The Story So Far
I Want to Disappear


3.9
excellent

Review

by jesper STAFF
June 17th, 2024 | 255 replies


Release Date: 06/21/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: finding reason

Are The Story So Far a pop punk anomaly, or are they simply setting a new precedent? It's easy to marvel at the band’s ability to, eh, not be terrible after having released a handful of albums (unlike, say, the Sums and Decent Charlottes of the world), but at the same time they probably shouldn't be compared to the Sums and Decent Charlottes of the world. The Story So Far shouldn't really be classified as a pop punk band: love it or hate it, they are one of the early-2010s pop punk bands. Embodying a punchier side of the coin shared with The Wonder Years, these two outfits are proving that there might just be a bright future for this particular flavour of the most adored genre.

That's not to say that The Story So Far are a jolly bunch of dudes constantly pumping out bright anthems about partying and drinking and stuff. Instead, we rarely hear from them anymore: the last check-in was 2018's incredible Proper Dose. Not as much a reinvention as it was a course correction, the album showed more depth and, crucially, a new side to the band's songwriting. After attempting to write a third straight record about not liking girl didn't go as well as the first two times, The Story So Far seemingly realised they needed a better reason to write music - Proper Dose found this in vocalist Parker Cannon's struggles with substance abuse. On top of this, the more expansive soundscape combined with the band's trademark catchiness made for a highly memorable and surprisingly touching outing. It's the kind of album that would be hard to follow: not just because it came awfully close to being a perfectly sequenced pop punk record, but primarily because it feels like there was little left to say.

As such, it makes sense that I Want To Disappear took quite a bit of time. Admittedly, the fact that a new The Story So Far project now comes with the realisation that Parker must be going through some *** again is a bit unfortunate: in this instance, the album largely serves as a tribute to the vocalist’s late father. Its ten tracks deal with grief in one way or another without transforming the album into an overly gloomy dead-dad listening experience. Where Proper Dose was rather straightforward and explicit - “if you keep this up / you'll die here all alone” - I Want To Disappear feels slightly more careful and more universal in expressing itself. Sure, its themes can easily be summarised as “loss” and “grief”, but each line appears to blur the concrete and metaphorical: ashes are scattered, lives are lived because of others, lives are shattered. In essence, each lyric finds ambiguity in simplicity, conveying its emotions in a highly effective if condensed manner.

This condensed nature extends to the actual soundscape of I Want To Disappear. It's a short album, and ultimately a lot less expansive than its predecessor. While this does mean that it is a slight regression from Proper Dose’s lushness, it's also a sheer delight to hear a batch of punky, high quality songs. Moreover, it’s almost a relief that this album does not attempt to recapture any specific flavour of previously achieved magic, and instead focuses on doing everything The Story So Far does with a slightly more refined and mature focus. There are moments of pure punk filtered through Cannon's bleak lyricism and complemented by more grandiose, drawn out choruses (“Watch You Go”, “Big Blind”), while other, similarly punchy cuts see fit to include dissociative outros or the most USAD-riff since, well, USAD (“Nothing To Say” and “You're Still in My Way” respectively).

...and yet, I Want To Disappear is at its very best during its more expansive, fleshed out moments. “Letterman” feels like everything most alt rock bands could never achieve, while “Keep You Around” and “White Shores” show that The Story So Far know how to marry their delicate sensibilities with anthemic pop punk-isms unlike anyone else. It's a bit of a double edged and vaguely blunt knife: on the one hand, it's easy to understand why I Want To Disappear doesn't try to be more than it is - and it is an excellent record. On the other hand, it feels like I Want To Disappear could have tried - and succeeded - to be more, as exemplified by its very best moments.

At the end of the day, I'm just glad to not just have a new The Story So Far album, but also have a good new pop punk album - one that impressively adopts the acoustic-closer trope without ending up overly saccharine. I Want To Disappear is an excellent display of Cannon's growth as a writer, and even if it isn't the band's best album, some of its cuts manage to stand shoulder to shoulder with discography highlights like “Empty Space” and “Keep This Up”. Here's to hoping the next one will be a little more uplifting - whenever that may be.



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user ratings (156)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Jake E. (4)
I'm your rubber band, man....



Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2024


5555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

out this friday



happy summer everyone

artificialbox
June 17th 2024


2088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lets goooo!!!

JayEnder
June 17th 2024


20469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My vinyl showed up early today and containing my excitement over this has been nigh impossible.



LFG

Meborphus
June 17th 2024


214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Super hyped for this!

Beardog
June 17th 2024


5275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh awesome, their last one had some insane bangers but wasn't that great to me as a full length...

JayEnder
June 17th 2024


20469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh wonderful, now my record player wants to keep weirdly stopping (resetting rather) towards the start of Watch You Go... Why does this happen? I've tightened the tonearm, reset the mechanism, everything. And this keeps happening.



Vinyl is such a fucking shit format for listening to music, I'll never understand this resurgence of it besides having a cool big artwork as a collectible. Guess I'm waiting for the official release on Friday, smh.

artificialbox
June 17th 2024


2088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn I wonder if its a defect in the record itself?? or does it happen with other records too? that sucks dude

JayEnder
June 17th 2024


20469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Must be bc I'm trying a few others and they're working just fine. So insanely bummed rn you guys have no idea :[

Feather
June 17th 2024


10299 Comments


woah, wasn't expecting such a high rating tbh

Nice review Jesper, especially the Wonder Years shout out at the start

EDIT: Forgot to mention, that this album cover stinks.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2024


5555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

aw damn that sucks jay!

cheers feather, fwiw i have proper dose 4.5'd lol. and yeah album cover isn't great, esp compared to the last one

Feather
June 17th 2024


10299 Comments


proper dose at a 4.5 is also wildly high so that is fair haha. I will still give this a spin

CaliggyJack
June 17th 2024


10122 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The fact all yall are listening to it before me is upsetting me on a subatomic level

Clumseee
June 17th 2024


1825 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, looking forward to this. Think Proper Dose is their best by a lot so far.

Odal
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2024


2318 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

awesome review, man.



Really looking forward to this

LotionLord
June 18th 2024


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic read Jesp. Proper Dose is my favorite album ever so this has been a tough wait. The second the clock hits midnight on Friday I'm pressing play.



Wrap me tight, I'm your rubber band, man.



(I'M YOUR RUBBER BAND, MAAAAAANNN)

henryChinaski
June 18th 2024


5059 Comments


lets goooo!!! [2]

iChuckles
June 18th 2024


704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm honestly over the moon excited that this record seemingly didn't flop. The change in producer, agonizing six-year wait, Kelen leaving et cetera: this could have gone either way.



A fantastically written review Jesper! So glad to hear that this album kicks ass. Friday can't come soon enough.

Feather
June 18th 2024


10299 Comments


Sounds like I need to relisten to proper dose... I wasnt all that enthralled by it back when it dropped, but I also am not a big TSSF fan.

outliers
June 18th 2024


5098 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i found proper dose to be a bit of a grower

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2024


5555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thanks guys!



i'm pretty convinced that proper dose is a near-perfect pop punk album (and sam pura's production helps it get there tbh - production here is cool but i do miss the dreaminess (shocker))



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