Review Summary: "Look at all those stars, look at how goddamn ugly the stars are."Goddamnit
is Alkaline Trio's best album, which is in a way disappointing considering it's their first album. Not to say that they don't have any more amazing records, (because they do) but to say that they got it perfect on the first try and that should be viewed as an accomplishment not a demerit. Goddamnit
really is the perfect pop punk record, with it's catchy hooks, pounding drums, intricate bass lines, and great lyrics it's all one could ask for in a record of it's kind. Those traits alone are not what set Goddamnit
apart from the rest of the pack, it's the dark as all hell and relatable lyrics that push it over the top into something truly great.
kicks off with a bang with Cringe. Cringe's simple but hard hitting melodic chords and vivid lyrics set the tone for the rest of the record. "tongue tied, bleeding from your eyes, even Christ himself would bleed at the site of your scars," this line from Cringe lets you know what's in store with this record, very dark lyrics simmered down with a sense of humor. Cringe is a really catchy song, but doesn't adhere to the typical verse-chorus-verse song structure which is what makes Goddamnit
really stand out. Alkaline Trio are capable of making a sing along song without even having a chorus. Cringe, like many tracks on Goddamnit
goes off into a jam section towards the end of the song. The bass in this track is superb and there is definitely more to come in the bass department.
Dan Andriano had not completely found his place in the band yet and only contributes two tracks to this album. The acoustic ballad "Enjoy Your Day," and the more typical fast upbeat "Message From Kathlene." Both songs are quite rough and Dan had not perfected his style. On subsequent records Dan's consistently grows as a songwriter while Matt Skiba seems to regress. Although he doesn't supply many songs, his main contribution to the record are his killer bass lines. The rough production and single guitar track allows Dan's bass to be heard front and center, and his bass work is one Goddamnit's
Songs like Cop and As You Were explore the more quirky side of Alkaline Trio, whilst tracks like San Fransisco and Enjoy Your Day are bittersweet love songs that showcase the more sensitive side of Alkaline Trio. San Francisco tells the tale of Matt falling in love with a woman in San Francisco, and then having to go back to Chicago feeling awful and lovelorn. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to the song's theme of "Drinking You Goodbye."
Two of the more catchy tunes on the record are Nose Over Tail and Clavicle, and they are about as catchy as punk songs can get. Clavicle is about getting butterflies in your stomach every time you see a girl and picturing yourself with her. The line "I've been on top of the world since about 1 week ago, marking the first time I was drunk enough to talk to you" is definitely one of the most relatable lines on the record. Nose Over Tail has the catchiest and strongest in general guitar on Goddamnit
. It's soaring octave chords and extensive jam section add a much needed element of musicality to the record.
The two acoustic ballads (Enjoy Your Day and Sorry About That) add some variety and disconnect a little from the fast distorted pop punk songs. Enjoy Your Day is basically a *** you to an ex-girlfriend who has moved on quickly to another guy. It's one of the most emotional songs Alkaline Trio has made to date and shows how much potential Dan had as a songwriter.
Trouble Breathing is as somber as a catchy pop punk band can get. The song is about a friend contemplating suicide and opens with the heart wrenching lines "You told me that you want to die, I said I've been there myself more than a few times…you said tonight is a wonderful night to die, asked how you could tell, you told me to look at the sky. Look at those stars, look at how goddamn ugly the stars are." What would normally be a very depressing song is lightened up by more humorous lines like "You told me that the daylight burns you and that the sunrise was enough to kill you, I said maybe you're a vampire, she said it's quite possible I feel truly dead inside." Alkaline Trio's dark and dreary lyrics served up with a sense of humor are what they are most known for, and for good reason. The lyrics on Trouble Breathing, like most songs on Goddamnit
really make this song. The killer intro riff helps too.
What makes Goddamnit
so special is simply how how many incredible songs it has. It's really hard to explain why this album is classic for me other than saying every single track has something special that has stuck with me. It's a very personable and relatable record for anyone who has weird thought about normal things like relationships or just people in general. It doesn't hurt that it's catchy to the max, and 35 minutes it's over before you get a chance to find any flaws in it. Goddamnit is the cream of the crop in the pop punk genre and it's easy to see why Alkaline Trio have such a dedicated fan base considering what an amazing first album these guys had.