Alkaline Trio - Agony & Irony (Cover Artwork)

Alkaline Trio

Alkaline Trio: Agony & IronyAgony & Irony (2008)
Sony Music

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

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

What's that you say? Okay, calm down. No -- just hear me out -- look kid, it's -- yeah, I know, shut up for a second! Man, I have to start this review off playing defense?!?! Alkaline Trio is the latest band to have outraged "the kids," and from what I gather a lot of it has to do with the issu.

What's that you say? Okay, calm down. No -- just hear me out -- look kid, it's -- yeah, I know, shut up for a second! Man, I have to start this review off playing defense?!?!

Alkaline Trio is the latest band to have outraged "the kids," and from what I gather a lot of it has to do with the issue of their latest record being over-produced, too slick, not punk enough, etc. etc. -- the typical time-honored complaints from people who have likely never been anywhere near a studio. But that's fine; this band means a lot to me too and I share your concerns. But before you cover up your Trio tattoo with a Gaslight Anthem logo, try this: take your favorite Alkaline Trio song from a past release and pretend it was on this record (for me that would probably be "You've Got So Far to Go"). Would the music sound so different and would you suddenly hate the song? No. I win! And what do you bet that the same people complaining about the more mellow rock songs on this album are the same people chanting "Radio! Radio!" during the encore break? It's polished all right, but it's still the band we all know and love. There's catchy melodies, clever lyrics and now there's some bombastic production to further complement an already fantastic sound. Thankfully there's not a law stating that you can only enjoy one Alkaline Trio record (for me that would be From Here to Infirmary, a true 10/10) and I am grateful for that because these guys are one of the best punk bands of my generation. One might even use the phrase, "Even at our worst we're better than most."

So since much ado is being made about the production on this latest release, who is behind all of this? The answer is a guy named Josh Abraham and he's worked with all your favorite bands. You know, Limp Bizkit, Pink, Korn, Staind, CrazyTown, Static-X...all the fuckin' classics, man! Look on the bright side: at least the label isn't gonna slap some shameless sticker on the front of the CD name-checking other bands because of the producer's resume. Or maybe I should wait until I see the CD before I state that...?

Anyhow, regardless of what records Abraham has been involved with in the past, I am pretty sure this is the band that Alkaline Trio was hoping to sound like when they first collaborated with Jerry Finn all those years ago on Good Mourning. Maybe it was all the growing pains the band was enduring as they were getting exponentially bigger at the time, or maybe it was just that Jerry Finn was more concerned with Eisley? Point being, the quality of the songs on Good Mourning far surpassed the recording and that really defeats the purpose of using someone like Jerry Finn. I mean, c'mon, this is the guy that essentially made Blink-182 sound good. Then came Crimson, their fifth proper full-length and their second outing with Finn, and on this album marked improvement can be heard and there are moments that remind you why he is in such demand as a producer. But I'll say it: He lost his touch, and I'm glad that the Trio went elsewhere this time.

The sounds on Agony & Irony are more akin to The Colour and the Shape and a lot less like Goddamnit, but it suits the band just fine at this point if you ask me. Derek Grant, a guy whose name is certain to come up in any conversation concerning the best drummers of the indie-punk scene, has finally been rewarded with the huge drum sounds he deserves. It's some thunderous stadium shit going on, and you can just tell that he's having a blast. Matt Skiba's voice is also sounding better than ever. It was really a shame that he endured so much trouble with his vocal chords during the past recordings because his voice, although injured, was getting stronger. On this latest album we can hear Skiba's health finally catch up to his vocal chops and he's in full form. As with Grant's drumming performance, you can almost sense the satisfaction Skiba feels from finally meeting his potential.

As for the songs, there's some that grab you right off the first listen ("Help Me" and "Calling All Skeletons") and there are some growers ("Over and Out" and "Into the Night"). Bassist and co-vocalist Dan Andriano offers up some of my favorite songs I have heard from him in a while. "Do You Wanna Know" was apparently added to the record at the last minute because the label liked it so much, and rightfully so. Andriano's "Love, Love, Kiss, Kiss" is already one of my all-time favorites and boasts classic Alkaline Trio greatness with lines like this:

Do you find you like to fall in love with people that you're never gonna meet?
It's easier than breaking up and crying in the street
Do you curse the happy couple? Do you cringe at wedding bells?
Do you drink up all the punch while you wish 'em all to hell?
Ya know, I am a grouchy old man and it takes a lot to impress me these days, but I think those lyrics are great. Or wait...maybe that stuff appeals to me because I am a grouchy old man? In any case, this shit's awesome, and they've once again managed to make music that speaks to people.

On the downside, it's true, this is not the best Alkaline Trio record. There's some stuff that sounds like it belongs in the game Castlevania and lots of samples that may be a bit desperate, but those things don't bother me personally. One of the more interesting elements of this record is the production -- it sheds new light light on the band, and the album wouldn't be the same without all the bells and whistles and fun studio tricks.

When I think of all the bands in the last few years that came from the underground and signed with one of the big boys (e.g. Against Me!, Rancid, AFI), this is the best major label debut in my opinion. These guys may have done some things that have made their older fans (note the non-usage of the term "faithful") scratch their heads, but we're still talking about the same group of guys that write songs you relate to so well and make music that you swear was written about the lives of you and your friends. Don't throw it all away or dismiss the music because it's presented differently; I suggest you come along for the ride.


People who liked this also liked:
Alkaline Trio - GoddamnitAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundAlkaline Trio - From Here To InfirmaryAlkaline Trio - Good MourningThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldAlkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch FireAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl Rose

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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.
bergman913 (July 6, 2013)

I don't mind listening to a band's "new sound" normally, even if that means polishing it up just to get more of an audience. Who cares if they want to make more money, they kinda need it. This album was pretty bad though to most fans of alk3.

If you really like the poppycatchy side of alk3, then maybe you will.... I just hated it.

mowlio (April 22, 2011)

Such a dull album, no real stand out songs. Calling all skeletons is the only decent track

IHaveNoFriends (September 22, 2010)

Well I have given some time to let this album to sink in (about 2 years I got it as soon as it leaked) and I have to say there is too much unwarranted hate for this album. I think this review was pretty spot on. I love everything up to Crimson, everything after it I really like.

