I’m am a huge fan of blink 182
’s last album. People said it was more mature, it wasn’t more mature, it was boring, it was exhilarating, whatever; I just loved the album. Thus, when blink broke up rather soon afterward, I was kind of sad. Tom announced his next project first, and it was supposedly going to be a continuation of the new direction blink had been taking. I was, needless to say, excited. Then, he began ranting about how it was going to be the best album ever. The world immediately said in unison “Oh no, Tom DeLonge has become the Tom Cruise of music.” Coincidentally, We Don’t Need to Whisper
was released around the time Tom Cruise’s first major picture after his scientology drama was released. However, where as Mission Impossible 3
was a fun action movie, We Don’t Need to Whisper
is a dreary and terribly frustrating arena pop punk album that’s want to be arena rock.
The most noticeable thing is how “epic” the production for the album is. Everything has an echo effect on it seemingly; occasionally a single guitar part is double-layered to give it even more of an added effect. There are sprawling musical interludes and intro’s scattered throughout the album, and Tom often puts on heavy reverb or any other number of vocal effects onto his takes. What does this make the album sound like? Well, it does give it a tint of newer U2
material. However, Tom and his fellow bandmates (who come from a variety of punk sub-genres, all the way from ska too…oh, well, um, pop-punk…) all put up extremely uninspired performances that make the mass of effects feel wasted.
To put it simply, every riff, chord progression, and “solo” the boys put out feels extremely similar. And to put it into perspective, here goes a little tidbit I discovered about their song-crafting abilities. I was listening to one of the songs here (honestly, I can’t remember which one, and you probably wont be able to either), and as I was rocking back and forth in my recliner, I noticed it had a creak. Me, being OCD, had to make that creak align as closely to the melody of the music as possible. Much to my surprise (and short-term delight), I discovered I could perfectly replicate it with the creaking of my recliner.
Now obviously, a chair is a highly musical instrument (is there not a game entitled “musical chairs”?), but I personally found this to be a highly interesting and poor facet to the music.
I really haven’t been slamming this as much as I should be, considering my rating. Well, brace your gopher chucks people, because it’s all downhill from here. Tom, while never very good in Blink, never really detracted from it either, since nearly everything he sung about was tongue-in-cheek in nature and he pulled it all off with a kind of self-knowing suck. Here, however, he thinks he’s some kind of breath-taking singer, and constantly tries to be not just a vocalist, but an integral part of the musical structure itself, often lightly layering his voice over a cheesy instrumental bridge. While he isn’t immediately an annoyance, he constantly drones on and on for the duration of the album, and by its end you really wish he would just shut the he
Then again, its not like Tom is getting any major backup from his band. This “super-group”, with members from the Distillers, Rockets From the Crypt and Offspring, would not be a super-group you’d really wish to form. None of the musicians here really do anything besides lightly variate their riffs, cake on effects and use the same melody for ten songs. Truthfully, its incredibly easy to lose track of where you are on the album; the same guitar part is played on “Start the Machine” as on “Do it For Me Now”, along with the same incredibly cheesy synth lines. It truly sounds like new-age U2, albeit with a more forced sense of experimentation.
So, then what would U2 do to “experiment? Well, if AVA is any indication, it would be 30 to 60 second intro’s of shifting gears, dance-y piano lines, and two minute exercises in sampled drums and guitar notes. Yes, it’s huge and has a very arena rock aesthetic; it all certainly sounds booming and grand. However, in practice it ends up turning into the same intermission, song, and soaring bridge ten times. AVA have a generally solid idea here, if completely unoriginal and not outstanding on its own right. However, when they take 5-10 minutes of real substance and material and try to spread it out through a 50 minute album, you’re going to encounter problems. It’s like having a smidgen of peanut butter to try and spread out through two pieces of bread; you’re not going to be satisfied in any manner at all. Add in the fact there’s also a bug squirming around in said peanut butter crying for attention, and you come back to the dinner table with one of the least appealing (but not quite un-salvageable) albums you or I have heard in years.
Just buy U2’s newest album instead. It may be crap as well, but at least you don’t have to hear Tom prattle on about war and best friends and relationships like a boy trapped in a…well, boy’s body.