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Cartel - Cartel (Cover Artwork)

Cartel

Cartel: CartelCartel (2007)
Sony Music Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:


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

If you're anything like me, you open up these reviews from time to time, look at the score the reviewer gives the album, and decide in that moment whether you agree or not without reading what is actually said. Before you judge me just as quickly here, you should know my underlying reason for not gi.
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If you're anything like me, you open up these reviews from time to time, look at the score the reviewer gives the album, and decide in that moment whether you agree or not without reading what is actually said. Before you judge me just as quickly here, you should know my underlying reason for not giving Cartel's newest effort a higher score -- it's not a hatred for pop-rock or Cartel, but rather disappointment. Chroma has had more plays on my iPod than I ever would have believed possible when I first heard it, due in large part to how catchy each and every song was. However, I think I'll be listening to the self-titled album far less than I expected before actually hearing it.

Listening to the album for the first time, I immediately had to force my finger away from the skip button as the album's boring first track played. Now, I understand that no one can love every song on every album, but as the songs continued to play, I noticed one serious problem: Nothing was catching my attention. Every song was forgettable, a complete one-eighty from the catchy rockfest that was Chroma. I'd already heard "Lose It," and hadn't enjoyed it as much as expected either; still, I really would call it one of the best tracks this outing has to offer. I think, personally, it's the annoyingly repetitive chorus lyrics that are the largest turn-off, but the song as a whole isn't anything you haven't heard done better. Actually, it's not anything Cartel hasn't done better.

The real standout track, in my opinion, is "Wasted," which has enjoyed almost as many downloads as "Lose It." Catchy, meaningful lyrics about serious subjects work surprisingly well here. However, this is another track that suffers from a repetitive chorus. It's only forgivable here because the rest of the song is so intriguingly written and enjoyable. Still, it won't appeal to many because the track isn't the Cartel you're used to. Synthetic beats and horns are present, without any guitars or a real band at all. You wouldn't know this was Cartel if not for Will Pugh's recognizable voice. Again, though this track is a standout, it's not what I expected from the Cartel I knew.

Some people might fall in love with this album. However, they probably won't be the same ones that fell for Chroma. I don't want to blame it on the bubble Cartel lived in, but I can only hope that is the true underlying reason for an album that is such a far cry from the music they are known for. In the end, Cartel ends up sounding as though the band was trying to force themselves to sound more mature. I, for one, would have preferred more of what Cartel had to offer back in 2005. If this album was released by a different band than Cartel, I like to think that I might enjoy it more. But, the more I try to listen to it, the more I believe this isn't the case; it really is that utterly forgettable.

 


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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.
PervyD (October 23, 2007)

"Do people actually expect this band to write good music?"

Word, Dave. Word.

Paulrulzdood (October 23, 2007)

it is you who are the ball lickers!

HangoutMatt (October 23, 2007)

Game. Set. Match.

alineinyourbook (October 23, 2007)

If you're playing "Through Being Cool" in the background, YOU'RE probably the one sucking the balls.

Paulrulzdood (October 23, 2007)

glad to provide you nerds with a good chuckle. now go fuck each other queerbaiters. scores for you suckin my balls while "through being cool" plays in the background.

paul

damnitsderek (October 23, 2007)

hey dickweed, if you read the thread you will find out no one has it you queermo

I hate your unrelenting sarcasm.

NotPatriotic (October 23, 2007)

"I think it's one of the best pop....Pause....punk albums of all time. Not quite "through being cool" classic, but classic none the less, one of the best efforts of the new millenium."

hahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaha
Score is for laughing

stevejonestherealbones (October 22, 2007)

To everyone complaining about the non-existent AWS review, how about you just fucking write it yourselves if you want one that bad?

Score is for your incessant bitching.


hey dickweed, if you read the thread you will find out no one has it you queermo

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

damnitsderek (October 22, 2007)

To everyone complaining about the non-existent AWS review, how about you just fucking write it yourselves if you want one that bad?

Score is for your incessant bitching.

SST108 (October 22, 2007)

Score for guy saying "through being cool" classic. I almost fell off my chair laughing.

Paulrulzdood (October 22, 2007)

First off, I'm a big fan of "chroma". I think it's one of the best pop....Pause....punk albums of all time. Not quite "through being cool" classic, but classic none the less, one of the best efforts of the new millenium. Will's vocals soar, arguably the best vocalist in the genre, the lyrics are good enough and the music is anthemic and big. I knew they'd blow up the minute I heard "honestly" so I saw that coming.

Now, disregarding the dubious move of the 'band in the bubble' thing and the rediculous hype around the follow up to their outstanding debut LP (and adored debut e.p., which some defend as their best work) I went into the listening of this album with an open mind.

First, the positives. Vocally, it's pretty stellar. Will has a tremendous voice and it is that voice that puts the band above the legion of nasally high pitched mediocre frontmen dominating the genre. Also, I give the band props for not writing "chroma part 2", they managed to try out some new sounds, more rock based stuff, slower tempo's and more alt-rock stuff.