Alkaline Trio aren't the 24/7 wasted, super sweaty, basement playing, dirt poor band everyone hoped they would be. They have more fans, play bigger stages and have the talent, skill, and capital to make high quality polished albums. Sure there are a few "filler" tracks but come on 85% of songs they have released over the years are awesome to say the least.

Besides I have heard stories of ALK3 back in the day having burnt out vocals, being so sick they could barely play, or just sucking in general. I have seen them perform in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and they haven't had any mishaps putting on awesome sets of old and new songs mixed together. This band has only got better, don't become the jaded music critic, that shit is weak.

Cnork (October 3, 2009)

The story behind that "gay logo". It's on every alkaline trio album. It's even on the back of Goddamnit. have you ever paid for an album?

big-man13 (April 16, 2009)

oh yeah and whats up the gay logo skull in a heart? wtf is that supposed to mean some 1 tell me is their a story behind it?

big-man13 (April 16, 2009)

yeah, alkaline sux now their older stuff i miss now their all emo and shit cant stand it!

dbug (February 23, 2009)

Agreed! I'm starting to appreciate it now when my favorite bands prgress in their music! I see it as them just getting better and perfecting what they do best for themselves and it should be appreciated. I'll always love Trio!

kylewagoner (January 19, 2009)

Excellent review and excellent views on major label punk bands. They CAN get some really nice shit if they use the major label for better drum sounds and shit instead of using the major label for unnecessary instruments and sounds that are impossible to replicate live (as Fall Out Boy are known to do all the fuckin' time). I haven't listened to this album enough times to know what I'd give it, so I'm not going to rate it at all. Well, yes I will. For the songs I've heard on it a million times. I give them a 10/10. I love Alkaline Trio period. It doesn't matter which album their excellent songs come from, they're excellent.

Filbunke (December 23, 2008)

Ok, however said "Dan's best song since 'I'm Dying Tomorrow'" is pretty funny.. I'm Dying Tomorrow is easily one of the worst songs the Trio has ever made.. I thought that was a fact, but as it turns out, it's just my opinion.. oh well

goodbye_kid (November 21, 2008)

It's OK, way better than Crimson.
I don't like this new poppy sound, but... Help Me is pretty good. Lost & Rendered is fucking awful, btw. And Into The Night. And Live Young Die Fast, so slow and boring.

Chupachup_Punk (November 16, 2008)

Iā??ll admit that I use to be one of those kids who got the shits every time one of my favourite bands matured their sounds and became ā??less punkā? or less heavy but now that Iā??m growing up Iā??m really embracing bands as they grow and this is a perfect example of a band growing and maturing their sound, some awesome tracks here with yes, a well produced clean sound

RedElephant (September 28, 2008)

Good Mourning
Maybe I'll Catch Fire
From Here...

that's my ranking. Crimson by far being the worst. i still dont get how people rank Infirmary above Goddamnit.

Jay3313 (August 22, 2008)

I always thought this band sucked, because up until like last year, I had only heard their newer stuff. Good Mourning, Crimson...

Then I bought Goddamnit.

Somehow it almost hurts to know that this band was good once, and then proceeded to suck. Balls.

foolsgold (August 6, 2008)

Definitely a step up from Crimson. Didn't blow me away, but I didn't expect it to. Good, solid record.

shaunheintz (August 6, 2008)

I love this album I love this band. I feel this one was better then crimson. It seems like it's more old school.

grantino (July 17, 2008)

best review of this album i have read and its all so true.

fuck yeah.

azpunk73 (July 11, 2008)

Alkaline Trio has shown everybody there a big boy band now...Not punk enough is stupid. Bottom line if all you care about is how fast they play, or how grungy it should be...well your stuck in a rut.

flowerfeeder (July 11, 2008)


FranklinStein (July 10, 2008)

where can I find the "private eye" music video...i've heard about it before but have had no luck in finding it. is the video consistent with the song's lyrics?

score's for "Help Me"

itsAgiftANDaCURSE (July 9, 2008)

I'm not gonna say they topped their last album but they came pretty damn close! Certainly going to be in my top five of the year!

Valentin_Selezynov (July 8, 2008)

For me it's

1. Good Mourning
2. From Here to Infirmary
3. Crimson
4. Agony and Irony
5. Goddamnit
6. Maybe I'll Catch Fire

Mourning is way out in front, but there isn't much between 2 to 5 for me.

As for this record, it's a grower. I love Calling All Skeletons, Love Love Kiss Kiss and In Vein in their entirety, whearas other songs just have "moments". Lots of moments, granted, but there are chunks of songs that don't do it for me. The chorus on Help Me being the main dissapointment.

I'm usually not too keen on Dans songs, (in fact before this album i'd say my favourite Dan song was Emma, which Matt wrote) but his songs here are excellent.

As far as production goes, i really like that spooky noise just before the chorus' on Lost and Rendered.

Alkaline Trio are my favourite band, and have been pretty much since i was inspired to go out and get FHtI after watching the video for Private Eye on the now defuct P-Rock music chanel. I doubt they'll release anything i don't enjoy.

jamespastepunk (July 6, 2008)

Maybe I'll...
Everything else.

geofftheband (July 6, 2008)

time to get shit for my rankings...

from here to infirmary
maybe i'll catch fire
self titled (mix tape)
good mourning
agony & irony

i'm just not a big fan of crimson. i hate "the poison" and i'm not a huge fan of "sadie"... just kind of drags on... although agony and irony has too many stupid overproduced sound effects and personally i think the guitars sound a little too "fuzzy" on some songs and it makes me think i'm back in 8th grade when korn was popular. but i really enjoy the lyrics on most of the songs, and the fact that they're still making music makes me happy. granted, they're not fun songs to get drunk to and wish for better days like "sorry about that" or "keep em coming", but it's better than listening to some shitty bands that are "up and coming" these days.

