Tonight Alive
The Other Side


3.5
great

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
September 9th, 2013 | 32 replies


Release Date: 09/10/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tonight Alive holds steady.

I'm kind of hesitant to write a review for The Other Side because no matter how complex I make the album out to be, countless blogs will summarize the thing in two sentences: "Poppy pop-punk with a serious knack for catchiness and fun. Jenna is hawt." Even so, though, the album deserves the attention of a full-fledged writeup because it's a great example of the phenomenon of female-fronted airwave-friendly pop-punk that isn't manufactured drivel. Of course, this isn't exactly new - Paramore does this, VersaEmerge (arguably) does this, and...shit, I'm out of examples. A necessary point to highlight with this, therefore, is just how alluring the music is. It's supremely easy to listen to, of course, but the hamminess and general malaise that plagues teeny-bopper pop-"punk" groups like Hey Monday and whatever other artists are selling CDs for Fueled by Ramen nowadays is almost totally absent from The Other Side (cheesy-ass piano intro to "Don't Wish" notwithstanding).

Though some punk purists would shudder at the notion, what's most important about Tonight Alive's most recent affair is that the music by and large is actually interesting. Earlier single "The Ocean" fits the bill perfectly for the well-constructed anthemic album opener with its stadium-filling lead guitar and vague, inoffensive lyrics about "facing your fears" (though some YouTube commenters would argue a more liberal interpretation about lead singer Jenna McDougall's period). And, though a song specifically designed as an anthem by nature cannot actually be anthemic, "The Ocean" comes surprisingly close. On the flip side of the spectrum, "Come Home" molds a major-keyed straight-ahead guitar backing and beat into a pop song that could go right on the radio and attract both the average listener and snobby music critics (myself included) thanks to its lighthearted, upbeat feel and catchy-ass structure.

The biggest downside of the album (and it's a substantial one) is that it lacks the charm of Tonight Alive's debut. What Are You So Scared Of? packed not only the punch of a pop-punk album with charisma and good song structure but also a fair bit of varied sound. There's nothing quite as far off the "oh-let's-put-power-chords-and-female-vocals-together" spectrum on The Other Side as there was on the previous outing - songs like "Safe and Sound" and "Amelia" aren't matched by anything new in their scope (however limited that may have been) or even how interesting and fresh they felt. However, The Other Side is still an excellent case of really poppy pop-punk that actually succeeds, thanks to its songwriting skills, charisma (cue inevitable bringing up of Jenna here) and the fact that it's freakin' fun. Elitist pop-punk fans who unnecessarily call out the pop side of the genre because they are disillusioned with the quality of such things won't have much ammo here - the album is airtight.



Recent reviews by this author
Nicki Minaj The PinkprintRL Grime Void
Ariana Grande My EverythingRustie Green Language
The Bug Angels and DevilsVenetian Snares My Love Is A Bulldozer
user ratings (84)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
nakedmolerat (3)
An absolute 180....

Josh Howe (4)
Tonight Alive's sophomore album blows their competitors away....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013


3539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Originally posted at www.muzikdizcovery.com, album's out in AUS and the UK.

Well, what did you expect? I'm actually pretty proud that I withheld the inevitable mention of Jenna till the second-to-last sentence.

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

pizzamachine
September 9th 2013


12572 Comments


dood you mentioned Jenna in like the first/second sentence

good review though ;)

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 9th 2013


20155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol i was thinking the same thing. Nice review, their last album was pretty cool

Digging: Angels and Airwaves - The Dream Walker

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013


10382 Comments


it could probably be summarized in two sentences: "Poppy pop-punk with a serious knack for catchiness and fun. Jenna is hawt."

This sentence makes your review feel unnecessary. I try to avoid summing things up with a simple statement like this for that very reason. Also, the last part rubs me the wrong way-- why does it matter if she's "hawt"?

I see a few more things I would like to address when I get this damned stats homework done.

