Review Summary: Don't let no sad songs rot your brainChemical Miracle
was an unrealistic expectation for me. I mean, you don’t just wake up one day, say to yourself “Hmm, I wanna make a genre-defining piece of music”, and just go do it. It’s a natural process. Trophy Eyes were just making a kind of art that resonated with them at the time. The American Dream
is nothing like Chemical Miracle
. For the worst, it means the rawness that permeated throughout the latter is missing and the catharsis I got from listening to Chemical Miracle
on repeat no longer appears. They abandon multiple elements of their past releases for something else altogether, alienating large swathes of fans. I was lying to myself when I heard the two first singles, and felt a little confused listening to “Friday Forever”, considering it was the first true taste of the new sound the band was gunning for. I was lying to myself because I wanted that second Chemical Miracle
. I’m sure everyone did. But this realization brings me towards a different point, one a little more positive.
For the better, The American Dream
is nothing like Chemical Miracle
. It’s upbeat, it’s poppy, and it’s nearly devoid of any harsh vocals. All the lyrics are about finding your individual answer in life and who you want to be as a person. It’s a little preachy and too close to 30 Seconds to Mars sounding for comfort. But what brings out the beauty of this album is accepting it as a piece of someone’s life on display. John Floreani has driven home time after time that he’s faced many a hardship and that large parts of his life just suck. So The American Dream
, with it’s poppy sound and upbeat lyrics, represents someone moving on with their life and actively trying to be happier. I think it’s always been the mission statement with this album. To bring it to life though, Trophy Eyes had to change their sound. As much as I wanted another Chemical Miracle
, The American Dream
excels in its attempts to be a joyful hurrah for living your life.
John’s clean vocals control this album, front to back. His singing over the years has improved immensely, and it shows. Just about every track showcases a beautiful, catchy vocal melody. The choruses are grandiose, though sometimes a little over the top. The true shining stars of the album are the three slowest tracks, “A Cotton Candy Sky”, “Tip Toe”, and “A Symphony of Crickets”. These three tracks show off the most atmospheric and emotional performances on the entire album, with a lot of ambient backgrounds and soft but poignant instrumentation with pianos and strings. The instrumentation on other tracks shows a much more poppier approach than ever taken by Trophy Eyes, with riffs that once again beg the 30 Seconds To Mars comparisons. However, they never go too sugary or disingenuous sounding. With John’s aforementioned vocals, the whole meshes together better than you’d expect.
I’d be lying if I said I was not disappointed at all. When you’ve heard what Trophy Eyes is capable of, seeing this being put out is a little underwhelming. However, for what it is and what the band wants it to be, it’s a catchy, grandiose, and sometimes beautiful album about just letting yourself be happy in your search for your identity in the universe.