Big_Guy (July 6, 2008)

this is by far their worst.

damo (July 5, 2008)

i don't understand the Goddamnit love. Clavicle is prob their best ever song but i just can't bear some of the other stuff on there

MikeMurder (July 4, 2008)

Why all the Good Mourning hate? It's clearly their best record.

telegraphrocks (July 4, 2008)

There's just one Schlitz. Yeah, yeah. Nothing else comes near. When you're out of Schilitz... you're out of beer.

wyzo (July 4, 2008)

"You actually threw the word "fact" in there when you suggested that I sired a member of Alkaline Trio!"

.....i think it pretty unanimous when I say no one actually thought I was saying your Matt Skiba's mom. Your powers of insight know no bounds.

Take this statement fragment: Besides the fact that you are a huge dick

Now, You are not really a gigantic phallus, but no one is going to ask, what ho wyzo? is he really a shaft and some balls?

Iowa is a great place to live, so thanks?

anyway, I have to say timorous me's ranking is about what I would say, though it is bizarre to rank the vagrant stuff since it is a wholly different cycle in the band, I lump them together. Kind of like Bad Religion's Atlantic stuff, it is all subpar but they have some good stuff going on in them, so just a ranking doesn't get at much.

timorous_me (July 4, 2008)

1. Maybe I'll Catch Fire (ever song damn near perfect)
2. Goddammit (again, every song is damn near perfect)
3. Self-titled (first split/b-side collection) (The whole I Lied My Face Off ep, My Friend Peter, 97, Sundials)
4. Remains (second b-side disk) (The songs from the HWM and OMA splits, Hell Yes, Old School Reasons, Warbrain)
5. From Here to Infirmary (Again, great almost all the way through. A few weaker songs but nothing skip worthy).
6. Good Mounring (horrible production, Skiba with new, crooning style of singing, a few skip worthy songs, but Dan's songs are ace on this one).
7. Crimson (I feel that the production is slightly better but still not as good as when Matt Alison was producing them. Lots of forgettable songs but it gets points for "The Poison" being as awesome as it is).
8. Agony and Irony (The production sounds really bad and the lyrics are cheesy as hell. I like the opening track and the single is a neat change of pace, but the rest is really forgettable).

telegraphrocks (July 4, 2008)

On second read, the only thing I disagree with in the review is the hailing of 'From Here To Infirmary' as their best album. I like it, but I'd rank it last.

dev (July 4, 2008)

"Whoever ranked the Trio albums below is so amazingly off, I get the feeling they've never actually listened to Alkaline Trio before."

I know, hey? His opinion is so drastically different it must just be plain wrong, huh?

jumptheshark (July 4, 2008)

I saw them at summerfest last night. The show was fun, the new songs sounded good live (better than on record, i thought). Also, a great demonstration of the retarded obliviousness of certain members of the human race came when i noticed a couple behind me started making out during "Love Love Kiss Kiss"

nocontrol (July 4, 2008)

awesome album, dereks drumming is great

damnitsderek (July 3, 2008)

I'm way late on this thread, but I just picked this up yesterday and am thoroughly unimpressed. It isn't abysmal, but it just isn't doing it for me, save for two or three tracks.

maverick (July 3, 2008)

Whoever ranked the Trio albums below is so amazingly off, I get the feeling they've never actually listened to Alkaline Trio before.

1. Goddamnit
2. Self-titled
3. Maybe I'll Catch Fire
4 (TIE). From Here To Infirmary
4 (TIE). Remains
4 (TIE). Agony And Irony
7. Crimson
8. Good Mourning

As for this comment:

"Its probably harder to get a 5/5 from alternative press than rolling stone, not that that's saying much, Scott gave the new Weezer album a fuckin 4/5 or some shit and that album is complte shite, far worse than the new Trio (which I believe AP gave a 6/10)"

I gave the new weezer 3.5/5, and the Trio record got 3/5 but the copy we had to review was only 10 tracks; "Do You Wanna Know" was a late addition to the album. Had that song been on there initially, it would've most likely gotten 3.5/5 also.

Also, AP's only given out two five-star reviews in the past 18 months, both of which from our editor in chief. So yeah, it is hard to get five stars from us.


fallingupwards84 (July 3, 2008)

*obviously disagree

goddammit we need an editing button

fallingupwards84 (July 3, 2008)

In response to wyzo...

You sound like someone really young so I won't go overboard, but I will suggest that as you get older

nice ad hominem. maybe you should attack his argument instead of his age. most people obviously with your positive review of the album, fact is, this shit is weak.

Dante3000 (July 3, 2008)

good call Dante but I don't think you're supposed to undo the diss you can't be a fan of that kid can you?
Nah, I hate everyone but WEW is from Iowa and that's one good thing from that state. He's being super rad nearly undoes slipknot...Nearly.

superskabro (July 3, 2008)

I was no expecting this album to be this fucking good. Jerry Finn was a shitty producer. This new dude has done something goofy to Matt's vocals, but other than that, the whole deal sounds great. Kudos to Alkaline Trio for doing what they do so well for so long.

blanktapesemptybottles (July 3, 2008)

good call Dante but I don't think you're supposed to undo the diss you can't be a fan of that kid can you?

blanktapesemptybottles (July 3, 2008)

good call Dante but I don't think you're supposed to undo the diss you can't be a fan of that kid can you?

jacknife737 (July 3, 2008)

Good Mourning
Maybe I'lL Catch Fire
Irony and Agony
From Here to the Infirmary

Dante3000 (July 3, 2008)

Oh give wyzo a break he's from Iowa oh poor wyzo is there actually anything to do in that state besides Slipknot concerts?

Three words:
William Elliott Whitmore.

blanktapesemptybottles (July 3, 2008)

oh give wyzo a break he's from Iowa oh poor wyzo is there actually anything to do in that state besides Slipknot concerts?

Redscare (July 3, 2008)

In response to wyzo...

You sound like someone really young so I won't go overboard, but I will suggest that as you get older you'll probably learn to stay away from making declarative statements regarding things that you can't prove or don't know about. You accuse me of reading into things on the review, but you yourself go on to talk about the motivations of the band, their lifestyle, etc.

