99 Songs of Revolution by Streetlight Manifesto
“… And every time I try to change I always end out quite the same, …” – A lyric from the song This One Goes Out To… by Streetlight Manifesto. That lyric does a good job of summing up their new album, 99 Songs of Revolution. Change is the topic that was biggest in the making of the album. The band has already had 3 great albums and developed some popularity, so for this album it was “What’s next?”. Most bands encounter this dilemma at some point and decide to change. Streetlight Manifesto did decide to go in a bit of a new direction on this album, and made quite a few changes. Today I will discuss what’s good and bad about the album, and then my final thoughts on it.
First of all, the bad aspects of this album. The first bad thing is they tried to change up the sound of the music from the rest of their albums. The things they did were not what the fans had originally fallen in love with. Fans were expecting some more fast-paced ska, with meaningful lyrics, and numerous changes in melody that keep you on edge, but instead found a slower-paced ska band with a reggae feel mixed with a punk rock band. For some songs I thought it was a different band playing. No band, after making 3 albums, wants to make yet another album with the exact same sound. Basically they’re forced to try something new. Trying something new, however, is a very risky move and is a devilish task to pull off. It’s expected that they would have many troubles and on this album. In some points, however, they did better than expected.
The album also had quite a few good aspects. They changed their sound a bit, and a lot of that change was good. Probably their biggest change was that they incorporated a slower-paced reggae feel. The addition of the keyboard completed that sound and gave the music some soul. I loved this sound and it showed how diverse and talented they are. Also on this album they incorporated lots of intricate riffs and interesting melodies, showing off the skill of each individual band member. They showed all around better instrumentals and definitely fulfilled their musical potential. After listening to the whole album I found it hard to judge, but, in the end, my opinion became clear.
Now I must give my final thoughts on the album. Can anyone pull off that fourth or fifth album well? Or is every band past their prime by then and out of talent? This album showed that Streetlight Manifesto was not done, in fact, this album showed them at the prime of their musical talent. I really loved their reggae slow down, and despite a few weird sounding covers and the unexpected and different feel, they made yet another hit Streetlight Manifesto album.
I’ve dissected all the qualities of the album, good and bad, and you’ve heard my final opinion. Streetlight Manifesto was faced with the dreaded fourth album and the pressure to do something new, and they did a considerable job. They showed everyone that they’ve mastered the art of making music. The album did end out the same as the others, with talented, meaningful ska, and that is what they set out to do.