Alkaline Trio - Goddamnit (Cover Artwork)

Alkaline Trio

Goddamnit (1998)

Asian Man

Well hell, where do I begin? Anyone who has heard this CD should know what I am talking about. This is, without a doubt, one of the best CD’s I have ever heard. EVER. First off, I know nothing about technical aspects of music. I am probably the last person that should ever try to review an album. However, this does not mean that I do not know good music when I hear it. And believe me, this is good music. There is not one song that I skip over when I listen to this record.

I remember when I first heard this album. I had previously bought the Asian Man sampler, “Mail Order Is Still Fun”, and recollected that I was impressed with one song in particular. Alkaline Trio’s “Cringe” had me hooked from the moment I first heard it. So I decided to head over to the A’s, picked up “Goddamnit” and took a moment to listen to it.

And I was completely blown away.

I had NEVER heard anything like this before. Melodic guitars and catchy bass lines interwoven with the most poetic and haunting lyrics I have ever heard (with the exception of “Cop” of course. nothing too poetic there). What appeals to me is the way that I can relate to what Matt and Dan are singing about. Every single song on here reminds me of my own life in some way or fashion. Whenever I listen to this album, I think of memories long past and how I felt back then. This nostalgic feeling keeps me coming back to this record constantly and it’s something I think that most people can relate to as well. The one thing that stands out the most in my mind are the duel vocals of Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano. Matt has a higher, clear voice, which compliments his melodic guitar style while Dan has a lower, gruffer sounding voice. Neither one upstages the other. Both are tremendous singers. People might listen to this record and say that the sound quality is nowhere near as up to par as with “Maybe I’ll Catch Fire” or “From Here To Infirmary”. However, I tend to like the sub-par recording rather than the clearer, crisp recordings that the Trio has worked with in more recent years. It tends to add a bit more character to their music and makes it seem more familiar when you hear it. I remember being somewhat disappointed when “Maybe I’ll Catch Fire” came out and I didn’t hear that characteristic grainy sound. It reminds me of a time where you could go see the Trio at shows where you didn’t have to deal with stupid kids moshing and crowd-surfing to their music. Not that I’m against those things, but I just don’t see why you’d do it at an Alkaline Trio concert. I’d rather just enjoy the music without getting an elbow or foot in the face.

The Alkaline Trio opened up a whole new world for me. From listening to generic skate punk like NOFX, Millencolin, Ten Foot Pole, NUFAN, Pennywise, etc., I went to bands like Hot Water Music, Thursday, Saves The Day (I might catch some flack for that one, heh heh), Leatherface, and the godlike Small Brown Bike. Nothing against the other bands (NOFX is still #1 in my book), but I don’t know where I’d be without the latter bands. Especially Small Brown Bike.

It is INCREDIBLY hard to pick out the best songs on this album cuz they’re all so good. But if I had to choose I would say: Message From Kathlene, As You Were, San Francisco, Trouble Breathing, and Clavicle. Hell, I just named about half the album.

Everyone needs to do themselves a favor and go buy this album. Then buy everything else that the Alkaline Trio has ever put out. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.