I listened to Nine Black Alps' latest single, but I couldn't be bothered to blog about it until now. Anyway, I didn't name this post "Uneasy Hesitance" without a reason:
When I first heard Everything Is, their first album, in its entirety I thought it was made for me. It was the rock music I wanted to hear - hard and heavy, making no qualms about being angry and making you want to be angry too. I fucking loved it - the first time I heard Shot Down I wanted to fuck someone, break something and burn the world and I'll be goddamned if I wasn't proud of it. I officially made it my favorite song a few days later and I've listened to it so much that that urge had waned, but I still think back to when I first heard that song with all the love in my heart.
Then came Love/Hate.
I'm not saying it was a bad album, not at all - it shows that the band isn't a one trick pony, and has the range that I think they will need to really go the distance - but it left everyone who loved the band for their first album hanging. Sure they had a couple songs on the album that had some of that angry swagga that made me love them, but it seemed a bit...orchestrated. I'm sure that's not the word I want to use, but it's the only word I can think of to accurately describe how I'm feeling at 1AM. I'm not the only one - I perused their forum hoping to find some drum tabs for Shot Down when I read someone comparing "Forget My Name", one of the few what I will now call "angry" songs on the album, to Nirvana. I had listened to the song myself prior to reading this and I thought the same thing. This was a big deal to me because I, someone who has listened to very little Nirvana, thought they sounded like Nirvana and it made me think they were losing their original, angry, "burn the world" sound for commercial viability, but to add insult to injury I don't believe it sold all that well. I began to have doubts.
"All their albums can't be winners."
"I can't like all their songs."
"The third album will be better."
"Will their third album be better?"
"God, I hope their third album is better..."
I put it out of my mind and gave it no second thought.
Later, I picked up Glitter Gulch, a six-song EP that showed me that they still knew what their fans of the first album loved. It only had two "angry" songs on it - Over The Ocean and Ilana Song - but they were enough to tide me over. Especially Ilana Song - it gave me that same feeling that I got when I listened to Shot Down the first time; if I was alone I would have turned up the volume until my ears bled and rocked out with my cock out until I passed out from exhaustion. I thought that maybe I _could_ keep hope alive, that their third album will turn it around - you'll see!
Now I've heard the first single from their third album, Buy Nothing, and I don't don't like it, even though it looks on paper to be everything I asked for. It seems like they've gone back to their roots of anger and heaviness but it sounds overdone. It's like with Buy Nothing they've tried to get from Love/Hate back to Everything Is but overshot and gone to Dragpipe, another band I listen to. The addition of political subtext in the lyrics is also an unwelcome change to their normal Seinfeld-esque songs about nothing in particular yet angry all the same.
So now I don't know where I stand - I listen to Love/Hate and say they should be more like Everything Is, but when they do, I think they should tone down what made me love them in the first place. To quote someone from the Nine Black Alps forums, this new album will choose "between whether I say 'I'm a fan of Nine Black Alps' or 'I'm a fan of Nine Black Alps' first album'."
I'm with you.