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Bad Astronaut - Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment (Cover Artwork)

Bad Astronaut

Bad Astronaut: Twelve Small Steps, One Giant DisappointmentTwelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment (2006)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: sickboiChris
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult, regardless of who you are, what you do, or how it happened. When Derrick Plourde, former drummer of Lagwagon, and at the time drummer for Bad Astronaut, decided to take his own life, it impacted an entire community. One of the most impacted, at l.
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Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult, regardless of who you are, what you do, or how it happened. When Derrick Plourde, former drummer of Lagwagon, and at the time drummer for Bad Astronaut, decided to take his own life, it impacted an entire community.

One of the most impacted, at least verbally, would be Joey Cape, the man behind Lagwagon and Bad Astronaut, and longtime friend of Derrick. In dealing with the loss, Joey wrote and released the most heartfelt and direct Lagwagon album to date, Resolve. Then, with some of the soon-to-be final Bad Astronaut album completed, Joey wrestled with the idea of whether to complete the album without Derrick, or just let it go. He opted to push forward. To complete the project he and his friend started, and put it to rest. Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment is what came forward, the final chapter of Bad Astronaut.

Though I own their first album, and have heard the second, I've never been much more than a casual listener. But much like I found with Resolve, sometimes the most unfortunate experiences in life draw out the best in us. To me, Resolve is the best Lagwagon album to date, and Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment is the best Bad Astronaut album of their short history.

What we end up listening to is essentially two different albums in one. "Ghostwrite" is a very heavily rock-based tune, similar to Lagwagon's material, and basic in style, compared to previous BA material. The higher energy, uptempo tracks like "Go Humans," "Autocare," and opener "Good Morning Night" provide a diverse comparison to some of the album's darker and more personal reflections. "Stillwater, California," with its very relaxed tone, makes reference to Derrick's death (yet apparently the vocals and other instruments were laid over drum tracks performed by him), and represents one of the album's more chilling moments. The lighter acoustic guitar infused "One Giant Disappointment" also transfers similar emotions with Joey singing:

I saw more than hands with splinters from sticks,
It made me sick
And I still haven't fully comprehended it...
While Bad Astronaut has always been a vehicle for experimentation in the sometimes jaded and stagnant world of punk rock, the basic display of genuine feelings found in Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment is hard to look beyond. I don't generally find myself very emotional over records, but to look beyond what is presented here would be absurd. An obvious struggle is seen between two very different feelings, and the end result is an album, though deep in production value, is very raw with personal feeling. Though I can certainly understand the reluctance to finalize it, I'm glad we were able to witness a project being appropriately put to rest, the last goodbye from one friend to another. Joey really put it best, with the song "Beat:"
Today, I finished what we started,
Today, I thought you might be proud,
We have recorded your defeat
An album always incomplete

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
aaronsuspect (April 19, 2008)

Shit. long comment FAILED.

Incredibly beautiful, dynamic, musical, heartbreaking music. Best Bad Astronaut album. The buildup on The "F" Word rivals Only in Dreams, which is the most amazing music I've ever heard in my life.

ThisIsBostonNotLA (February 5, 2008)

One of the most touching and heartbreaking cds I've ever heard, and yet I still love every second

Problematiclogic (October 29, 2007)

Actually, it's called "Violet", and there's a verse missing on the Twelve Small Steps version.

Keep up!

griffigr (July 30, 2007)

Also, I found something quite interesting. On the Joey Cape/Tony Sly Acoustic record, the version of "Violent" is the exact same version on Twelve Small Steps, just without percussion.

griffigr (July 30, 2007)

Brilliant fucking album.

redpatch (April 17, 2007)

"an album always incomplete"

someone-yeah (November 30, 2006)

I wish violet was a little longer.

Other than that I really like this record. My favorite song is best western.

Mike987654321 (November 28, 2006)

First of all, Joey Cape could fart into a tin can, and I would buy the CD. Furthermore, I would give it 10 stars. Just try me Joey.... release an album called "Giant Joey Fart," and I'll be the first in line. This album is excellent, and a far cry from said "fart in a jar." Joey Cape can do no wrong....
But really, thank you Joey for this amazing album. Thank you for all the Wagon and Bad Astronaut albums. It doesn't get any better. Excellent!

Angiepants (November 25, 2006)

Love it.

baseball (November 17, 2006)

i was weary reading some of the comments

but i just bought this and i think this lives up to the other releases without a doubt

yet another great album by Joey Cape...i can't wait to see where he goes with his music when Lagwagon finally disbands, the guy is just flat out a great musician

Anonymous (November 16, 2006)

Not your typical "punk" album. Its very... well... Bad Astronaut like. They were never "punk" so to speak. Sure they had members from punk bands, but their musical style was always more of a ballad with a punk edge every now and then. (ie "The Passenger" or "Greg's Estate") If you want "punk" you will want to listen to other bands. However, sophisticated lyrics and the sheer emotion in the album make it really powerful. I think the people on this board who are/were dowing the album don't understand the impact of the loss of a loved one. The fact that Joey slaved over this album when it wasn't ready to be released and came out with something of this album's nature really says something about his musical talent inside/outside the studio. Also, it's not as easy as mixing in a band member's lyrics to a beat if the band member passes. Joey spent as much time as he could to produce what I think is a well rounded album. He could have, by all means, finished this thing really quickly with another drummer and other people collaborating, but this was HIS project and a devotion to Derrick. Granted he did use anotehr drummer in some songs to lay down tracks, but he did the best he could to preserve Derrick in the album.

