The Menzingers
After the Party


5.0
classic

Review

by Robert Lowe STAFF
February 4th, 2017 | 898 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So you just turned 30, now what?

The Menzingers have always had pretty melancholy lyrics, but man, Rented World was bleak. The Pennsylvanian punk quintet were staring down the barrel of age 30, and going through some hard times personally during the writing and recording of Rented World. These hardships inevitably seeped into the music, as it’s uncharacteristically dark, stripped back, and muffled for a band that’s previously written a lot of really fun tunes. The lyrics became less about telling stories of stumbling through adolescence, and more about expressing depressing sentiments like “nothing feels good anymore,” “never again will I let anyone close to me,” and declaring dramatically that one feels very much in common with a rodent in the wall. After releasing and touring Rented World, the Menzingers all turned 30 and started looking inward, started feeling distant from their tales of being drunk, naive, and 22. While writing the next record, the band had to decide where to go next - to expand on the dour tone of Rented World, or to go back to telling narratives about a time in life that keeps getting further and further away. Thankfully with After The Party, The Menzingers figured out a way to touch on old subjects with a new light and new perspective. Going from lyrics of “this is how I feel and it sucks,” to “this is how I felt, and I got through it,” coupled with the band’s most bright and catchy music to date, After The Party is not only the band’s strongest album lyrically, but their most upbeat, fun, and catchy record yet.

Every single song on After The Party is a blast; the energy and passion already found in Greg Barnett and Tom May’s songwriting has hit critical fucking mass. From the catchy-as-hell vocal hooks of "Lookers" and "Charlie’s Army," to the bouncy guitars and playful lyrics of "Bad Catholics," The Menzingers have crafted a brightly produced non-stop feel-good behemoth of a record. Even the slower tracks like "Black Mass" and "Living Ain’t Easy" feel hypercharged, and the songs with more depressing lyrics like "The Bars" and the title track are juxtaposed with such peppy music that it’s impossible not to smile even if you’re crying. The return of storytelling lyrics helps every song feel like a journey, experienced through clever metaphors and a carefree attitude that makes normally crushing endeavors like “total heartbreaker Jersey girls” and one’s “unemployment drying up fast” seem like positives - character building hurdles that make one stronger and wiser. The Menzingers have always had top shelf lyrics, but the guitar playing is on another level for the band, with huge chords, and driving lead guitar riffs that help make After The Party the most well rounded Menzingers release to date. There’s something interesting and awe inspiring happening in every single track, down to the bluesy sway of "The Bars" and the haunting soft arpeggios of the title track.

"After The Party" is the crux of the album, the emotional core of the record, and easily the best song. Greg Barnett’s portrayal of love told through pictures is evocative, stirring, and painfully relatable: “It's the little things my mind commits / To etch behind my eyelids / Like getting stoned when we wake up / Coffee grounds and coffee cups / Your silhouette in high top sneakers / And hardcore from laptop speakers / The classics to the more obscure / From Minor Threat to your old roommate's band / Like a kaleidoscope in vibrant hues / I navigate around your tattoos / Said you got that one on a whim when you were breaking up with him / And that Matryoshka Russian doll / That lines your shelf from big to small / What a way to start anew / To shed your skin and find the old you.” The whole record is strong lyrically, but "After The Party" really stands out because of its ability to evoke nostalgic emotions through intricately composed visual descriptions. Greg Barnett has always had pipes, but the inspired intensity and fervor in his voice is what makes the song truly special; I wouldn’t be surprised if After The Party goes down as the band’s signature song.

The Menzingers have done what few bands have ever accomplished - they’ve created their most radio friendly album to date without compromising what made them so special in the first place. As is to be expected from the band, much of the lyrical content is sad, but the music is delivered in such an optimistic, playful way that the overwhelming vibe of the record is positive. Unrelenting, uncompromising, and infinitely catchy, After the Party is a statement album that proves The Menzingers are the best in the business. Forged by a band that is over age 30 and all the wiser for it, After The Party is the light at the end of the tunnel, a hand on your shoulder that says everything is going to be OK; the party of your carefree adolescence may be over, but with the Menzingers there’s more good times than bad times ahead.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2017


55228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

This record is huge. It rocks so fucking hard, it's insanely catchy, it's just goddamn



First time I've reviewed a new release as a 5, also this is my longest review in years because this album deserves to be discussed to death



Buy this album if you haven't already

Digging: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

JWT155
February 3rd 2017


13537 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

5.0 Rating Alert

ianblxdsoe
February 3rd 2017


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

was not expecting this to be as good as it is. also awesome fucking review.

Digging: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

FreddieDelaney31
February 3rd 2017


3265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

< 3

Digging: Prawn - Run

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2017


55228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Building castles of cans and bottles

Drinking like they do in novels

Know they'll catch me by and by, but tonight you are my alibi

JWT155
February 3rd 2017


13537 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Solid review.



"The Menzingers have done what few bands have ever accomplished - they’ve created their most radio friendly album to date without compromising what made them so special in the first place."



My exact sentiment on the record as well. Very masterfully done for the band to mature so much but not to settle their core sound as a band, although I still think Rented World at times is more radio friendly.

FreddieDelaney31
February 3rd 2017


3265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a great review and I agree so much. People saying this album is considerably simpler musically than their other albums are lame, there is a ridiculous amount of melodies and riffs here. The verses of Thick as Thieves alone is bursting at the seams with both.

JamesMarlon
February 3rd 2017


42 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album kills it, probably end up my AOTY, though i said that about Backstar till Rosenstock came out with his late year game changer.



I meant to make a Weezer Blue Album comparison and your recommended just jogged me, i completely forgot to add it in my review.

Satellite
February 3rd 2017


25284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review treb. this is dangerously close to 5 territory for me too. gotta give it a few more spins.

Digging: Craig Finn - We All Want the Same Things

Satellite
February 3rd 2017


25284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"So you just turned 30, now what?"



i ask myself this every day then proceed to get high and watch simpsons re-runs

Green Baron
February 3rd 2017


23850 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wait this is better than On the Impossible Past?

AdolfChrist
February 3rd 2017


11935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Noooooo

Digging: Rainbow Danger Club - Souvenirs

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2017


55228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

"wait this is better than On the Impossible Past?"



Impossible Past holds a very special place in my heart, it'll always be my favorite, but this is not far from it

Green Baron
February 3rd 2017


23850 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm just surprised at the early hype at this given that it seemed like a 3.5-3.8 based on natural career trajectory and the pre-singles

FullOfSounds
February 3rd 2017


15462 Comments


Excellent review dude. Gets me hyped about the record and the band as a whole. I think imma spin Impossible Past for the first time tonight.

Satellite
February 3rd 2017


25284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"wait this is better than On the Impossible Past?"



too early to say but that's arguably my favorite album so probably not.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2017


55228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

On the Impossible Past is my second favorite album



I've even grown to reallly love Rented World

FreddieDelaney31
February 3rd 2017


3265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this is their best album but the highs from OTIP are a tiny bit higher

Satellite
February 3rd 2017


25284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

actually Oh! Calcutta! will always be my favorite. but otip is in the running for #2.

YoYoMancuso
February 3rd 2017


12703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review, man.



This is definitely their second best record, but only because OTIP is one of the best punk albums ever written



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