Set Your Goals - This Will Be the Death of Us (Cover Artwork)

Set Your Goals

Set Your Goals: This Will Be the Death of UsThis Will Be the Death of Us (2009)
Epitaph Records

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:

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

So, uh, is now a bad time to dump on Set Your Goals? Sure, Mutiny! was a kick-ass pop-punk/hardcore mash-up, stuffed with positive vibes and pirate references. And the group's emancipation troubles with former label Eulogy Recordings -- in which the band had to buy-out their own contract for a rumor.
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So, uh, is now a bad time to dump on Set Your Goals? Sure, Mutiny! was a kick-ass pop-punk/hardcore mash-up, stuffed with positive vibes and pirate references. And the group's emancipation troubles with former label Eulogy Recordings -- in which the band had to buy-out their own contract for a rumored $150,000 -- certainly casts Set Your Goals as hungry underdogs (and makes new album title This Will Be the Death of Us sound morbidly prophetic). But wipe away the good old days of summer `06 and the sad buy-out backstory, and all that's left is a merely decent pop-punk record.

Like many before them, Set Your Goals falters through a sophomore slump on This Will Be the Death of Us. It's by no means a bad record; "The Few That Remain" and "The Fallen‚?¶" are both fist-pumping anthems in the same vein as "Flight of the Navigator" and "An Old Book Misread," albeit with better, shinier production. In fact, on paper/computer screen, Death seems like it should be the better album. Drummer Michael Ambrose comes off steadier and more assured than ever before. The guitars are fuller. And co-vocalists Matt Wilson and Jordan Brown sound less Auto-Tuned, which shouldn't be surprising coming from Epitaph Records.

And yet, for all its musical improvements, the record slips into homogeneity. There are roughly 1,300 guest vocalists on this g.d. album, and only one, Paramore's Hayley Williams, stands out. Reasons for her highlighted performance vary; she's the only gal at this weenie roast, but she's also got arguably the best pipes too. And while duders like Chad Gilbert (New Found Glory / International Superheroes of Hardcore / ex-Shai Hulud, in case you forgot), John Gula (Turmoil) and Vinnie Caruana (I Am the Avalanche / ex-the Movielife) interchangeably slip in and out, Williams get her own introduction on "The Few That Remain." "Whoa, whoa, guys, um, is it cool if I get in on this here?" she asks, to which the fellows respond with a hearty, gender-mangling "Dude, go for it!" And then much rocking is enjoyed.

There are some good ideas spread around, but the overall feeling I get listening to This Will Be the Death of Us is disappointment. Too many of the early songs blur together. Given that Mutiny!'s optimism seems to have faded, maybe that's not such a bad thing. Four Year Strong-esque tour diary "Summer Jam" stands out as a fun ode to the open road, and "The Fallen‚?¶" and "The Few That Remain" are two honest-to-gosh catchy numbers placed back-to-back. But those good vibes are killed soon after by "Gaia Bleeds (Make Way for Man)," a laughable attempt at more hardcore-oriented songwriting. By this point, the record is almost over anyway, so while "Flawed Methods of Persecution & Punishment" boasts a jumble of catchy sections, it doesn't really sharpen Death's dull blades.

At the same time, though, This Will Be the Death of Us isn't exactly an epic failure. None of the 12 tracks will incite a riot, and I suspect a good number of fans might be satiated by the sound quality. If nothing else, it's an excuse to tour. Chalk it up to growing pains, maybe. Set Your Goals' members have grown as musicians, but they're still developing as songwriters.


People who liked this also liked:
A Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideStrung Out - Agents of the UndergroundA Wilhelm Scream - Mute PrintThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Polar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearPolar Bear Club - Chasing HamburgRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

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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.
boy_eats_world (July 15, 2010)

I hate everything about this album except for "The Fallen". When I listen to SYG, I don't wanna hear a double kick breakdown or the girl from Paramore on ANY part of the album. It's really lame how they bring her into the track too... "Hey can I get in on this? Hell yea!" What the hell? But then again, I wasn't really expecting them to top Mutiny. I'd trade this album for a new Daggermouth album any day.

projektidiot (September 8, 2009)

I agree with Scruffy's comment 100%. Second best album of the year so far behind Propagandhi, formerly a guilty pleasure now legitimately like them, etc. etc.