I say good job. Your completion of the album is appriciated and I wish you the best in the future.

Also... if you don't like the album, that's fine. Nobody said anyone HAD to like an album. However, show some respect. Just say "I didn't like the album because _______ " Dont make it personal.

Anonymous (November 15, 2006)

this cd is pure genius, anyone who cant appreciate it has no soul

andrethegiant (November 14, 2006)

i just picked this up at midnight. this is for sure my cd of the year.

Anonymous (November 8, 2006)

my favourite album of all time is bad astronaut's previous release, "houston: we have a drinking problem", so it was always going to be hard for this album to live up to expectations especially since derrick never finalised his work on the album.
that said, the drums are still superb, the lyrics are incredibly haunting and just like previous BA releases the music takes you away to another place. nice work, joey, you are a very talented man and i hope to hear more of your indie-type stuff in the future. you have no idea how much your band changed the way i look at music, thankyou. 4/5

Anonymous (November 7, 2006)

The only thing about Bad Astronaut I like are their album covers. I thought all their releases were boring.

TRiGGS (November 6, 2006)

Good review guy!

Anonymous (November 6, 2006)

Man, you gotta get out more

Fatty_Arbuckle2 (November 6, 2006)

Can't wait to buy this one, BA is one of my top 2 or 3 favorite bands of all time.

Scruffy (November 6, 2006)

If that really is you, Joey, and you come back to look at this:
When you played Chicago this summer, you guys mentioned how Resolve wasn't being accepted that well. Well, it made a fan out of me, where I hadn't been before. I think it was the best album of last year, and one of the best I own. You honored Derrick better than anyone could've hoped to.

Anonymous (November 6, 2006)

after a few listens, this album is sonically and lyrically haunting. thanks to joey for finishing this and cheers to derrick. RIP
-cuapunkradio

MikeStupid (November 6, 2006)

I don't know what the hell everyone's talking about. I think this is by far the best Bad Astronaut album, and easily one of the best things I've heard this year!

thecaper (November 6, 2006)

I usually don't pay any attention to reviews or to what critics say, but to say some of the things that have been posted here is really a reflection of how negative and ill willed people can really be. The passing of Derrick was hard on all of us, and this project was done in his honor. I don't care what you think of the music, but I just can't understand how you could justify saying some of these things about someone who 1) You never knew, and 2) If you had known, you would realize just how great he was.

It depresses me to think that you people could be so cold.

RIP Derrick. We'll always toast to you.

Fuzzy (November 5, 2006)

Brian already posted that it was his mistake.

It's not like Chris downloaded this or anything, Fat sent these out a bit ago.

dev (November 5, 2006)

"Christ. It's called "we fucked up". Sorry, there's nothing more to it."

Ok. Hey it could have gone either way, you know? It was either "we fucked up" or some other explanation that possibly "allowed" you guys to "break the rules" this one time. Whatever, I was just looking for the explanation since this is the 1st time I've seen you guys post an early review.

sickboi (November 5, 2006)

So seriously staffers, what is the deal with the early review?

Christ. It's called "we fucked up". Sorry, there's nothing more to it.

Anonymous (November 4, 2006)

Score if for the moron who said this sucks more cock than I do.

-Neill Cawley
AIM-Longlivetheduck2

-I demand a number of how many cocks this sucks, I'll double it, and have it on your desk in the morning.

SloaneDaley (November 4, 2006)

well considering Chris is staff chances are he might be reviewing an advanced copy, so it isn't like he is reviewing downloads.....or maybe he is, but that would be evil.

dev (November 4, 2006)

Yeah, but see the org claims to have a policy on this:

"3.3 Why won't you post reviews until the release date?

Not to stir up this argument again but we don't care how much time you spent on some file sharing network downloading the songs. If the album has not been released than we won't post a review of it. This keeps our posting in synch, as we try to have a review of a band's album out the day it is released if possible. Your review will be kept in the queue until it is released. This allows a person who likes what the review says to go out and support the band by getting their record.

This was NOT requested by record labels nor was it a decision on our part to â??make them happy.â?ť It simply makes sense to us to run it this way. Oftentimes the version of the album online is from earlier demos and with sound quality that does not reflect the final product. When we do a review we consider the artwork & packaging, the effectiveness of the track order and the quality of the production & engineering. None of this is fully conveyed by leaked songs."

Straight from the FAQ, yo...