The negatives. the hooks lack. "the fortunate" has mindless lyrics and a jovi-esque cheeseball wannabe anthem chorus. "wasted" has complete garbage lyrics. The second half of the album is mostly slow "epic" songs that just drag one and don't go anywhere.

the best moments come on the A side. "tonite" picks up where Chroma left off, huge hooks, great riff, soaring vocals, great song, probably the best on the album. For what it is, "lose it" is a great song, barely clocking in at 2:00, it has an instantly memorable hook even if it is repititive. Finally, the second half of "i will hide myself away" probably is the most impressive singing Will has done to date. I feel they went for this on many tracks on the B side, but only on " i will hide myself away" did they fully realize what they were going for.

I think there's plenty of room for this band to grow and this album feels like a transistion to me. not totally disapointing, but a letdown compared to the awesoemness that was "chroma". They have a bright future for sure, anyone who doesn't think so is fooling themselves. If they can keep it together through the early success period that causes so many young bands to implode, they will certainly make some solid music.

david_arquette (October 21, 2007)

Do people actually expect this band to write good music?

punk_rawk_show (October 21, 2007)

"I pre-ordered a signed copy from Newbury Comics the day they announced they'd be available... still hasn't shown. Hoping the mailman didn't just leave it outside my apartment for it to get stolen or something, but if it takes this long for something to get from Massachusetts to Montreal then something is wrong with the system. Bleh."

It's ok buddy, i ordered mine the second day that pre-order thing was announced and I still havnt got it

mattcaded (October 20, 2007)

yea so from what ive hear cartel sucks.

Autosuggestion (October 20, 2007)

Ahhh... Los Angeles.

I got spoiled when I was in San Francisco. Amoeba was literally a 10 minute walk away.

fallingupwards84 (October 20, 2007)

i like how virtually none of these comments have anything to do with Cartel

usversusthem (October 20, 2007)

I pre-ordered a signed copy from Newbury Comics the day they announced they'd be available... still hasn't shown. Hoping the mailman didn't just leave it outside my apartment for it to get stolen or something, but if it takes this long for something to get from Massachusetts to Montreal then something is wrong with the system. Bleh.

stevejonestherealbones (October 20, 2007)

its not amoeba i have a problem with, its driving from the south bay across the shithole known as LA, which, by the way, i am going to do in 30 minutes so i can quit my bitching

i was just saying, while i like amoebas and shopping there, this release really shouldnt be something that i can only find there

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Autosuggestion (October 20, 2007)

But why not go to Amoeba?

I know it's super trendy, but I still think it's a pretty awesome.

icapped2pac (October 20, 2007)

Hey, fellow reluctant (former?) Cartel fans, let's also not forget how good that Ransom EP was. I figured this new one would be shit, and it sounds like I was right. I won't even bother because it'll unfailingly diminish my ability to enjoy the earlier stuff.

stevejonestherealbones (October 20, 2007)

the aquabats was everywhere

- jones the bones

fallingupwards84 (October 20, 2007)

are all Nitro albums like that? maybe AWS should move to Fat or Epitaph...

baseball (October 20, 2007)

i've had a copy of Career Suicide since release day....first local record store i went to had it

i should have just bought copies at their show the other day and shipped them out to people myself

sucks such a great album is presumably so hard to find

fallingupwards84 (October 20, 2007)

a friend of mine tried to buy it on release day and couldnt find it anywhere... wasnt at Best Buy, wasnt at the local record store, nowhere.

i dont plan on actually buying it until its released on vinyl.. surprised they havent done it already

stevejonestherealbones (October 20, 2007)

thats because no one has a physical copy of the album, it doesnt fucking exist

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- i shouldnt have to go to amoeba to get a release like this, i should only have to go to amoeba to find alt-queer-core or genres like that

inagreendase (October 20, 2007)

Hey, I'm not gonna stop people from submitting something, but nobody has.

fallingupwards84 (October 20, 2007)

until inagreendase gets his promo copy in the mail, no one else can review it!

inagreendase (October 20, 2007)

A Wilhelm Scream's publicity company hadn't even sent out the promos as of last week. I would review it if, you know, I had a copy.

And I'm not gonna go buy something I'll probably have for free a week later.

And you all already know it rules anyway, so stop clamoring for a confirmation on your opinion.

Grue (October 20, 2007)

Agree with the other guy, no AWS review is embarassing.

branden (October 20, 2007)

fart hell

stevejonestherealbones (October 20, 2007)

Career Suicide didnt really come out, it was a hoax. no store has it, no one actually owns a copy, plenty of people have heard the leak of career suicide, but thats really just old smackin isaah songs

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

damnitsderek (October 20, 2007)

Hate to admit it, but I enjoyed Chroma a lot. I haven't listened to this based on what others have said, but I figure if I gave the new MCS a chance, maybe I should do the same for this. Maybe.

F_Ward (October 20, 2007)

This is mediocre city.

fattony (October 20, 2007)

The opening of this review made me chuckle, because I do exactly that. Except, it's gotten to the point where I don't even bother reading 4-star reviews anymore because just about everything gets 4 stars, so it was refreshing to read a review that was honest and open-minded, even though I could care less about the band. Score's for the honest review (oh sweet irony).

maverick (October 20, 2007)

This record is a huge bust. I agree about Chroma, that was one catchy pop record. This disc just doesn't have that spark. It has nothing to do with the bubble -- the band wrote these songs before they went into that thing -- there's just not nearly as many memorable hooks here.

-Scott

usversusthem (October 20, 2007)

This is bewilderingly not a Career Suicide review. Is no one writing any or what? Score is for Punknews.org's communal failure to produce one (me included.)

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