Alien (August 14, 2009)

I think this is a great poppunk record

givemeamuseumandillfillit (August 13, 2009)

Wow, opinons are all across the board on this one.. Here's mine:
Mutiny - 8.5/10
This one 2.5/10.

They have no idea what they're doing on this record. I liked Mutiny because of how they incorporated so many parts into the same song while somehow not falling into the gap of a uncohesive mess, whereas this record clearly represents a single musical idea per track.. which wouldn't be bad in most cases but it was the #1 thing they had going on so fucking that up just makes for a very "meh" record that I don't really care if I'm ever going to hear again. They've also taken a big step back lyrically, which speaks for itself seeing as Mutiny was a cheeseball fest to infinity.

There's one song with a nice, mellow riff (that of course gets beaten to the ground over the course of the song..) and the bridge of The Fallen is great, that's all this record has to offer me.

budapesthardcore (August 13, 2009)

a decent pop-punk record, and that's a big step back from Mutiny.

even the worst tracks on Mutiny have their moment, reminding me of Kid Dynamite, each song has that unexpectedly great 20 seconds that worth listening to the whole.

SYG claimed that the new album was to be more structured. now it is clear that it meant cliché song structures with built-in gang vocals in choruses. songs with no peaks.

a huge disappointment.

friokir (August 13, 2009)

better than mutiny! which I couldn't stand at all.

onegirlarmy (August 13, 2009)

"Massive exaggeration on the number of guest vocalists, g.d., lol girl singer, duders, epic failure? This shit reads like something my little brother would write.

You also talked about how "too many of the early songs blur together" (pretty sure the first two tracks are meant to) but then state the fourth song stands out and the sixth song is an "honest-to-gosh catchy number". So what the fuck are you trying to say? Tracks 3 and 5 sound too similar? (They don't.)

They took Mutiny, stepped up the song writing and production, and made this album. I don't see how anyone could possibly have issues with this album but not Mutiny."

A fucking men. It seems like people loved Mutiny and hate this, but Mutiny was the biggest cheesefest of 2006. I honestly and truly think this was the record they should have released after Reset. They've regained some of the edge they had before.

Also, everyone's talking shit on Haley Williams' rapping part, I was expecting it to be terrible. At first, it's funny, but then the more you listen you find it actually does flow well with the song, oddly enough, as do her singing parts (and I have never actually heard a Paramore song, at least not one that I can place in my head). I don't care if I'm in the minority in thinking so, this album is great.

TiNours (August 12, 2009)

I simply love that album. Best summer pop album for me!
A few missteps but great overall.

On the first spin, I knew I had to listen to it 'til the last track. I was waiting for something epic like Echoes. I wasn't dissapointed with "Our Ethos" at all, especially that bridge part.

ashtraymonument (August 12, 2009)

their goal must have been to fail

thetakeover (August 12, 2009)

This gets better every time I listen. Better than Mutiny! IMO, and I loved Mutiny! Plus, the Haley Williams thing is great, I don't know what you guys are talking about. It's not really "rapping" at all, it flows well with the song. And it's fucking hot. So there. The songwriting has really been stepped up, and they've lost the Tom DeLonge impressions. The riffs are great too. Alright, enough ranting.

martinNZ09 (August 12, 2009)

I really dig this album

Quicksand (August 12, 2009)

Massive exaggeration on the number of guest vocalists, g.d., lol girl singer, duders, epic failure? This shit reads like something my little brother would write.