My favorite is this: "and the fact that it was written by someone in the bands mom or dad"

You actually threw the word "fact" in there when you suggested that I sired a member of Alkaline Trio! They're actually all older than me. I'm not gonna get into your whole rationalization of DLing music, but you sound like some really bitter failed writer or some shit. Then again, we don't wanna start making assumptions...

artiefufkin (July 3, 2008)

The best part of this review was: "before you cover up your Trio tattoo with a Gaslight Anthem logo..". lol. And for the record, I liked Alk Trio when they were somewhat of a punk rock band - rather than their current mainstream generic regular rock band

Redscare (July 3, 2008)

Regarding the RS scores, there must be a different scoring system in the magazine than in the online version. The only 5/5 I recall ever appearing in the magazine was shit like "OK Computer" and "Smile".

To be perfectly honest though, I don't spend a lot of time at rollingstone.com and I sure as shit don't read their reviews of Britney Spears and Limp Bizkit. So you got me.

Dante3000 (July 3, 2008)

I scored this album 7 Rhinos out of a possible 5 Lions. Really I feel that was far. Just because I gave the last Weezer album 8 thumbs out of a possible 4 flower vases doesn't mean it was better.

Srsly, scores are srs bizness.

dev (July 3, 2008)

Fuck, who cares who gave it what score? If you like it, listen to it. If not, don't. Don't get your panties in a bunch over a band that was never that spectacular to begin with. Christ...

paulrulzdood (July 3, 2008)

rolling stone hand out 5/5's like its halloween candy, fucking Linkin Park "meteora" and Metallica "st. anger" got 5/5's...I think Limp Dilznik and Brittney Spears have gotten 5/5's from them. Its probably harder to get a 5/5 from alternative press than rolling stone, not that that's saying much, Scott gave the new Weezer album a fuckin 4/5 or some shit and that album is complte shite, far worse than the new Trio (which I believe AP gave a 6/10)

NotPatriotic (July 3, 2008)

"5: RS gave it a 7/10. That's actually a GLOWING review, considering they give a 10/10 about once a decade. No exaggeration."

The review is definitely not GLOWING. They actually sort of bash the record and I'm pretty sure almost every other review in the magazine was 4 stars and The Trio album was 3 1/2. This is actually the first time I have ever read a rolling stone magazine cover to cover and while there are some interesting things within the pages, the magazine overall sucks. I bought it because Obama was on the cover and I wanted to read the Obama interview. Gotta love the Tom Gabel quote in the Bonaroo section, "It's great being out here with all of you" or something to that affect.

fallingupwards84 (July 3, 2008)

Scott, you're insane

paulrulzdood (July 3, 2008)

Scott's drinking the cool aid, best song since "i'm dying tomorrow"??? You really think "do you wanna know?" is better than "if we never go inside"?? I call bullshit on that opinion!

and you can't be serious that this tops "good mourning"? i think some of us have been hanging out in offices that jock All Time Low and Cute is What We Aim For a bit much..

Lets just take a looksy

this could be love vs. calling all skeletons
both solid openers, but c'mon, "this could be love" is a fuckin classic with the chorus, the dark violent lyrics..."you cut off my fingers one by one!!!! one bbyyy one!!" is a lot better than "you gotta quit sneakin up on me" *handclaps!!**

We've had enough vs. help me
Ok, rippin punk song that namechecks the Misfits and bashes the radio, with classic Skiba screaming and shit verses "help me help me" queue the piano!! yea rockin pop song

In Vein vs. 100 Stories
fine, i'll call this a draw, both pretty much suck, one sounds like franz fredinand the other lacks a chorus worth a damn

continental vs. over and out
ok, a moving song about heroin verses a more metaphorical song about whatever, I'll give it a draw at best

all on black vs. I found away
i never cared much for all on black, but dark lyrics about crusifix's and sweet blasphemy verses disco beats, whatever, draw fine, at best

emma vs. do you wanna know?
if you think do you wanna know is better than Emma you're a dumb shit at best

Fatally yours vs. live young die fast
cornball ballad verses classic trio fast rocker...hmm. gonna have to go with the fast classic verses the cornball ballad

every thug needs a lady vs. love love kiss kiss
both are pretty corny but I can at least make it through every thug needs a lady without hitting skip

blue carolina/donner party vs. lost and rendered/ruin it
all pretty boring/filler, i'll give these all a draw

if we never go inside/blue in the face vs. into the night
no fucking contest here, Dan's best song since "i'm dying tomorrow" and a great acoustic with great lyrics closer trumps into the night

yea, with a song by song score of 6 superior tracks on bood mouring to 5 draws, good mourning is the better album. not one track do I find superior on "agony and irony".

and the people defending them, quit acting like the only arguments against this album is that its not punk enough or its overproduced, i'm not saying anything about that, i'm just going song by song and calling it like it is.


Scruffy (July 3, 2008)

My feelings on this album are somewhat mixed. I hated Crimson at first since it came right after the One Man Army split, which, I think, is the best thing they've ever done. But I grew to like it. My expectations weren't that high for this one, so I wasn't let down. It's a fun album, and "I Found Away", "Do YoU Wanna Know?" and "Ruin It" are amazing songs.
My main point is this: All of you saying Good Mourning was bad have to be deaf. There is no other explanation. That album was sweet, and I don't understand the problem everyone has with Matt's vocals. They're different because of his voice problems, yes, but I think they add something to that batch of songs. I hold that this band got continually better with every release until Crimson, and the last two haven't been that bad.
Of course, I'm probably talking to the blinded-by-nostalgia crowd who still think their first album is their best.

maverick (July 3, 2008)

It's better than Crimson and Good Mourning easily, and on par with From Here To Infirmary in that both albums have about 6 really strong songs and the rest is filler. The six strong songs on here just happen to be the first six tracks -- the only decent song on the B-side of the record is "Lost And Rendered." The other four, especially "Live Young, Die Fast" and "Love. Love. Kiss. Kiss." are just bland.

Also, "Do You Wanna Know?" is Dan's best song since "I'm Dying Tomorrow." Truth.


wyzo (July 3, 2008)

Besides the basically mumbling and irrelevant asides in this review and the fact that it was written by someone in the bands mom or dad, I take issue with teeny bop boy band type rock fantasy statements like -

"you can just tell that he's having a blast"

"you can almost sense the satisfaction Skiba feels from finally meeting his potential"

None of which contain mindsets that can be verified or contained within a musical document. They are fabrications. Don't know what emotional state they are in, don't know them personally, so why spin some ridiculous idolizing connection with your favorite band who you don't actually know. Good job, Matt Skiba! We totally like the same stuff and junk.

