Today marks the drop of the new Pennywise album, "All Or Nothing", their first studio album since 2008 and the first album with new lead singer Zoltán Téglás. For those of you who don't know, I'm not exactly the biggest fan of "brocore", actually I down right detest it, but I wanted to give this album a listen. New singer leads to new sound, maybe? You can stream the album on The Dying Scene and head out to purchase it wherever you get your records.
Here you will read my first impressions as I listen to the tracks one by one for the first (and probably only time):
The first track on the album is "All Or Nothing" and comes out fast and melodic with that chanting sing along background vocals that seem to be loved by all brocore bands. It's been 21 years since their first studio album, and well the title track does nothing to make me think they've grown at all.
"Waste Another Day" follows "All Or Nothing" which is giving me flashbacks to playing Tony Hawk's Underground with my brother when we were little. The lyrics "I don't wanna waste another day" would have been the only clear lyrics heard during the game, odd seeing as we wasted so many hours on this game. Being reminded of a video game from 2003 does exactly scream "growth".
Track three, "Revolution" sounds like brocore's answer to emo punk, not overtly masculine, but more wanting to cash in the feeling of being an outsider. The simple chorus "whoa, we want a revolution" is repeated, and try to evoke the idea that Pennywise and it's listeners are misunderstood by the masses. Musically it's less technical, drum heavy with lots of "wooOooOoo"s in the background.
To follow up their emo punk song, Pennywise has "Stand Strong" their solidarity song about living life to the fullest. Blah blah blah, this reminds me of a speed up version of a Good Charlotte song about not committing suicide. A worth while topic to sing about, but there are less cliched ways to go about it.
"Let Us Hear Your Voice" comes out much more anthemic than the other songs so far. A song appropriate for a warm spring day, window rolled down, pulling out of your high school parking lot ditching the last few classes for the mall. Could almost substitute the vocals with a female's and it would make an awesome girl power song too. Nothing wrong with this style, but not really what I look for in a album.
I'm sure many Pennywise fans will be "Seeing Red" after reading this review/first impression of this album, but it is also the title of the 6th track on the album. Oh is this their "hardcore" song? "Fuck off and die" is shouted in the middle of the song. Lots of f-bombs in this song. But I'm not really sure if they enhance the song, because they kinda stick out like sore thumbs. Oh wait, he's singing about war? "We've been at war too long" okay makes more sense now. I wish the lyrics were available to me, I probably would have picked up on this anti-war theme a lot faster.
"Songs of Sorrow" felt like another empowering song, very much like a message a straightedge band would put out. "We won't walk away, we never give up, we never give in" made me check in with Brandon to see if they were straightedge, but I've been set straight.
"X Generation" seems to be about getting older in the punk scene and just the changes that everyone is going through as they get older, staying true to their roots, etc. And while Pennywise has grown older, their music hasn't gotten older. These guys are old enough to be my fathers, but they haven't changed. So I guess they really do manage to do what "X Generation" is talking about, or at least my interpretation of the song...?
"We Have It All", track number nine on this album is another anthemic, sing along chorus type song. Truly, this is their niche, why does Pennywise attempt to have any other song on their album? It's not my first choice for music, but when you think who does this genre best-- Pennywise is that band.
"Tomorrow" would have made more sense on "Unknown Road" than this album. Not because the style stands out, but because the lyrics sing about seizing the world. I'm sorry, you guys are all pushing 50. Seizing the day is kind of a youthful thing, not saying that you can't but middle aged white guys are the ones running the show. If you're not part of that by 45 or so, you're never going to be part of it. I'm not telling you to lie down and wait for death, Pennywise, but I feel like this song is about 20 year too late.
"All Along" seems more age appropriate, all this imagery of things coming to and end. "The jury has spoken" sounds like the deal, fate has been sealed. To be next to a song all about hope and a better tomorrow, it is an odd contrast. "You're running out of time" does not mirror the message that "Tomorrow" give about seizing the day and how everything will work out tomorrow.
The final track "Untitled" (guys, really? name this please) combines the anthemic sounds, with the idea of holding on for a better tomorrow, the awfulness of the world, and how if we wait for tomorrow, it will be too late. It's a conflicting idea, how can it get better but if change happens tomorrow it'll be too late. These songs are literally starting to blend together. Why didn't anyone issue lyrics? It's nice that you gave me access to your music early but this is really hard to do without words.
Overall, these songs could be from any Pennywise album throughout the years. If you're a big Pennywise fan, you will not be disappointed, it seems to be status quo. However, if you are looking for some sort of growth and change like I was, well you'll be sorely disappointed, lots of brotastic songs on this album.
Leave your comments on your opinions and whether or not you bought the album.