Count The Stars - Never Be Taken Alive (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Count The Stars

Never Be Taken Alive (2003)


Sensitive rock is a crime. What's that? How does one know if an aural assault of sensitive rock has taken place? Breathe, don't panic, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was the subject matter saturated in relationships, good and/or bad?
  • Did the tempo stay at a medium pace perfect for ignoring?
  • Did the musicians responsible for your pain look like the cool kids at church camp?
  • Can the song titles be found on a country record?
  • Did the vocals sound like a child throwing a tantrum?
    I'm sorry, but if you checked off all of the above then you have been victimized by sensitive rock. Please seek something dangerous and turn it up to eleven, repeat until ears begin to ring or polished-heartbreak-nausea is forgotten. After being consoled by Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins, the after taste of mediocre music is gone and my belief in rock and roll integrity born again (I strongly suggest these two artists should you find yourself cornered).

    To avoid being victimized, disregard "Never Be Taken Alive," a truly mediocre debut album by a less than mediocre band. Count the Stars are just another forgettable band of whiny musicians who would rather spew unimpressive clichés than get their hands dirty and make some worthwhile music. Song titles cover the sensitive spectrum from "Brand New Skin" all the way to "All Good Things," with some "Better Off Alone" and "Pictures" in between. The most vomitous moment on the record you ask? "Taking it all Back", a sickly-sweet tune that will most likely become the graduation song for at least a handful of teenagers this summer. Chief songwriter Chris Kasarjian (vocals, guitar) reaches down into his dark and insecure moments for inspiration that result in predictable and somewhat laughable lyrics such as, "And if there's more where that came from/I'd hope to find out someday/Because every breath I take feels like I'm breathing for two/I only feel for you" from "Right Behind Me". Unfortunately this record goes on in this fashion for a brutal thirty-four minutes that refuses to leave the room even after the stereo has been kicked over.

    How is a band like Count the Stars taken seriously? How can this band take themselves seriously? An important question to ask oneself, for rock and roll should not be boring; it can be bad, but not boring. Any element of excitement, urgency, or danger was exchanged for predictability, comfort, and safety, resulting in music only shallow guys and desperate girls will find pleasure in. Kasarjian and company should just be honest and write songs about getting laid, for that's the only motive I can think of behind sensitive rock such as this. If you sing about getting dumped and turn on a distortion pedal, the chances of getting laid by a musical midget are almost guaranteed. Sensitive rock helps uninteresting people have sex with uninteresting people, so thank you, Count the Stars, for making the world a lamer place.