I liked Crimson very much for what the band has developed into. Much of the vagrant stuff is hit or miss. They went from writing great lyrics to "clever" lyrics, kind of like saying someone is big boned.

This is not a bad record, I'll give it some play, Dan can write a good tune no matter if he cowrote a song with Beyonce, he would find a melody that showed talent.

But this band stays together because its a good job. The only catch is unless like the reviewer you are still in the fantasy stage of your listening life, their is no reason to pay money to a group of strangers here to live the lives they can lead with that money for repeated batches of tunes. I'm sure they are decent folk, but that goes for many people and I don't feel obligated to give them money or have them give me money.

The world is not in short supply of musicians, artists, graphic designers or anyone else demanding money from others for basically subjective "work". Download and skip purchase. Listen a few times, move on, or take a nap. I'll give any subsequent records a listen too, see what they come up with.


Cyanotic (July 3, 2008)

Well, I like it. There's a couple of stinkers but hey, what can you do.

hubitcherkokov (July 2, 2008)

"Crimson" was a pretty decent album, but I thought what really hindered it were the vocal effects, especially on Dan's songs. Oh, and the inclusion of "Sadie" - boy, what a stinker! I'm listening to this record for the first time right now and I'm getting the same vibe on those vocals, which is frustrating because Matt and Dan have two of my favorite voices in punk rock.

Redscare (July 2, 2008)

"You know something has gone horribly wrong when Rolling Stone
has a more accurate review of this record than the org does.

And it definitely smells bad that Toby wrote this a day after it was released. Give me a break."

Holy wrong, Batman!

1: The review was posted the day of release, not one day after.

2: I've had the songs for weeks, as have many other reviewers. It's typical for industry boobs like me to get advance copies.

3: It's okay for Rolling Stone to post a review of the record on the day of the release, but not pn.o?

4: The users on RS.com gave the record a collective 4/5. Same as me. I dunno how else to say this, but, get fucked.

5: RS gave it a 7/10. That's actually a GLOWING review, considering they give a 10/10 about once a decade. No exaggeration.

polaris (July 2, 2008)

Thanks dude, keep drinking the kool-aid.

happynolucky (July 2, 2008)

This crap sucks. I totally agree with the dude who talked about alkaline trio 2.0

Why not just break up and start new bands?

you're an idiot

TommyPickles (July 2, 2008)

I will be going after lostandclowned.

MikeMurder (July 2, 2008)

Okay, okay, all of you are WAY out of control! First of all, Toby - nice review. I think this record is great. It's a great pop record. It also happens to be a great punk rock record. Everyone has seemingly forgotten that minimal production does not a punk album make. Bands have been making great "overproduced" punk albums since End of the Century for cryin' out loud! Where is it written that slick production and studio magic automatically un-punk a record? If one of you "punk rock kids" can show me some valid evidence of that fact then perhaps I will relinquish my argument but until then - please see exhibit A - the Ramones.
Anyway, I didn't get into the Trio until Infirmary so the older material, although obviously great, doesn't carry any particular nostalgia for me. Personally I think that they really came into their own with Good Mourning (my personal favorite) and continued an obvious progression with Crimson (also a totally solid album). The fact that a bunch of posters here find said albums horrible speaks to either their musical ignorance or their unwillingness to evolve with their favorite band. The same thing happened with Green Day. Everyone bemoaned their transition into more polished, mainstream success and what did they do? Made one of the best, most successfully ambitious punk rock albums of all time.
So seriously, cut the Trio a break! Sure this record isn't the best thing they've ever put out, and definitely no American Idiot, but it IS a well written, reasonably well put-together album and the production style fits the musical progression of the band perfectly, creating a beautiful atmosphere of dark pop with obvious punk overtones (Grant's frantic drumming and some sublimely abrasive buzz saw guitar sounds) that really bring it all together. There are moments of cinematic horror (akin to Crimson's spooky piano intro) such as the intro to Lost and Rendered and the whole of Ruin It, as well as the creepy Maiden-esque opening of I Found Away. This is a welcome addition to their sound if you ask me.
Calling All Skeletons and Help Me stand out as the albums most obvious, but also best, pop songs and because of this fact the record seems front-loaded. With more listens though, the album is actually very well paced and has great songs (and a few not so great) throughout. Over and Out, although a little heavy-handed, is actually a really great and touching ballad, In Vein is a very inventive non-traditional dark pop number as is I Found Away. Do You Want To Know and Love Love Kiss Kiss are the best Dan songs since Good Mourning. Lost and Rendered is a fine piece of creepy pop punk goodness. The only song I really don't dig is Live Young, Die Fast - which seems like a throwaway to me.
At the end of the day - a great pop/punk record. I think the Trio is continuing their evolution and it's fucking great!

iamthebat (July 2, 2008)

sorry trio, with gaslight leaking, you got KTFO'd

blanktapesemptybottles (July 2, 2008)

after listening it's good but clearly not their best, the bonus cd is worth it however just for the first song they even do acoustic versions with other person singing so that's pretty cool too

Instantdharma (July 2, 2008)

You know something has gone horribly wrong when Rolling Stone
has a more accurate review of this record than the org does.

And it definitely smells bad that Toby wrote this a day after it was released. Give me a break.

http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/21342109/revi ew/21470256/agony__irony

jacknife737 (July 2, 2008)

Holy shit this is catchy.

polaris (July 2, 2008)

Listened to it again, still sucks.

I'm a huge trio fan, but I haven't liked anything they've put out since fhti.

This crap sucks. I totally agree with the dude who talked about alkaline trio 2.0

Why not just break up and start new bands?

telegraphrocks (July 2, 2008)

If you don't like the record, then go listen to something else.
I really don't see why people just go on the internet to shit-talk.

Anyway, this is a good album, with 11 good songs. I think the only think this album is lacking is a "great" song. I thoroughly enjoy the entire album, but really can't pick one that's up and above the rest.