So seriously staffers, what is the deal with the early review?

kozaihod (November 4, 2006)

Mediocre album, not what i expected. Joey's still a pussy. And the best band album is still 'Passenger'

Anonymous (November 4, 2006)

AllMusic reviews stuff pre-release sometimes, too. Pobody's nerfect.

Anonymous (November 4, 2006)

why is this being reviewed when the street date in nov 14th?

onegirlarmy (November 3, 2006)

Good album.

Scruffy (November 3, 2006)

Brian, shhhh. You're hurting my claim in the Strike Anywhere show thread that this site is professional.

:)

inagreendase (November 3, 2006)

Yeah, this isn't out until the 14th. My bad. I don't know why I thought this was released on Halloween.

klonny (November 3, 2006)

Score for band's name.

So, yeah, about Derrick. I'm super anti-suicide, and if you're bi-polar, its not really your fault. I've known a bipolar person before, and I've seen how it works.

Being depressed without a reason at all doesn't seem like a fair fight, and you aren't "Weak" because of that. Cape did the right thing to honor his dead friend, and you guys who think otherwise can just get the fuck out.

Scruffy (November 3, 2006)

Even if you argue that Derrick was weak for killing himself, this and Resolve aren't albums written by Derrick. Whether someone close to you dies of a car accident, cancer or suicide, that death will still have impact. If you'd ever bothered listening to Resolve, there are moments where Joey is basically asking Derrick why he did it. There are moments where he wonders what could make a person do it. And he also blames himself at points. Whether a person's suicide is weak or not, and it isn't always weak, has nothing to do with the anguish that those they leave behind go through. The depth of Joey's emotion after Derrick's death is what made Resolve so good, not the how and why of Derrick's death.

SloaneDaley (November 3, 2006)

if you want to release material in honor of your weak ass suicide friend you've been crying over for eons, release it on the internet for free, not as a halfass album

just because you commit suicide doesn't make you weak Dan. A lot of people that commit suicide have difficult mental illnesses, and other reasons for suicide are complex sociological factors. Its not just "I'm sad I think I'll die". A friends death is as valid a reason to write albums as any.

I for one look forward to this nice review.

Anonymous (November 3, 2006)

My buddy was derricks roomate when he blew his brains out...said he was a pimp.

Anonymous (November 3, 2006)

uhh anyone know where to get this?

baseball (November 3, 2006)

what's with the early review!

i'll be very disappointed if this isn't good as Bad Astronaut is one of my favorites

Anonymous (November 3, 2006)

definitely in my top 5 most anticipated albums of the year...can't wait to hear this, "Houston" was in my top 10 of 2002, and that was a sick year for music (thrice-illusion, bad religion-process, lawrence arms-apathy, D4-situationist, etc.)

if it came out this year it would be top 5, which is why i'm sure this one will end up there

Paul

android (November 3, 2006)

best bad astronaut record.don´t care what all the haters say.

danperrone (November 3, 2006)

eat me, nocigar!

score is for YOU!!!!

BizzleBrizzle (November 3, 2006)

I may rate this higher later, but for now I'm giving it a 9, I need to listen to it more to come to a final conclusion.

nocigar (November 3, 2006)

seriously, this cd fucking sucks

if you want to release material in honor of your weak ass suicide friend you've been crying over for eons, release it on the internet for free, not as a halfass album

shut up you dumbass piece of shit.

crazytoledo (November 3, 2006)

I thought you guys didn't post reviews until albums were released?

Same here. Doesn't this come out the 14th?

superdude (November 3, 2006)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I'd make it better:
1. The cover of this album is a perfect example of proof that the moon walk was staged.
2. Except for Michael Jackson's moonwalk. Shit is genius.

Anonymous (November 3, 2006)

i heard that joey is going to make the first video a remake of the aerosmith "angel" video and he is going to be the guy in the bed and derrick is going to be the ghost in the dress floating above him that he is singing to.

Anonymous (November 3, 2006)

great record

TahoeJeff (November 3, 2006)

THis is a good album

MrStylson (November 3, 2006)

agreed on the solo joey stuff.

i think i almost enjoyed him solo more than with lagwagon, as odd as that may be

Anonymous (November 3, 2006)

I love everything Bad Astronaut has released but aside from a couple of songs, this sucked more cock than Neil. Even Joey Cape has stated this album blows.

But I suppose I can give them a pass as they wanted to preserve Derrick's last outputs. And I assume this will be the last record for Bad Astronaut as well. I hope there will be some more solo Joey stuff in the future.

danperrone (November 3, 2006)

seriously, this cd fucking sucks

if you want to release material in honor of your weak ass suicide friend you've been crying over for eons, release it on the internet for free, not as a halfass album

MrStylson (November 3, 2006)

wait, i thought this was out on the 14th?

Anonymous (November 3, 2006)

I was really disappointed with this release for some reason.

Anonymous (November 3, 2006)

I thought you guys didn't post reviews until albums were released?

irish_joo (November 3, 2006)

his should be good

GlassPipeMurder (November 3, 2006)

wow, i had no idea this was out already. definitely love Bad Astronaut. score is for the review.

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