Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Monitor, Titus Andronicus

This is an album I know like the back of my hand

Titus Andronicus' The Monitor is a very special and important release to me because its themes and motifs are incredibly relatable as they are inspiring and vast.

The instrumentation is pretty basic and washy, lo fi electric guitars and bass, driving punk drums, wheezing organs and bagpipes, pretty folk punk record.

and the vocals are crackly and whiny, like Patrick Stickles is crying and singing all at once, drawing a very pretty picture of Pianos Become The Teeth, perfectly capturing the imagery of social exile and alienation with crippling depression and blinding angst.

And you know what?

Its eerily perfect.

This record tells the story of a breakup, relating it to the events of the American Civil War, with excerpts of letters and poetry recorded in between songs or movements.

It goes through the painful angst and melancholy of the troubled youth as they fight and struggle through university and the unfeeling masses refusing to accept the diverse or otherwise unique, with lyrics bearing such weight and anguish, its impossible to not feel emotionally grounded or at least solemnly aware while listening.

This album is an emotional power trip as much as it is a howling homage to the bands efforts previous, bringing in the theme 'Titus Andronicus Forever' as a resonating Bro Anthem of the band and its fanbase.

This album taught me a lot about myself and my feelings during a really dark and angsty time in my life, and I really carry a lot of gratitude towards it.

This band was kind of like... There for me, like this record specifically, and I have a lot of personal attatchment to it. And I think thats what Titus Andronicus was really trying for here, because the record is so deeply personal and heartfelt you cant help but relate to it in some way.

This record takes on such concepts as anti-americanism, the human condition, personal inadequacy, and the struggle of self loathing.

A lot of the lyrics come from a dark place in Patrick Stickles' mind and his heart.

It is made abundantly clear the pain and isolation he was feeling when he wrote these songs, as the words kind of carry a sort of self-hating tone and the subject matter of which the songs are about are very obviously kind of painful experiences in his life.

The artwork is very simple, mainly old photos from the civil war era taken in a kind of blue scale which i think compliments the album greatly, giving it a really Northern, kind of somber feel.

The last track is what really sets this apart from your average angsty emopunk album.
Weighing in at Fourteen minutes and eleven seconds, The Battle of Hampton Roads takes up an entire side of The double LP release. and that's just what this track is, its a final release, the last phlegmy exhale before you can breathe clearly again, the last push to survival and assured victory, that night where you break down completely over her before you start picking your pieces back up. At the same time, its a prime example of the futility of angst in the first place. I identified with this album most when i was seventeen going on eighteen. It sounds very similar to that of the musings and wails of the late adolescent emo kid, but it was written by a bearded twenty something about college in New Jersey. But for what it is, this track is absolutely stunning and well engineered and produced. It takes a special kind of magic to make fourteen minutes feel like nothing in terms of songs. And they managed to hit it right on the head with this track. Its flow is remarkable, and its layered textures are very visible and complimented by each other, along with the final gasps of despair echoing into emptiness. This track has perfect builds and the order of the album is such a perfect set up for this amazing punk rock desertif that drinks like a 24 case of bud light platinum and carries you up to your room when youre done sitting in the back yard rambling about pork chops, with like, a gatorade and a puke bowl n shit. This song knows how to end an album.

This might be the personal attatchment, sense of nostalgia, and overall likability of the band, but i am definitely feeling like this record deserves some serious praise.

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