I saw their "exclusive" show in Chicago last night at the Lakeshore Theatre (as did Toby, who got his ass kicked by a dude in a Kermit suit), and I was certain they'd only be playing like, 5 or 6 songs, all new, and that was it.
Much to my surprise, and enjoyment, it was like a regular fucking show... 18 songs... entire catalog span.

Set was (in album order):
Goodbye Forever
I Lied My Face Off
Private Eye
Old School Reasons
This Could Be Love
Blue Carolina
Time To Waste
Mercy Me
Calling All Skeletons
Help Me
In Vein
I Found Away
Love Love Kiss
Lost And Rendered

fallingupwards84 (July 2, 2008)

why are people calling this their "major label debut".... Vagrant is a major, don't kid yourselves

jumptheshark (July 2, 2008)

This score will probably be higher in a week. About a week ago I would have given it a 5, maybe even less. But it's growing on me every time I check it out. "Calling All Skeletons" is great and I've come to like "Over and Out" and "I Found A Way" a lot more. I'm still having issues with "Love Love Kiss Kiss" though. The chorus is just a bit too obnoxious.

On another note, The '59 Sound KICKS ASS.

24HourPriapism (July 2, 2008)

score is for the phrase "scrotum hoagie".

RondoMondo (July 2, 2008)

A whole bunch of tears are being cried in this thread.

Punk posturing is becoming more of a burden than anything. Bands can't do anything outside of what people consider punk, so then you get a bunch of butthurt kids complaining that the songs aren't fast anymore or the production is too produced.

When will people learn to appreciate music for music.

Now with that said, I thought the first few tracks were the strongest and I thought that a lot of the melodies and hooks were pretty weak. I like it a lot more then Crimson and as much as Good Mourning, but it's no FHTI

misterrevenge (July 2, 2008)

3 is being generous-it's more like 2.5. There are some good songs here, but most of the choruses are sooo bad I cant bring myself to listen to them.

I can totally get into the verses, but I skip to the next track before I have to hear shit like, Love Love kiss kiss, I found Away, Believe in you tonight, Live fast die young and a couple others that are just bad.

And Derek really is turning into the Travis Barker of A3. No, not in the sense that he's an egomaniac, but it the sense that he is waaaay to talented for what his band writes. THis review says his drums sound thunderous and huge. I say they sound incredibly out of place and the album as a whole would sound better if he stopped trying to be so fancy. Leave the high hats alone man, start a ska side band to show off your incredible drumming skills if youre getting bored. Don't butcher the trios shit even more than it is already with disco beats.

It's an alright album, no where near 4 stars though...

14theroad (July 2, 2008)

The album? I don't know. Only heard "Help Me" and it sounded ok. The band? The reason I will never buy or listen to this album. And before I get shit on but fan boys: This was my favorite band for years, I'm a bloodpact member (unfortunately) since back when it came with the Halloween 7". I'm not shouting sellout, because that's too easy. I'm calling bullshit because they've said in the past that what they've become today is something they'd never be. Believe in something bigger than yourselves for once. They have little kids making their shoes for fuck's sake.

LORDSHREDDER (July 2, 2008)

Its definitely growing on me. Its not their best worst, but its not crap either. Its just more one dimensional than previously. The auto-tune on the vocals is outlandish though. I think Good Mourning is the worst thing they've ever done. It sounded like Matt Skiba has strep throat while laying down vocals.

AlexCanteen (July 2, 2008)

Not the disaster it could have been. This album is definitely a grower- I like it more with each spin. It is quite different from their older work. While I for one wish for liquor soaked anthems forever, it's clear that the Trio have grown up some.
What I like about it, though, is the popiness of the album. It has an almost danceability to it, and this comes from someone who has no idea at all about dancing.


grafixx (July 2, 2008)

i'd rate this album at about a c or c . beats the hell out of crimson.

it starts off great with calling all skeletons. i was honestly worried about the record when i saw the tracklist a month or so ago. it looked as though they were still trying to pull off that neo-goth tragic bullshit they leaned on for a while.

i won't say it knocked my socks off, but it's not the scrotum hoagie people are making it out to be.

SonnySix (July 2, 2008)

Good review, I don't think all the defense is necessary though. I thought Crimson was kind of crappy and I really like this record. In Vein is a great song.

The stars are for the SUNSET PUUUUUUUNX!!!!

Neill_cawley (July 2, 2008)

*best second major label cd

Neill_cawley (July 2, 2008)

While it's not one of my favorite Bad Religion cds, Stranger Than Fiction is a much better major label debut than this or any other mentioned.

The Gray Race is definitely the second best major label cd.

disconnected (July 2, 2008)

It's actually a very good record once you actually listen to it a few times.

Alkaline Trio are one of the most honest bands out there and the record delivers in my books

westd (July 2, 2008)

Far better than Crimson. I like this album. Their sound has changed slightly, but it's still the Trio.

Wait until you hear the new gaslight anthem--sucks balls.

Chillin219 (July 2, 2008)

sorry, but this is just awful. no way it deserves a 4/5; honestly, it doesn't even deserve a 4/10. there are a couple of listenable tracks, and the rest of the album proceeds to be either something that's boring enough to put you to sleep, or something you wish you could sleep through so you wouldn't have to consciously hear it.

bikeage (July 2, 2008)

come on. don't act like this doesn't suck. is this rolling stone or punk news?

bcorgansmp (July 2, 2008)

after reading this review i had to sit down and give it another listen. its still a disgrace. I had the same reaction that alex does to the ninth symphony

ashtraymonument (July 2, 2008)

This album started out great, i really like the first 3-4 songs, but then it just starts going downhill faster and faster. Love Love Kiss Kiss and Live Young, Die Fast are horribly cheesy. The rest of the album, even the ones with better lyrics, are just dragged down by boring music. Still, I like it better than Crimson....

paulrulzdood (July 2, 2008)

yea, "sing the sorrow", "indestructable" and "new wave" are all better than this album.


i-type-poorly (July 2, 2008)

First four songs are good, the rest if garbage. "Love, Love, Kiss, Kiss" is one of the worst things I have ever heard. It sounds like something by Cyndi Lauper.

