by Guest Guest
March 21, 2010

I spend a lot of my time lurking the internet and iTunes to see what new albums are coming out, then I do the usual: listen to the album repeatedly and methodically, dissecting the layers of music and lyric to get to the artists raw emotion—to get my raw emotion.  Unfortunately, that was not the case for Titus Andronicus’ new album, The Monitor.  It took me approximately five days to get through three listens of the album and it was painful.  Personally, I found no presence of an emotional level that should be heard in music.  Isn’t that what music is for, to trigger emotion?  Whether it’s pop or folk, there is an emotional level.  It may make us happy or nostalgic; either way, this range of emotion should occur and certainly did not with this album.

The Monitor is loosely based on the American Civil War to illustrate the frustration of suburban life in New Jersey, which is one of the most absurd album concepts ever.  Titus Andronicus paraphrases their home-state hero, Bruce Springsteen, in their first song, “A More Perfect Union.”  They name-check him again in their last track, “The Battle of Hampton Roads,” where they have an ill-fated attempt at being philosophical by stating, “There is no race more human.”  The central muse is obvious and is executed with sheer mediocrity.  Apparently in this day and age one can become a legitimate artist just by chanting the words “you’ll always be a loser” repeatedly to some background noise, like in  “No Future Part Three: The Escape From No Future.”  What does this say about us as a society and music connoisseurs? Furthermore, what does this say about the band? At this point in the album, I was three songs in and ready to quit.

Vocalist Patrick Stickles’ sound reflects the resonance of Conor Oberst’s brazen earnestness, but doesn’t share the same lyrical aptitude.  In fact, most of the tracks sound like if Against Me! replaced Tom Gabel with Conor Oberst and then sucked,  failing to follow through with a meaningful political stance.  The further into the album I delved, the further I gave way to pure boredom.  The Monitor is a 65-minute endorsement of suburban angst that has quickly made its way from my CD shelf to my garbage can.

- Jenna “Street Rat” Sailer

out of 5 weasels.

Click PLAY for a 30 second free MP3 of each track or the track name for lyrics in a new tab/window

  1. A More Perfect UnionFREE MP3 (Full track)
  2. Titus Andronicus Forever
  3. No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future
  4. Richard II
  5. A Pot in Which to Piss
  6. Four Score and Seven
  7. Theme From “Cheers”
  8. To Old Friends and New
  9. …And Ever
  10. The Battle of Hampton Roads

Visit Titus Andronicus online: titusandronicus.net / myspace.com/titusandronicus

The Battle of Hampton Roads Part 1 Live in NJ (3/8/10)

Battle of Hampton Roads Part 2 Live in NJ (3/8/10)

No Future Part 3: Escape from No Future Live in NJ (3/8/10)

Never trust a street rat. Support the artist and find out for yourself. WestCoastWeasel.com encourages purchasing The Monitor locally at Red Cat Records in Vancouver, B.C, any independent record store of your choice or online here.

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