Monday, January 4, 2016

This Time Next Year: Drop Out of Life [2011] — Album Review

Pete Dowdalls: Lead Vocals
Brad Wiseman: Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Denis Cohen: Rhythm Guitar
Travis Pacheco: Bass
James Jalili: Drums, Percussion
Produced by Chad Gilbert

1. Drop Out of Life – 3:49
2. Better Half – 3:00
3. Living Hell – 3:08
4. Last Call – 3:13
5. Modern Day Love Story – 2:55
6. Spoontonic – 3:29
7. Matchbook – 3:04
8. My Side of Town – 3:25
9. Get it, Got it, Good – 2:46
10. Note – 3:31
11. This is an Airport Train – 3:34
12. The Afterlife – 3:01(hidden)
13. Whiskey and Coke – 3:30(hidden)
Total Runtime: 42:19

Drop Out of Life is the second record from California's This Time Next Year, released on September 27th, 2011. Drop Out of Life is a somewhat significant departure from 2009's Road Maps and Heart Attacks, as the guitar work is more intricate, and Wiseman doesn't sing as much, meaning Pete Dowdalls' voice has its chance to shine (not that Brad Wiseman's voice is bad or anything, just saying.). Drop Out of Life has a very nice length, sitting nicely at just over 42 minutes, including the hidden songs on the CD, which—unfortunately—aren't on the vinyls. I'm not sure why TTNY decided to keep "The Afterlife" and "Whiskey and Coke" as hidden songs, as they are some of the best songs on the record.
Drop Out of Life was more than a record from a slightly unknown band, it also gave us #dropoutoflife, and while the Twitter tag may have very well been more popular than the record, the quality and talent expressed here are more than worthy of being as popular as #dropoutoflife—even if they weren't.
Beginning with its title track, "Drop Out of Life" rockets in with a few cymbals from Jalili. Then the rest of the band jumps in and we have an amazing song. The gang vocals really get across the feeling that the whole album is centered around: everyone goes through these things. And we flow right into "Better Half", which with some great lyrics and awesome guitars makes an excellent track.
"Last Call" is probably my favorite song on the record, again with great lyrics and some stellar guitar riffs. "Modern Day Love Story" continues with the real emo lyrics, and puts another solid effort onto an already great album. "Spoontonic" is another solid tune, and "Matchbook" is the most emo, and one of the best songs.
"My Side of Town" and "Get it, Got it, Good" bring us the weak point of the album, reminding me of Road Maps and Heart Attacks, but not in a good way. Road Maps is a good album, but these are just some weak songs.
"Note" brings us back up to our standards, and being TTNY's final single, it's a little ironic that its chorus refrains "Don't say it's over, don't say it's done", when they broke up around the time it was released as a single.
"This is an Airport Train" is our "closer", and as a closer, it does a good job. It would be less awkward if there weren't two hidden tracks after it, but discounting that, it works well.
"The Afterlife" is yet another solid effort on a solid recording. "Whiskey and Coke" is also good. But, I swear I get "Whiskey and Coke" and "Drop Out of Life" mixed up a lot just in the first two or three seconds since "Whiskey and Coke" starts with a slightly slower-tempo version of the first two or three seconds of the entire record. "Whiskey and Coke" does an amazing job at rounding out the record (on CD), though not as good as "This is an Airport Train" would have.
Overall, Drop Out of Life is a really solid album from an underrated band. It's definitely worth a listen.

Drop Out of Life: 9/10
Better Half: 8/10
Living Hell: 6/10
Last Call: 10/10
Modern Day Love Story: 8/10
Spoontonic: 7/10
Matchbook: 9/10
My Side of Town: 6/10
Get it, Got it, Good: 5/10
Note: 8/10
This is an Airport Train: 9/10
The Afterlife: 8/10
Whiskey and Coke: 8/10

Subtotal: 101/130
Bonus Points:
Killer Choruses: +2
Total: 103/130
Score: 7.9 Outstanding

Genres: Pop-punk, Emo

Last Review: Stay What You Are by Saves the Day
Next Review: Transmissions by Starset
Next This Time Next Year Review: Road Maps and Heart Attacks

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