Nicotine - Session (Cover Artwork)


Session (2005)

Asian Man

If I could define this album in one word, it would be knuperclunk, which I'm pretty sure isn't a real word in any language. However, if I were to define it, knuperclunk would mean brilliant, massive emulation.

When I first listened to this, Session, I was really turned off by how cheesy I found a few of the lines to be. There wasn't anything as bad as "I don't believe in fairy tales, and no one wants to go to hell" (Avenged Sevenfold - "Beast and the Harlot"), but there were lines like:

I met you one day, it was a fine day / I felt it was my fate to be your boyfriend / It was my birthday / It was the best day of my life
-- from "The Tree of the Sun"

However, I have to cut the band some slack, as they can speak multiple languages, and so what they do is quite an achievement. On the other hand, I always thought they should just sing in Japanese, but they have decided to go with English, which they aren't yet perfect in singing. Once again, you can't take much away from them, for the accomplishment is greater than the mistakes.

What is really amazing about the album is how many other bands you can hear in their sound. They focus on pop-punk, and throughout the album I was reminded of Blink-182, New Found Glory, and the Offspring, among many others. NFG members Ian Grushka and Steve Klein even make guest appearances on the last track, "Enjoy Punk Rock."

Completely copying a genre would be boring and place them in the category of generic, but this isn't the case. Shakespeare's stories were mostly made up of previous folk tales, but combined with his brilliance for language, he made them his own. On top of this, they were laden with literary allusions. While Nicotine isn't the Shakespeare of pop-punk, the concept applies to their music. Their songs play off familiar punk themes, and will make you remember many other acts along the journey.

One thing they seemed to have missed in imitating their favorite punks is the length. Most fast punk rock songs tend to be short, but Nicotine has a few songs that come near and go over the four-minute mark. There is nothing wrong with a four-minute song, but there are a few points where (while good) the song "Twilight" should have ended. The same goes for "Sally Is 13," which is around four and a half, but really doesn't have a lot of lyrics compared to others on the album.

Yet, you can't help get the feeling after listening to the album that Nicotine has actually studied punk rock. They are just as much fans of the genre as they are part of it, and it is clear that they love what they are doing. They celebrate positive punk rock in the opening intro/mini-anthem "Rock You All," continue the theme later with "Punk Rock Radio," and finish the album with the previously mentioned "Enjoy Punk Rock." For the number of flaws this album may have, in the end, it really is a fun album.