You also talked about how "too many of the early songs blur together" (pretty sure the first two tracks are meant to) but then state the fourth song stands out and the sixth song is an "honest-to-gosh catchy number". So what the fuck are you trying to say? Tracks 3 and 5 sound too similar? (They don't.)

They took Mutiny, stepped up the song writing and production, and made this album. I don't see how anyone could possibly have issues with this album but not Mutiny.

insinceredave (August 12, 2009)

"On a final note I'd just like to say this is probably one of the best things Epitaph has released in a while"

Disagree, I thought Common Existence by Thursday was a cracking album and much better than this.

shitsfucked (August 12, 2009)

i little harsh on the review

Bowen (August 12, 2009)

I like this album alright, but several times I've got through the first song with the Vinnie cameo and then switched over to listening to the Movielife.

paulrulzdood (August 12, 2009)

I agree with the review 100%, certainly a sophmore slump, but not a bad record.

too many guest spots, the album flows as poorly if not more poorly than "mutiny!" did (i mean, a 45 second skit/intro as track 2 to introduce track 3? who thought this was a good idea? then another minute-long pointless acoustic instrumental as track 11?) these "tracks" just seem like obvious filler to mask the fact that this is really a 10-song album that took 3 years to release.

of those 10 songs, half of them are mediocre. Sure, "Summer Jam" and "the Fallen" come close to reaching the anthemic heights of "this very moment" and "mutiny!" from their last record, but for those tracks, you have forgettable filler tracks like "flawed methods of persecution & punishment" (a pop-punk band really has to tackle this topic on a feel-good Summer pop punk album?) or "equals", just a mediocre song and when you only have 10 real songs on the album, even just one or two duds pulls the album down into mediocre territory.

now there are some successes. in addition to the aforementioned catchy anthems "summer jam" and "the fallen", the band succeeds in making their heaviest song to date with "gaia bleeds" and even if it is a bit over-dramatic, i must agree with the message overall. They also succeeded in making their most melodic song to date in "like you to me", and even if the voiceover at the end almost ruins the song with it's cheesiness, the rest of the song up to that point is very well done melodic-pop-punk and shows their vocals at thier strongest on the album and possibly to date.

P.S. the haley cameo is super corny and ruins another otherwise great song "the few that remain".

nate_derby (August 12, 2009)

It's just alright. It's a good example of taking way too long in the studio and not throwing out enough bad ideas. I can guarantee I would never let a record get out of hand like this one.

LeightonESmith (August 12, 2009)

and for the record I love the Hayley bit.
So catchy and random. It works for me.
I get how all the purists might feel a bit violated.

LeightonESmith (August 12, 2009)

I actually really liked this!
Sure Mutiny was a hard act to follow but I prefer this.
No mention about the killer closing track.....
The score given for this seems like an attempt to get out of the typical 3.5 star habit most of the reviews on here seem to fall into.

Wesley_Snipes (August 12, 2009)

Looks like they didn't set their goals properly.

FAIL !!!!

moneenerd (August 12, 2009)

This album is the biggest upset of 2009. What a terrible record.

Where MUTINY! was a solid 9 out of 10 for me, This Will be The Death Of Us is a 4.

Haley Williams? REALLY?! Rapping?!

This album shows every indication that they have no idea what theyre doing as a band and where theyre going. Check out the liner notes of the album to see all the talk about how they almost broke up.

crashtester (August 11, 2009)

TERRIBLE REVIEW, this record is ten times the record Mutiny ever was and is my record of 2009(We will see if the Swellers can top it) but my god, bands are not making this quality of Skate/pop punk anymore which makes this record so damn special. Summer jam is pretty much the only bad song and its not even that bad.

cherrycolarain (August 11, 2009)

I agree with the some of the post down there, "Look Closer" is an absolutely killer track. Over all it's a great listen... The two fillerish songs are a bit much though, I think Arrival Notes and With Hoffman Lenses didn't really NEED to be in the album... at least not in my opinion. Gaia Bleeds isn't bad at all, specially when it speeds up. On a final note I'd just like to say this is probably one of the best things Epitaph has released in a while.