Digging: Thou - Heathen

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013


3539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Haha I'll fix that up somehow. I figured that literally every TA review I've seen mentions Jenna's charisma/"bubbliness" and being a cynic if sorts I take that to mean "attractive young blond woman"

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013


10382 Comments


I understand why you'd want to address that somehow, as it's more a superficial analysis than anything. Just make sure that when you reference such statements, you rightfully distinguish your own stance from theirs. I don't think you meant anything of the sort here, but it would be better off fixed (because them some touchy subjects, man)

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013


3539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Point taken, next time I get to an actual computer I'll change that so it's clear it's not my own opinion

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013


10382 Comments


Okay, man. I have a moment now, so I'm going to point out a few things.

I'm kind of hesitant to write a review for The Other Side because it could probably be summarized in two sentences:

Like I said before, things like these dissuade readers. I'd suggest revising your opening to something along the lines of "Much of the discussion surrounding The Other Side focuses on the album's more surface-level qualities, like... ...But this album deserves attention for its intracies", etc. That's how I would word it, but I just bring it up to give you an idea-- because I think what I just came up with is a more accurate representation of your point here.

what's most important about Tonight Alive's most recent affair is that the music by and large is actually good

I also avoid using 'good' as a qualitative descriptor in reviews, at least when directly addressing the music at hand. I'd like to see a more important word here, for we can surmise how good you think this is from that convenient number up above your review!

a pop song that could go right on the radio and sound damn good while there.

I find this to be a bit inadequate. Sound good, in what way?

"tr00 pop-punk" fans who unnecessarily call out the pop side of things won't have much ammo here - the album is airtight.

I don't really dig these types of informal terms in reviews, but that's something that's up to you at the end of the day. I just think you could find a more solid way to phrase that.

Also, this sentence is saying that since the album's not poppy, elitist pop-punk fans won't have grounds to attack it. Is that the gist of what you're saying, or am I misunderstanding? I'm also unsure about the usage of 'unnecessarily,' considering the direction the sentence takes.

Not a bad review. I would just like to see more substance here, and these are things you can consider for the future.



Brostep
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013


3539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks a ton for the feedback, I'll tighten it up. Honestly I feel like this wasn't nearly my best review when I wrote it, since there wasn't all that much to say, but I claimed it for MD so I figured I'd go for it. My Naked and Famous review next week should be better. Also:

Also, this sentence is saying that since the album's not poppy, elitist pop-punk fans won't have grounds to attack it. Is that the gist of what you're saying, or am I misunderstanding? I'm also unsure about the usage of 'unnecessarily,' considering the direction the sentence takes.

That's kind of the opposite of what I'm saying - "elitist pop-punk fans" who complain about poppy being bad can't say this is bad, no matter how poppy

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
September 9th 2013


11787 Comments


Great review dude

Digging: Rishloo - Living as Ghosts with Buildings as Teeth

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2013


20155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

last album was definitely better but this isn't bad

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
September 11th 2013


3539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

How the fuck did I get a feature on this? I heard from numerous sources that this was my worst review in months (excluding the D&BS one of course)...Thanks anyways though!

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 11th 2013


20155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm guessing it may be because this album is a new release and after all you are a contributor ;)

Don't be so hard on yourself man we all have our weaker reviews.

Thankfully this grew on me after a few listens but I definitely agree with what you said about what are you so scared of having a more varied sound. Still, this is catchy as hell

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 11th 2013


20155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

for the record i'm not saying this is a weak review, just that i know the feeling of feeling like a review isn't your best.

joshieboy12345
September 11th 2013


5371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Am I the only one that thinks this one is better than their first? Good review man.

KSK1
September 11th 2013


4094 Comments


I like one of their other albums so I plan to give this a shot. Album art is lame though. Replace the escalators with boobs plz.

conesmoke
September 29th 2013


5288 Comments


this album art is a trillion times better than their first lp's.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2013


28812 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

why bring up versaemerge they're dysfunctional as shit and stopped making music like this a long time ago

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2013


28812 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I also avoid using 'good' as a qualitative descriptor in reviews, at least when directly addressing the music at hand. I'd like to see a more important word here, for we can surmise how good you think this is from that convenient number up above your review!


also wow ignore this thats fucking dumb

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2013


3539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

acad coming thru as always



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy