought it was boring. However, the more and more I listen to it, it became one of my favorite tracks off this album. The lyrics is what really made me change my mind. They are so different (in a good way), and it the music video that came with this single made those lyrics all the more thought provoking. Even though at first I didn't care for the vocals, The intensely sung choruses and the beautifully song verses grew on me very fast. This is undoubtedly one of the most popular songs Glassjaw has ever done, and it is for a very good reason.
Overall, almost everything on this album is top notch. Other than “Radio Cambodia”, I pretty much love every track on this album. The mood and feel that the instrumentation in this album creates is awesome, the singing is the best Daryl has ever been, and the lyrics and songwriting are absolutely through the roof. The technicality that the instruments present in this album should not be overlooked either. This album really shows how versatile and great Glassjaw can be, and hopefully will continue to be. Even though I don't think Post-hardcore will ever be as good as it used to be, we will still have those gems of the past of this genre to listen to and love. Out of all these gems, I don't believe there is any as good as Glassjaw's “Worship and Tribute”.