I'm just gonna pretend Good Mourning was their last album.

Sando (July 2, 2008)

A better debut then Sing the Sorrow??...wouldn't say that

GlamBalam (July 2, 2008)

Awesome record.

flowerfeeder (July 2, 2008)

I agree pretty much 100% with the review.

These are great SONGS. They may not be the coolest "punk" songs for "the kids," but they are freaking great songs. Who cares about being "punk" anyway that is over 30 years old? These guys were actually able via maturity to put aside all that "can't do that, is that punk enough" pretense this time and recorded the best sounding album possible. This major label debut I think is ironically their most honest album yet as a result. Hell, if someone gave my band this caliber of a producer and studio, I'd want to take full advantage of it as well.

The (over)production is really refreshing this time, in my opinion. I can feel the quick, crisp, yet solid thud of the bass drum inside my chest when I crank this in the car. Love that.

Do You Wanna Know is such a great tune.

wallofyouth (July 2, 2008)

score is for warbrain and only for warbrain

Apeman_On_The_Moon (July 2, 2008)

I have found that I appreciate a couple of the songs more, after I hear their acoustic versions. Really makes me think the songs could be better if there wasn't so much production on them. But still, it's a decent record. It is by no means their best, but it's an ok summer listen.

thatguyfromthatband (July 2, 2008)

hopefully this will be thier "Ignorance Is Bliss", you know relize they strayed from "their" sound.

allon (July 2, 2008)

this review is too long for my attention span, but i get the point. it's not their best, but the trio is yet to release anything that i would call "bad". i liked matt's songs a lot more than dan's, and overall this record seems a bunch more positive than just about all their previous material. the fact they're now on a major label doesn't appear to have changed much at all. overall, i approve. good for them.

inanis (July 2, 2008)

I wanted to like this. Really, really badly. Some of it is OK. Some of it - minus the over production - actually sounds like it could have been on an older release. But most of it is exceptionally bad. I don't know who told Dan it would be a good idea to sing with a falsetto voice on "Do You Want to Know" - which frankly wouldn't have been half bad had he sung in his normal voice - but I can't believe they played that back was though it was good.

The one saving grace for this was the bonus disk (with the "Deluxe" version). I can't recall any album benefiting more from including stripped down acoustic versions. It makes songs that I considered only marginally acceptable actually enjoyable to listen to. I wish this whole cd was acoustic, it would have been wonderful.

leecorsoisapenis (July 2, 2008)

If this had come out when I was in high school instead of Goddamnit, I don't think I would have met any girls at all. This shit is weak. It all sounds the same...like they're chewing on some sweaty balls. Someone find Glenn please.


cuapunkradio (July 2, 2008)

Toby, C'mon man! Dan's songs on this record are average at best. The first four songs gave me hope but the remaining ones were so goddamn-awful. I don't care about the production (although skiba's vocals are cringe-worthingly auto-tuned to the max), it's all about the songs and they really missed on this one. The lyrics are terrible as compared to the ones on Infirmiry (Toby, I agree it is definetly a classic and their best).

Also, I question why close or semi-close friends of the band are allowed to post reviews of said bands on PN. Not Toby's fault, as this has happened many times in the past... EDITORS please take note of this.

paulrulzdood (July 2, 2008)

the album is ok, its not a shit sandwich but it pales in comparison to most of their back catalog.

the problem with the Trio is that they made their bread and butter on early albums with their lyrics, which typically covered depression, alchoholism, breakups, nostalgia and other dark themes. So what happens when you're no longer depressed, no longer an alchoholic, married, having kids?

You have the alkaline trio v.2.0, they've turned 30, they've cleaned up and they're trying to transistion from raw 20-something punk band with dark lyrics to more mature, radio-rock/broad audience music with more metaphorical and vague lyrics that are far less autobiographical, and when they try to write the "alcholic depression" stuff (see: love love kiss kiss), it comes off as trite and hollow, at least to me. i find Dan to be a bit more believeable on "maybe i'll catch fire" and "take lots with alchohol" than on "love love kiss kiss".

As for the album, much like Crimson it is overproduced, just differently overproduced. Crimson was all about the compression and additional instruments and layers, this is more about samples and a thick coat of gloss. The fast punk tunes are almost completely absent, instead they now do more mid-tempo stuff and experiment.

It's not bad overall, I like the verses to "help me" a lot, "calling all skeletons" is mostly pretty great, "I found away" has a brilliant anthemic chorus (almost ruined by too many effects though) and "live young die fast" is a pretty solid ballad, one of the better in their recent years (though complete shite compared to "sadie" or "radio" or even "you're dead")

The Dan songs are all pretty bad, thank God they included "do you wanna know" at the last minute, its tame and wussy, but better than the Franz Fredinand sounding "in vein" or the trite "love love kiss kiss" and the 4th song he does near the end is completely forgettable.

Considering they took longer to put this out than any prior release, I was expecting a bit more from them. its just pretty average overall.


baseball (July 2, 2008)

I'm going to have to agree with Colin here. This starts and then before I even realize it, it's over. No variety at all. This score reflects the first 3 tracks, which are pretty good pop songs. Songs like "Live Young, Die Fast" and "Love Love, Kiss Kiss" are completely cringe worthy.

And come on, there's some good lyrics, but this isn't even close to what the band has written in the past.

McFlynnTHM (July 2, 2008)

It's grown on me. Better than Crimson and Good Mourning, but not awesome. Might pick up the vinyl, we'll see.

versus_god (July 2, 2008)

Not great.

arianeiseatingadanish (July 2, 2008)

Love Love Kiss Kiss was weird, lyrically. Every lyric in that song is either brilliant or stupid. From the example given, I relaly like those first two lines, the sencond two are ridiculous.

I haven't listened to this album enough to judge yet, but... it doesn't seem great. I liked Crimson, but not enough that I never wanted them to return to the old sound.

holy_balls (July 2, 2008)

Fanboy here just giving it a 10. I love this band to death. They can do no wrong in my eys.

TD99 (July 2, 2008)

The songs on the album are good, but as an album, I feel like it drags. I miss the faster beats. But that's just me.

