The Starting Line - Direction (Cover Artwork)

The Starting Line

The Starting Line: DirectionDirection (2007)
EMI Group

Reviewer Rating: 2.5

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

Like many bands that hit their pinnacle in the early 2000s pop-punk craze, the Starting Line has been searching the last few years for a more mature sound to somehow garner the success of today's more "emotionally equipped" acts. While 2005's Based on a True Story headed up such an effort, lines lik.
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Like many bands that hit their pinnacle in the early 2000s pop-punk craze, the Starting Line has been searching the last few years for a more mature sound to somehow garner the success of today's more "emotionally equipped" acts. While 2005's Based on a True Story headed up such an effort, lines like "I'm gonna tear your ass up like we just got married and you're all mine now" made the process much more difficult than it should have been. So consider Direction a success that the Starting Line manage to sound more grown-up musically and less immature this time around.

Not a whole lot of the band's pop-punk past remains in the Starting Line of today. There are a couple fun, energetic tunes in "Way with Words," "I Could Be Wrong" and the Yellowcard ripoff "21," but for the most part Direction resonates as more of a pop-rock effort with an unfortunate lack of hooks. The frustratingly sluggish title track defines the album's identity crisis that meanders between half-assed aggression and melody that falls short of catchiness.

The simplicity and honesty of "I Could Be Wrong" shows that the Starting Line are still capable of making down-to-earth pop-punk, as lead singer Kenny Vasoli admits "From the east coast to west coast states / I want to feel the warmth from the buzz that I create / But I'm really not too sure if it's ever gonna happen / But I know that I'm not too concerned." However, on the next track the band turns to a self-righteous condescending tone as they address their old fans: "If SILYMI [Say it Like You Mean It] still is all you want / Then I'm not sure how much in common we've got / Somebody's gonna miss us / When nobody's here for this song."

There's also an abundance of filler on Direction that begins with the bland rock of "Are You Alone," and collecting the slow-starting acoustic "Something Left to Give" and "Need to Love" before finally reaching a fairly catchy conclusion with "What You Want" that has the appeal to reach mainstream audiences.

Conveniently enough, direction seems to be exactly what the Starting Line is lacking in their latest release. While there are a handful of enjoyable rock and pop-punk tracks on Direction, there are too many struggling grabs that come up empty for it to be considered the mature and developed achievement it was meant to be.


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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.
crazytoledo (August 21, 2007)

I've never got into any of their songs besides "Best Of Me"

capitalist_pig (August 20, 2007)

these guys are asshats

Anonymous (August 20, 2007)

Ah... I mean, yes and no, right?

While I like a lot of stuff I listened to 7 years ago, I'm interested in a lot of other things as well.

Anonymous (August 19, 2007)

I had no idea Yellowcard has a unique enough style to even be ripped off.

ewwitsjason (August 19, 2007)

I wish bands these days weren't so concerned with maturing and being labeled. The Starting Line have the ability to make great songs but they let critics and reviews get to their heads, just like Saves The Day. Instead of firing back with a catchy, snotty, matured version of The Starting Line's first release, they take everything their fans like about them and leave them in the past, making a bland radio-friendly shit fest.

Anonymous (August 19, 2007)

i do. it is self-righteous and condenscending. fuck that song. if they aren't going to make any more good records, at least don't bitch about your fans that still like them.

Anonymous (August 19, 2007)

I don't think it is accurate to describe it as a "self-righteous condescending tone."

Anonymous (August 19, 2007)

What an awesome waste of resources to create a disposable, forgetable product for the MySpace generation...oh, look something new has already replaced this...garbage!

Anonymous (August 19, 2007)

how about "i'm going to eat out your asshole cause i like the taste of shit in my mouth"

scorpiondeathlock (August 19, 2007)

id really like this band if they changed the lyrics to that one song from "im gonna tear your ass up like we just got married" to "im gonna crack your ass up like my name was drew carrey".....

Anonymous (August 18, 2007)

another Jawbreaker Green Day ripoff band

Anonymous (August 18, 2007)

both the matches and Say Anything are leagues above hawthorne heights and the starting line. for proof listen to matches' "little maggots" and say anything's "the writhing south"

Anonymous (August 18, 2007)

This band really blows. Gave the album a one because they were able to record it but they get nothing else.

Anonymous (August 18, 2007)

the starting line is by far one of the worst pop punk bands of all time.

5. hawthorne heights
4. matches
3. starting line
2. viva death
1. say anything

punk_rawk_show (August 18, 2007)

"Bummed on this record.

Say It Like You Mean It was an absolutely perfect pop-punk record, but the last two have been pretty boring."

Agreed. Say it like you mean it is absolutely perfect for what it is. I am affraid i will not like this album though

maverick (August 17, 2007)

I like the single and the title track a lot, and there's some other pretty good songs on here too, but overall I think the album is lacking the emotional punch that made their last album so resonant with me. The last record was more or less a mid-'90s midwestern emo record written 10 years after the fact, and it sounded pretty great. This one just doesn't have it.


Anonymous (August 17, 2007)

this band makes the Backstreet Boys look threatening.

Big_Guy (August 17, 2007)

I think this album is really good

some great shit on it

elephantdwarf (August 17, 2007)

this record cover makes me feel like gravity broke. and im falling. it makes me nauseous.

Anonymous (August 17, 2007)

Your mom uses Avante Garde typeface nowadays!!!!

Anonymous (August 17, 2007)

The story of a curmudgeonly old man that learns the true meaning of christmas.

Anonymous (August 17, 2007)

note: i have nothing to say about this album

as a graphic designer, i sure am getting tired of everyone using the Avant Garde typeface nowadays...and not even using it correctly, mind you! it irks me to no end. and yes im being curmudgeonly. my appologies for wasting your time.

Anchors (August 17, 2007)

Bummed on this record.

Say It Like You Mean It was an absolutely perfect pop-punk record, but the last two have been pretty boring.

Anonymous (August 17, 2007)

yet another spot-on review from glasspipe. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said, except, in my opinion, this is no better than "based on a true story" and in all honesty, their first and best album "say it like you mean it" was just a watered down NFG meets Blink album anyway.


coldwaffles (August 17, 2007)

i liked this. i really like how everything on it SOUNDS, it's pretty immersive. the songs aren't amazing, but they sound so excellent. i'd give this a three for the production alone, it makes it really easy, and fun to listen to.

Sally_Field (August 17, 2007)

Meg just creamed her panties.

Since I'm sure you're really interested in my opinion, this album was a letdown.

danperrone (August 17, 2007)

this really is a terrible album. the cardinal rule for pop-punk groups is that you should be catchy, and they totally ignore that on this one.

i find it completely amazing to see this band where they are not after the success of say it like you mean it

Anonymous (August 17, 2007)

Meg just creamed her panties.

Anonymous (August 17, 2007)

let's get the new MXPX review up already instead of this bullshit

Anonymous (August 17, 2007)

the one song i heard was dreadful

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