Alkaline Trio
Maybe I'll Catch Fire


4.5
superb

Review

by Robert Lowe CONTRIBUTOR (88 Reviews)
August 18th, 2012 | 76 replies | 3,668 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A heart breakingly overlooked album whose merits far outweigh its popularity

Maybe I'll Catch Fire is Alkaline Trio's most overlooked album. This is a strange phenomenon because it's not only one of the Chicago based pop punk trio's best records, but it has their most popular song with fans "Radio." It's really a shame because Maybe I'll Catch Fire is a unique record that sets itself apart from the rest of Alkaline Trio's discography. It's not as catchy and it doesn't have as many stand out tracks as some of their other albums, but what sets it apart from the rest of Alkaline Trio's discography and pop punk in general is its dark and dreary tone and atmosphere. While Goddamnit had dark elements it was still a fun pop punk record, Maybe I'll Catch Fire on the other hand is relentless in depressing the listener and never letting go of the somber mood. Maybe I'll Catch Fire had Alkaline Trio crossing over to a new direction that they soon abandoned on their next record but did not fail to leave an impression on their fans.

The album starts off rather strangely with "Keep Em Coming," a song that sounds nothing like the rest of the album. Hearing the first track alone one might expect an upbeat album, even more so than the Trio's debut Goddamnit, but this is not the case. "Keep Em Coming" stands alone in it's optimistic tone. The rest of the album is non stop gloom and it begs the question as to why the Trio would start the album off like this. The odd opening track doesn't hamper the rest of the record as it is soon forgotten.

The most significant change Alkaline Trio went through between their debut and this album is Dan Andriano's growth as a songwriter. On Goddamnit, Dan's songs served the sole purpose of breaking up the flow of the album and not much else, here his songs truly dominate the album. His three contributions to Maybe I'll Catch Fire: "You've Got So Far To Go," "Maybe I'll Catch Fire," and "She Took Him To The Lake" are not only three of the best songs on the album, but rank up there with Alkaline Trio's best songs. Dan has a more personal straight forward lyrical style that adds some nice variety to Alkaline Trio's albums. Dan's bass work shines not only in his songs but throughout the entire record and is one of the Trio's best qualities.

Maybe I'll Catch Fire's biggest strength is the atmosphere it creates. This album unlike the debut is not based around individual songs, but about creating a dark dreary atmosphere that seeps throughout the entire record. The music sets to represent the album as a whole with very few guitar riffs or standout parts. This may sound like a bad thing but it fits the album perfectly and sets up the atmosphere.

Matt Skiba's singing on this record is a lot different than on other Trio records. He's usually at the top of his range and shouting a lot which helps the melancholic feel of the record. Many fans felt Dan's voice was weak on Goddamnit, fortunately his voice has greatly improved on Maybe I'll Catch Fire and it's clear he is finally confident in his voice as his singing perfectly melds with the songwriting.

Maybe I'll Catch Fire is chock full of morbid and angry lyrics. While Goddamnit had some dark lyrics they were usually dampened with a sense of humor. Most of the time this is not the case as Maybe I'll Catch Fire is chock full of morbid lyrics with no comic relief in site.

Tuck me in to where it's freezing, tuck me into bed with snakes. Tuck me in with the tarantulas, I wanna let em in my mouth and down my throat to lay their eggs

I've got a big fat ***in bone to pick with you my darling
In case you haven't heard I'm sick, and tired of trying
I wish you would take my radio to bathe with you
Plugged in and ready to fall


There is not a lot of optimism to be found in these lyrics which makes Maybe I'll Catch Fire a perfect album for sulking in your own bitterness or at least a rainy day.

Alkaline Trio's most popular song amongst fans "Radio" closes the album. Radio is the Trio at their rawest and most emotional and it's no wonder why it resonates with fans so greatly. From it's tender clean guitar riff in the verse to the explosive violent chorus, Radio is a blast of sadness and anger and is relentless in it's bitter tone.

Maybe I'll Catch Fire makes a statement and is more than just a collection of songs, it's more than the sum of it's parts, it's about the album as a whole and the atmosphere that goes with this cohesion. With ten tracks and no filler the album flows perfectly and each track compliments the rest to create a sense of totality. It really is a shame that this is Alkaline Trio's least favorite album because it's truly a remarkable record that took all the right risks and succeeded. It's so different from the rest of Alkaline Trio's discography and that's what makes it so special. Maybe I'll Catch Fire stands alone as a dark atmospheric pop punk record that is unfortunately under appreciated, but really struck a chord with the fans lucky enough to have heard it.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



49967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why does this have the second least amount of ratings for Alk3's albums I'm so sad

Digging: Armchairpolitician - Seven Segment Decoder

WeepingBanana
August 18th 2012



10078 Comments


keep plowin this bitch treb

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



49967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm going to plow this bitch into the ground

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



19623 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Radio is one of my favorite alkaline trio songs.

Digging: The Who - Tommy

Satellite
August 18th 2012



20726 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shaaaaaaaking like a dog shitting razorblades

great job trebs. keep on trucking.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Fluttertrank
August 18th 2012



17098 Comments


yeah good review, i've actually never heard this

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



49967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys
This is the perfect album for rainy days or those car rides where nobody says anything

Fluttertrank
August 18th 2012



17098 Comments


oooh, i really need to hear this

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



49967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuck You Aurora has a whole new meaning now oh boy

mindleviticus
August 18th 2012



8200 Comments


Great Review, Treb. Listening to it now, it's okay, but I don't think I'll revisit it anytime soon.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



49967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's a grower I'd say

mindleviticus
August 18th 2012



8200 Comments


Oh really? Then maybe I'll listen again

Calc
August 18th 2012



12116 Comments


mindle your avatar brings back good memories but I should listen to this album too..how similar is it to From Here To Infirmary?

Digging: He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



49967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's like From Here but darker, a little slower, more focus on atmosphere and the album as a whole where From Here is more about the individual songs

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



6390 Comments


A heart breakingly overlooked album whose merits far outweigh it's popularity

its
what sets it apart from the rest of Alkaline Trio's discography and pop punk in general is it's dark and dreary tone

is its
Hearing the first track alone one might except an upbeat album

Do you mean expect?
[i]Maybe I'll Catch Fire[/]

Pretty obvious

Apart from these minor nibbles, this is a great review! Not a big fan of the band though...

And where is your Bloc Party review?


Digging: Vessel - Punish, Honey

ShadowRemains
August 18th 2012



20479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good stuffffffff

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



49967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the heads up clercqie

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



6390 Comments


You're welcome :]
I saw them live earlier this year, and they were a bit underwhelming. Too routinely played, if you ask me. But maybe I'm being too harsh, so what's the best place to start with the band? Chronologically?

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



49967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah their first album is by far the best, most people like From Here To Infirmary the best though

mindleviticus
August 18th 2012



8200 Comments


mindle your avatar brings back good memories

Franklin for the fucking win



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