Adlai_E_Stevenson (July 2, 2008)

This album is their Don't Tell a Soul.

xkidxdynamitex (July 2, 2008)

just saw them for free yesterday. it was fun. but hot.
this record is slowly growing on me. its good. not the best record of the year so far and no where near the best ALK3 record (maybe i'll catch fire earns that in my opinion) but it is good.

FuckYouOiOiOi (July 2, 2008)

i saw em tonight in a small venue with only about 300 or less people.

pretty good show.

AnotherBoringStory (July 2, 2008)

This has grown on me a lot. I'd rank it way above Crimson and quite a bit above Good Mourning. It's no Goddammit, but it definitely feels like a return to form in a lot of ways.

polaris (July 2, 2008)

The trio have been putting out shitty records since good mourning, and this is no different.

This isn't the same band that wrote goodbye forever...what did they do to those guys?

randomness (July 2, 2008)

Was there ever any doubt that this band would eventually blow up? If a band is great, it will eventually find mainstream success. Its happed before and it will happen again (Gaslight Anthem - mark my words). But regardless of whether my 12 year old cousins start listening to Alkaline Trio, it doesn't take away from the fact that they are a great band and have made some of the genre's most praised albums.

BTW - Goddamnit > From Here To Infirmary

Redscare (July 2, 2008)

"And so begins Toby's attempts to get Alkaline Trio to take some Red Scare bands on tour.

Har. I state my reasons for liking the record. If you have an argument to make, make it. Otherwise, go back to defending Against Me.

truebeliever (July 1, 2008)

Score is for the awesome package it came in (at least for the deluxe edition).

The cd is pretty good too...

joeydevil (July 1, 2008)

Nice review. I like the album better than Crimson and it isn't even close.

blip (July 1, 2008)

From Here to Infirmary is probably their best album, and this is without a doubt their worst.

i think that unless you're friends with the band or can somehow sympathize with their choices, punk kids have pretty good bullshit detectors. the mainstream may eat this up, but those who have loved the band for a long time will know that this shouldn't even be called Alkaline Trio, just like "Cut the Crap" shouldn't have been called The Clash.

happynolucky (July 1, 2008)

this score is for the packaging on the deluxe edition and the bonus tracks. very nice

cronophrog (July 1, 2008)

Better than Crimson. Still hasn't done anything to blow up my skirt though.

jamespastepunk (July 1, 2008)


From Here to Infirmary is many things. A 10/10 is not one of them.

happynolucky (July 1, 2008)

really enjoying this so far, its different but i like it.

punk_rawk_show (July 1, 2008)

I had pretty much lost all interest in Alk 3 and thought i had forever.

But suprisingly this album has brought all my interest back, whether it has lasting value, we will see

thedude (July 1, 2008)

i agree with the person below who said: I hate that "you guys just don't like it because it's on a major" excuse gets thrown around so much on the internet.

it's as if you're doing the same exact thing that people who immediately write it off for being on a major, but in the opposite direction. did all of us really get into punk rock because we liked polished, generic, cookie-cutter rock? i always thought we came to this genre for relief from that sort of thing.

freaky003 (July 1, 2008)

This record is amazing. people are retarded.

Neill_cawley (July 1, 2008)

From Here to Infirmary is my favorite too, but I don't like this one at all. Weird.

ffwoodycock (July 1, 2008)

I really don't like the mentality of people who say an album sucks just because they think it's going to before it's released but, i don't want to say it's a good album just to spite them. i really didn't enjoy this album at all.

blanktapesemptybottles (July 1, 2008)

does anyone else find that when people hate a record especially before it's even out, it makes you like it better?

blanktapesemptybottles (July 1, 2008)

actually from the quick breeze through the myspace it sounds really decent

blanktapesemptybottles (July 1, 2008)

generic "I hate the album because everyone else on the internet hated it before it came out" comment

banal242 (July 1, 2008)

It's a bit of a grower for me. Some tracks are bland but overall the album is decent.

colin (July 1, 2008)

your review is well-written, i just have to disagree on just about every count. i've been a fan of the trio through thick and thin and even enjoyed crimson a bit (at least more than good mourning).

but this is just bad. it's monotonous and never changes pace. what you said about my favorite songs being on this record and sounding different, for one, yes, they would because "bleeder" isn't polished enough to see your reflection in. and there's something about that unpolished nature that gives it a bit more honesty, when voices crack and scratch.

this record has no pacing. it just starts and keeps going at the same beat without any sort of change up; i was criticized for my enjoyment of the latest jimmy eat world album, but at least that record had enough pop sensibility to change up sounds and keep the listener intrigued. this is just boring.

davesanta01 (July 1, 2008)

I'm enjoying this. I know that's no shock, but I went in thinking it would be a disaster. I was actually surprised by how well it turned out and think these songs would come off very well in a live setting. It's a good review of a solid album.

scientistrock (July 1, 2008)

Before the org goes after lostandclowned for his obviously mistaken statement, he broke his wrist and must be under the influence of heavy painkillers, because no person of sound mind would say what he said.

branden (July 1, 2008)

it didnt sound so bad at first, but the more i try to listen to it, it just gets worse. and the production gives me a headache. live young, love love, help me, and lost and rendered are totally embarassing to listen to.

and about the lyrics...come on, dude. they rhyme "secret" with "regret" on one song.

lostandclowned (July 1, 2008)

tcats kicks the shit out of goddamnit for sure.

scientistrock (July 1, 2008)

Good review, and just about where I stand on this album. JUST ABOUT.

bryne (July 1, 2008)

Good review.

I'm still not sold on this record, though. It's just...bland.

blip (July 1, 2008)

anti-flag's major label debut was MUCH better.

timorous_me (July 1, 2008)

I hate that "you guys just don't like it because it's on a major" excuse gets thrown around so much on the internet. I love the Trio, and I like a few songs on here, but it is really a sub par record and it would be no matter what label it's on.

Dante3000 (July 1, 2008)

And so begins Toby's attempts to get Alkaline Trio to take some Red Scare bands on tour.

elephantdwarf (July 1, 2008)

those lyrics are AWFUL.

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