skolarx (August 11, 2009)

the williams thing is almost enough to ruin that song, which is by far the best on the album.

hearing the merch guy for fireworks say something to the effect of "i'm trying to get my slushie on dawg" is pretty funny

punkinohio (August 11, 2009)

This cd is exactly what you should have been expecting if you listened to syg at all. I don't understand how anybody can be suprised or disappointed buy this album. People criticize this record for the same reasons they praise "mutiny". I love them both, but I thought "mutiny" was cheesy and sounded like shit. This cd is easily their best.

mclz (August 11, 2009)

this band blew, they blow now, and they will always blow in the future

tenwestchaser (August 11, 2009)

"This album is built like a steakhouse, but she handles like a Bistro. "

Oh man I think I literally "LOL"ed for the first time at reading somebodys comments. Good lord, 4 new movies just weren't enough.

Problematiclogic (August 11, 2009)

That Hayley Williams intro things sounds horrible enough to ensure that I never decide to listen to this band/ album. Thanks for the heads up!

Jay88 (August 11, 2009)

Before listening to this album everyone should have already assumed it would never be as good as Mutiny! although for it to be this disappointing was unforeseen.

Luckily for me Shai Hulud That Within Blood Ill-Tempered was the next CD on my ipod and my day improved greatly.

skeetopunk01 (August 11, 2009)

I'm with Scruffy on this one. I had their first EP and was expecting big things for Mutiny. Unfortunately that album was freakin terrible and I stopped listening to this band. I heard a few songs off the new album and decided to buy it and I'm glad I did. That chick from Paramore was a bad idea, but I can overlook that part of the album. Pretty solid release.

sweetfracture (August 11, 2009)

I like this album and was a big fan of "Mutiny!" Its fun, poppy hardcore.

thatsyouth (August 11, 2009)

Bored to death with this album. But I will go re-listen to those two songs that I seem to have overlooked. Really digged Mutiny! Really really did. I agree 100% with this review.

HumanUnkind (August 11, 2009)

This is really shallow but i heard the haley williams bit, died a little inside and now don't really feel up to listening to the rest of the album. This makes me sad since mutiny was such a big album for me when i first heard it.

ahopeagainsthope (August 11, 2009)

Haley Williams' intro to her guest spot killed the album for me. I just can't take it seriously. It's all I remember about the album, leaving me with no desire to listen to it again.

danperrone (August 11, 2009)

i really don't think this album is very good...and i loved mutiny. "the fallen" is clearly the best track they've ever done, but nothing else on here comes close.

no one mentions the hilariously lame spoken outro to "like you to me"? that song is pretty good until that part...but oh man, it ruins the song.

of course the hayley williams rap is horrible, and the intro riff of the title track sounds like freaking NOFX.

overall, a very forgettable album.

ZappBrannigan (August 11, 2009)

This album is built like a steakhouse, but she handles like a Bistro.

But for content, Gaia Bleeds is one of the better songs, you failed to mention Look Closer being fantastic, and yes, Hayley's introduction is absolutely terrible every time. The real problem is that tracks 3-8 are much stronger than the rest of the album.

Also, didn't someone point out long ago that Mutiny! only references pirates a couple times? Other than the cover art and a handful of lines in "Dead Men" and "Mutiny!", there's nary a mention of the pirate life.

thetakeover (August 11, 2009)

Score is for laserguidedbygod's comment.

Also, this album rules hard. A few missteps, but all in all, I still enjoy it a lot.

messyblumpkin (August 11, 2009)

really fun album. "summer jam" and "the fallen..." are sweet joints.

HeresLookinAtYou (August 11, 2009)

Agreed w/ the review.

