Tim Armstrong
A Poet's Life



by JohnXDoesn't USER (97 Reviews)
May 19th, 2007 | 19 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tim Armstrong delivers a solo album that only Tim Armstrong could love. And maybe a die hard or two that has never heard of The Clash, Sublime, or The Specials. Where oh where is Lars Frederiksen when we really need him....

The Clash are alive and well in 2007, or at least regurgitated add infinitum courtesy one Tim Armstrong. Whether Tim fancies himself the poet of his debut solo album's title, A Poet's Life, or simply aligns himself with the like, one thing is for sure. And that is this album could use some good 'ol fashion punk rock to liven things up a bit. Poet's, ska, reggae, and steel drums be damned...

Sounding something like Rancid's Life Won't Wait album without the, well, Rancid, A Poet's Life sounds like a snoozy boat ride along some far off Jamaican coast line. And a repetitive boat ride, at that. Reggae and its sub genres have always been easy going fare for the most part, so it helps if you can inject some soul, color, and diversity into the mix over an entire album. Especially if you're a Bay area white boy and not Bob Marley. Or even Joe Strummer, for that matter.

Unfortunately on A Poet's Life Mr. Armstrong shows not much soul or color, which would help this somewhat bland collection of listless songs and performances lift itself above the mundane to something a bit more spirited and lively. Cuts like the opening Wake Up and Hold On may seek to set the tone for a funky, low key affair. But the songs themselves sound too much like Rancid leftovers better left on the cutting room floor then anything fresh or surprising as one might expect from an artist as vibrant as Armstrong on his maiden solo outing. If their was more to this album I would happily tell you. But to say tracks like Translator, Among The Dead, and Lady Demeter, etc, follow the same dreary path for the entire recording is quite enough. Void of any character, originality, and surprisingly any energy, this is great music to nap by. The sole exception to this rule is the fun and irreverent Into Action that can get even a boring old fart like myself shaking my tail feathers on a dancehall floor. But one exception does not make an album, and this album is no more the better for this all too brief shining moment.

If you are a fan of Rancid you have heard this all before, although not nearly this weak. Tim Armstrong sans band comes up too soft far too often on A Poet's Life, and the album has a sense of sameness and repetition that a little Ruby Soho, Who Would've Thought, or even Arrested In Shanghai style numbers would have fixed up just fine. But unfortunately what we get instead are a handful of formulaic, lackluster ska tunes which make Armstrong sound like he has taken up the ganja and grown out some lazy dreads. And that's a shame for an artist who has done this music very well in the past and usually has the chops to prove it. Not so on A Poet's Life, however, and we're just left wondering where all the passion must have gone" Oh what I wouldn't give for an "oi oi oi" right about now....

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user ratings (70)
other reviews of this album
Joeeddstealschickens (3.5)
A chilled out summing-up of Armstrong's career by the unique voice of the man himself...

Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
May 19th 2007


Good review, short and sweet I guess. This sounds pretty bad.

edit: haha, I went to vote and got lostThis Message Edited On 05.19.07

May 19th 2007


Even with Rancid being my favorite band I'm staying away from this. The songs of his on Rancids myspace were pretty awful.

Nice short review.

May 19th 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

thanks for reading and commenting. i changed some things here and there...a little more to my liking now....but i always do that....drives me crazy

May 20th 2007


Agreed, Tim really needs Lars to do anything musical.

May 20th 2007


Good review, however I think that race is totally irrelevent to what music you play, unless it is still a breakthrough genre. I'm much more of a ska and reggae fan than a rock fan, so I don't think this misses Lars at all.

Not enough records on this site have a simple positive/negative review, usually about three goin the same way.

May 20th 2007


Agreed, Tim really needs Lars or Matt to do anything musical.

May 22nd 2007


I bet it's a bit rubbish but haven't heard it yet.

May 24th 2007


Ehh, as much as I think Tim Armstrong is awesome there aren't nearly enough good songs on here, maybe 2 or 3, and the entire album gets old quickly, it all sounds the same. I really hope the upcoming Rancid album isn't like this, if it is I'll shoot myself.

May 29th 2007


I'd have to disagree to this reveiw. I'm a big Rancid, Transplants, and Tim Armstrong fan, and I'd say that this CD is very relaxing Ska - ish music.

June 6th 2007


I disagree with this review as well. I am a huge Tim Armstrong fan, and I love his music/lyrics. This album is definately a step in a different direction, however. While there aren't any hardcore tracks or oi oi oi's, there is a real sense of Tim Armstrong. The lyrics are awesome. This is defintately a more mellow CD, but I assure you that it is a good one. I think Tim was experimenting with new sounds and techniques, and came up with this awesome compilation of tracks. My fav. one is 'Among the Dead' ( Im an Op. Ivy fan, and this track is about that era of Tim's life)

June 7th 2007


Fuck Tim Armstrong his new music is gay he sold out!

June 7th 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

i too am a huge fan. i have seen rancid many times in concert and own all their albums. op ivy, too. i consider them one of the great punk / rock bands of the last 20 years. i just don't find this album interesting lyrically or musically. and the "mellow" part doesn't bother me. what does bother me is that tim sounds uninspired and dull, and the band sounds like they are playing ska 101. i don't hear any new "sounds" or "techniques." i hear that on rancid albums when tim does his thing. here i hear tim going for something a bit more authentic and coming up way short. for a debut solo effort from an artist as capable as armstrong i hear a disappointment. by any standard. i gave it an average rating because its a mediocre album. i can't hear it any other way however big a fan i am.

This Message Edited On 06.07.07

June 7th 2007


Yeah because releasing a free album sure is selling out.

June 7th 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

good thinking, that free part....

June 7th 2007


**** Tim Armstrong his new music is gay he sold out!

I knew it was only a matter of time before someone said that.

June 8th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Dude he made it free to sell out you actually have to get money lol

Storm In A Teacup
June 12th 2007


I don't know...I like "Hold On", but that's the only song off this I've heard.

October 18th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

hold on, wake up, translator and among the dead are all FANTASTIC tracks i feel, 5*

take this city, oh no are the weakest ones, (3* imo)

i havn't actually heard cold blooded yet, but the other tracks are 4* i reckon, so overall a rating of 4.

the first two tracks though, are ridiculously good

i dont really agree with the review if im honestThis Message Edited On 10.18.07

February 27th 2008


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This album sounds different from any rancid album i've ever heard. People continuosly compare to Life Won't Wait, but none of the songs on Life Won't Wait have the same feel as any of the songs here. This album is amazing.

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