+44
When Your Heart Stops Beating


3.0
good

Review

by Channing Freeman STAFF
November 13th, 2006 | 144 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


If Tom Delonge were a more humble human being, he would probably be pretty upset with himself right about now. But as we all know, Tom Delonge isn’t too humble. I can see him now, sitting on his throne that’s covered in Angels and Airwaves stickers, wrapped in an Angels and Airwaves blanket, listening to Angels and Airwaves, and thinking Man I’m good. He probably isn’t giving any thought to what former band mates Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker have been doing for the past two years. He probably won’t even bother to give this record a listen. After all, it couldn’t possibly be better than anything he’s done since the big blink-182 breakup right?

+44 was originally supposed to be an electronic-based band consisting of former blink-182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, along with Carol Heller to do lead vocals. Craig Fairbaugh (Transplants) and Shane Gallagher (The Nervous Return) were brought in to play guitar. Carol and +44 parted ways after recording only one song together. The project eventually shifted into the more familiar rock/pop-punk territory, but the album still contains some electronic influences, albeit minimal. Basically, +44’s When Your Heart Stops Beating is what blink-182’s self-titled would probably have sounded like if Tom didn’t take over the creative process. In many ways, it sounds more like blink-182’s earlier records than their later work.

When Your Heart Stops Beating is a little bit heavier than most of blink-182’s records, but other than that, the album wouldn’t seem out of place if it were a part of blink’s discography. Thus, the main problem with the album is this: it doesn’t really differentiate itself much from blink-182. Mark’s vocals sound pretty much the same, and the bands have a similar musical feel because Travis’ drumming hasn’t changed much either. While fans of blink won’t find this to be an issue, those who didn’t like the band probably won’t be able to get into this either. Although it certainly had the potential to be disastrous, I almost wish that Mark and crew had kept on with making an electronic record. At least then it would sound different than blink.

As stated before, Mark’s vocals haven’t changed much. He has always excelled at singing at a lower pitch, and his voice is much more enjoyable when he does so. He basically splits the vocals half in half, half lower pitched and half higher pitched. A lot of times the two are overdubbed. The higher pitched vocals tend to get annoying, but at least they aren’t nasally like a certain someone. It is nice to see Mark trying to expand his range, though. “Make You Smile,” the only song recorded with Carol Heller, is the standout vocal performance on the album. Mark sings at a low pitch for the whole song, and his voice meshes perfectly with Carol’s rather pretty singing.

Lyrically, Mark has grown a lot. He showed flashes of promise with blink, but he never really wrote any lyrics that I would consider great. While the subject matter on this album doesn’t venture into any unfamiliar territory, it’s apparent that Mark really put a lot of time into the lyrics. A lot of songs are about time wasted, missed opportunities, etc. In other words, standard stuff for the genre, but Mark manages to make it interesting with some great one-liners and lyrical passages. For instance, “Baby Come On” contains the great line The past is only the future with the lights on. And of course this record really wouldn’t be complete without a song about the blink-182 breakup. Mark puts it all out there on “No It Isn’t,” singing about betrayal and losing a friend.

Please understand
This isn't just goodbye
This is I can't stand you
This is where the road crashed into the ocean
It rises all around me
And now we're barely breathing
A thousand faces we'll choose to ignore


But for every great lyric line, we have stuff like She’s a pretty girl, she’s always falling down and I think I just fell in love with her. As you can see, the lyrics range from great to generically poor. As far as songwriting goes, +44 don’t really give us anything new or original. Musically, there isn’t much to be found either, besides the fact that everything sounds nice and the musicians get the job done. Travis’ drumming is great as always, but he hasn’t showed too much progression from his years with blink.

So at the end of the day, +44’s When Your Heart Stops Beating is standard pop-punk music. It isn’t really a huge departure from blink-182’s music and it’s something that we’ve all heard at least once before. But maybe that isn’t such a bad thing after all. Perhaps our own John Hanson said it best. When I told him that the album’s main detractor is the fact that it doesn’t differentiate much from blink’s music, he replied “At least it doesn’t pretend to do so.” And so the thing that may turn some people away from the album is also what makes it good. +44 didn’t hide their lack of musical growth under a layer of faux-experimentation and needless intros and proclaim it to be the greatest musical achievement ever. One hundred years from now, +44 probably won’t even be an afterthought in most people’s minds. But for right now, I’m content with a good album that serves its purpose well.

Recommended Tracks: Baby Come On, Lillian, No It Isn't, Make You Smile

3/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh boy three of these in a row

I have some issues with this review but oh well.

HumanCannonball
November 13th 2006


350 Comments


Yeah, three reviews, but which one is the best, dude?

711
November 13th 2006


1341 Comments


Great review. /votes
Ive listened to about half of this album. Its pretty good, but I agree, a lot of times it left me thinking that it was just Blink 182 without Tom singing. As of now I would rate it around 3 or 3.5.

godLike
November 13th 2006


126 Comments


After reading your great review I think the sinlge describes the sound of the album very well, doesn't it?
This Message Edited On 11.13.06

Oddsen
November 13th 2006


1127 Comments


Good review

ToWhatEnd
November 13th 2006


3172 Comments


Nice review, sounds alright from what I have heard.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2006


2676 Comments


Good overall review - nice job.
Any review that starts off taking potshots at DeLonge is A-OK in my book, heh.
The only thing I would contest is how you consider this album not differentiating itself from blink work a negative, but as I read the rest of the paragraph you made your point, which is noteworthy. I can't say with any certainty about whether or not Hoppus and Barker have 'expanded' their playing from blink (I've only streamed a couple tracks), but to be honest, I tend to find that there really isn't much progression in pop-punk. I have my biases, though, heh, so it's all good.
Great job again with the review.

Tarantino's Tarantulas
November 13th 2006


819 Comments


Love the opening paragraph Chan :thumb:

RandyfromPennywise
November 13th 2006


752 Comments


I liked the review the whole way through. You desribed the music and the context of the album/band very well. Nice job. I'd kind of forgotten about this, so I'll download it in the next week or so because of this nicely written review. Good stuff.

davybum69
November 13th 2006


161 Comments


I've only heard a few songs off this and when i heard them they gave me that old school Blink vibe, I like AVA but this alubm sounds like it might surpass it.

Angmar
November 13th 2006


2689 Comments


This is the best of the 3 in a row good work.

MrKite
November 13th 2006


5020 Comments


great work!

The Jungler
November 13th 2006


4827 Comments


I expected this review. Good job.

I've heard the single and a couple other songs, nothing spectacular as you said in your review. Better than AVA for sure. This Message Edited On 11.13.06

burton.and.gas
November 13th 2006


641 Comments


good review, i bet i odnt liek thsi but ill give it a fair listen.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

After reading your great review I think the sinlge describes the sound of the album very well, doesn't it?

Yeah pretty much.
The only thing I would contest is how you consider this album not differentiating itself from blink work a negative

Yeah the issue I had with the review is the fact that it relies heavily on comparison, but I guess it worked out alright.

Thanks all.

The Sludge
November 13th 2006


2169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nailed this review like a champ.

trustxdialect
November 13th 2006


1502 Comments


I thought this came out tomorrow?

B
November 13th 2006


26 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They should have disbanded after Carol left, imo, as she was the only thing that made them different than any other band in the genre.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I read this already but it was ok the second time too.

francesfarmer
November 13th 2006


1477 Comments


I hated every year of high school except for senior year because that's when our chess club and bowling team actually did something productive.



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