Dante3000 (August 11, 2009)

All 24 dudes in the band are bummed on this review.

laserguidedbygod (August 11, 2009)

Does this band still sound like Bane if Bane fucked an ice cream cake?

jo_punk_promoter (August 11, 2009)

I disagree with you there. I think it's a strong follow up, at first i wasnt sure about it but after a few spin i can saw that i like it as much as mutiny.

tenwestchaser (August 11, 2009)

I, also, agree with this review 100%

thus_spoke_sean (August 11, 2009)

I thought Hayley's introduction/hardcore vocals were nothing short of embarrassing. once she started JUST singing it's all good though.

R3vengeTherapy (August 11, 2009)

I think I feel the way a lot of people do, it has it's moments for sure, but there is some stuff that doesn't do it for me.

"Gaia Bleeds" is a fucking horrendously bad track. Why even put it on there?

inagreendase (August 11, 2009)

Yet its getting shit on critically so much.

Really...? What reviews are you reading?

-Absolutepunk: 87/100
-Alternative Press: 4.5/5
-Strange Glue: 8/10
-Decoy: 5/5
-Ultimate Guitar: 9/10
-Sputnik Music: 3.5/5
-Altsounds.com: positive

I like this album in spots, a bit cheesy in others.

wearestillalive (August 11, 2009)

Absolutely 100% agree with this review, though I would probably have given it a higher score.

insinceredave (August 11, 2009)

I gotta admit i was disappointed. I Mutiny was great fun, but this is a little meh.

That said 'Summer Jam' rules

swiftjustice (August 11, 2009)

I love this cd

SydBarrett420 (August 11, 2009)

Score is for the song with the Paramore chick. I was suprised how much I enjoyed it, she brings good energy and as mentioned a good voice.

fattony (August 11, 2009)

Only listened to it once so far, but there wasn't anything that grabbed me on that first listen. Sophomore slump indeed.

robes (August 11, 2009)

I fucking love this album. and for the record, I like Gaia Bleeds

splendidtune (August 11, 2009)

This album is better than the new Propagandhi. Seriously.

oldpunkerforever (August 11, 2009)

jonnyrawker, album of the summer??, come on now, eeeeaaasssyyy now-oldpunker-

timorous_me (August 11, 2009)

That song with Haley Williams rapping is the one of the worst songs I've heard this year. She does have a great voice, but rapping? Blech.

scruffy (August 11, 2009)

I even love Gaia Bleeds. Then again, it's probably because it reminds me so much of later era Snapcase.

american_666_jesus (August 11, 2009)

I did forget Chad Gilbert was in Shai Halud.

red_eye_inc (August 11, 2009)

I hate the way this record sounds, the guitars sound like a midi trigger. The Haley Williams rap is pretty bad.

jonnyrawker (August 11, 2009)

Amazing record! i preferred this over Mutiny! So shoot me. Definitely the album of the summer. Yet its getting shit on critically so much. Regardless, im stoked on this record and if you like fast punk rock youll like this.

mikexdude (August 11, 2009)

I disagree. This record is pretty fucking awesome; they really found their own sound away from the A Day to Remember bs. ‚??Gaia Bleeds (Make Way for Man)" is atrocious though. Like really, really bad. But you can't win them all.

I don't like as much as Mutiny, but this is what Set Your Goals needed.

scruffy (August 11, 2009)

This review is totally the opposite of my opinion. I thought all their previous work was terribly boring, save for the first song on Mutiny. I got this on a whim, expecting it to be terrible, and instead found my second favorite album of the year so far (after Supporting Caste). Each of these songs stands out completely, the lyrics alternate between good and so-bad-the-band-knows-it, and the music makes me feel like I'm in high school and just got NFG's self-titled. It started out guilty pleasure, but I Iove this album completely now. And the musicianship is excellent. The songs turn on a dime, and every second keeps me interested, dissecting the vagaries of each song.
Seriously, check this album out. I'm willing to be the one laughed at for liking a SYG album this much, but the only thing that's knocked this out of my rotation for even half an hour in the last month has been either Bad Religion or my wife saying, "I'm not listening to Set Your Goals AGAIN."

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