Dear Matt Skiba,
I recently picked up your band's latest release in the cut out bin at my favorite used CD store. After your last official long player, Crimson, which by the way sucked, I have given up all hope that your Alkaline Trio would ever release anything worth my time. Now here we are, Matt, with your first major label album Agony & Irony playing in my CD player and I'm trying to decide if I like it or not. I can tell you right now that this album doesn't sound like the Alkaline Trio of old. However, who am I trying to kid? Alkaline Trio has been a band for over a decade, and if you put out the same album over and over again, then I'd have to call you Pennywise.
What I can tell you, Matt, is that you and the rest of Trio are trying to hard to write that big hit. Sure "Calling All Skeletons" is a strong catchy opening track with all its gleeful handclaps and morbid lyrics about yet another love gone wrong. That seems to be your forte and why mess with a formula that's been working for twelve years. Nevertheless, after "Calling all Skeletons" Agony and Irony begins to fall apart and then comes to an abrupt halt with the Franz Ferdinand inspired, "In Vei.n. After that we, the listeners, get a lot of limp pop songs sucked of all life. It's almost like you are finally that vampire you always wanted to be Matt. The problem is that you’re sucking out the soul of rock 'n roll. If I wanted to hear any more lame pop songs I would turn on my local radio station and start sucking the business end of a shotgun.
By the time I hit the Muse-ish "Do You Wanna Know" I start yearning for the Alkaline Trio of old. The band that got drunk, wrote some dark lyrics but always with a smirk. I want some Jawbreaker inspired riffs, not Top 40 alternative rock hits. All those keyboards might seem cute, but Matt you'd look horrible in a Flock of Seagulls haircut.
Mr. Skiba, I'm pleading here. Can't you find in your heart to bring it back to what it once was? You know what talking about. You need to quit dropping the fact that you are Satanist in every interview. You need to get off the coke. You need realize that your band will never make any money trying be a poppy Bauhaus. You need to move back to Chicago. Go buy yourself a twelve pack of the cheapest beer you can find and start writing songs about clavicles and wishing you'd go up in a ball of fire. I'm not saying that Agony & Irony isn't a bad album, actually if a band like 3 Doors Down released it, I would see it as step in the right direction. Nevertheless, Alkaline Trio isn't 3 damn Doors Down; you are the scrappy lovable somewhat gothic pop-punk band that inspired every moron to permanently get your "Skullheart" etched into their skins.
Think about it, Matt, you have all the money you could possible want with that deal you made with the Devil...I mean...Epic. And you know that your last two albums cracked the top thirty of Billboard's Top 200. That's no small feat. I don't exactly know what precious metal those albums went, but if you keep releasing albums like Agony & Irony they won't even go cardboard. We still love you and your band, Skiba. We just know you have another great album in your blood. We can see it pulsating underneath that alabaster skin of yours. So for your sake and ours, just think about what you are doing. If not, I'm done thinking Alkaline Trio will release anything worth the spin.
3.5 / 10
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