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+44's album is one of my favourites out of my entire music collection. I bought the album on a hunch that it would be good as well as the strength of the single 'When Your Heart Stops Beating.' The album is written and produced by former Blink 182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker. Tom Delonge the other member of Blink 182 went his own way and set up Angels and Airwaves instead. On to +44's debut album though:
Lycanthrope - A very guitar and drum focused record with catchy chorus parts which make it an instant favourite off the album.
Baby Come On - Much different to the previous track, this one is more laid back with then some heavier bits sprinkled in for good measure.
When Your Heart Stops Beating - The main single off the album and one that had significant airplay. Rightly so, this track is fantastic. Extremely memorable with good guitar play.
Little Death - 'A little death makes life more meaningful' - quite depressing lyrics but a good song nonetheless.
155 - Another fast paced track to make up for the previous slow paced Little Death. Not as catchy as When Your Heart Stops Beating but still impressive.
Lillian - Another slow paced song that is a lot softer than the other tracks but the tune is quite good although not as good as the other stuff on the album.
Cliffdiving - Continuing with the trend another fast paced song with another deep focus on guitar and drum, another cathcy classic from the band.
Interlude - Kind of a pointless addition, plainly an instrumental track to fill some space I think.
Weatherman - A quite depressing track but one that is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and a great track on the album.
No, It Isn't - This is another one of my favourites off the album and it's easy to see why, the main focus is on the lyrics and they are quite deep and nasty.
Make You Smile - Featuring vocals from Carol Heller, it must be questioned why this was not released as a single as it is likely to have been a major success especially when you consider how well duets between artists have done in the charts recently.
Chapter 13 - The final main track on the album, and it finishes on a high. Not as great as some of the other tracks on the album but still very good.
On the album there are also two acoustic tracks of 'baby come on' and 'weatherman' which are quite enjoyable though I perhaps would've preferred two entirely new tracks instead!
I loved this album and was gutted that they never toured near me otherwise I'd have gone to see them, not sure what the future holds for the band due to the reformation of Blink 182 but I do hope that Hoppus and Barker return to +44 at some stage as I'd love to hear some new material.
I recently discovered +44 via Blink-182 and quickly went out to buy the album. This is what I thought of each individual song, and then the album as a whole.
Lycanthrope - Brilliant intro to the album. Infallible drums, great guitars and bass. Even the vocals from Mark Hoppus are good, and this surprised me as I was used to Tom DeLonge from blink-182. Also, the lyrics are quite dark, which is another welcome change from blink-182's immature songs. But enough of comparing +44 to blink-182, I really like this song. 9/10.
Baby Come On - A lot slower than Lycanthrope, and this sudden change confused me for a second. The song gets going a bit more in the chorus, but doesn't really get that edge that Lycanthrope had. To me, the lyrics in this song seem a bit more awkward and forced, although the line "the past is only the future with the lights on" is good. 5/10.
When Your Heart Stops Beating - Title track of the album, and it goes more towards the speed of Lycanthrope. The chorus is infinitely catchy, with vocal harmonies and excellent playing on the instruments. The drums in this song are particularly remarkable (and extremely hard to play! I've tried!) and this is my favourite song on the entire album, and a good song as a title track. 10/10.
Little Death - Again, another slower song. +44 are proving to be diverse in this way. This song has a good sound to it, but I can't really explain it. The chorus even pulls at my heartstrings a little, despite the fact that it's not really a heartstring-y song! The line "a little death makes life more meaningful" is pure brilliance. Most of the rest of the lyrics seem like they have some strange deeper meaning that I can't see and, therefore, I can't comment on this! 6/10.
155 - Another faster song! Must they really alternate like this? It gives the impression that the tracks were put together in any old order, which they really shouldn't have been. Another good chorus, with overlapping vocals, but the song is brought down by verses that are, quite honestly, a bit dull. And suddenly at the end there is a different section, which seems a bit out of place. All the same, I still like this song. 8/10.
Lillian - In my opinion, the intro to this song is too long. I get bored before something happens! And once again, it starts off slowly, although this is soon remedied with the chorus. While not actually being much faster, the guitars start up a bit more and make the song feel that much faster. All the instruments do their job in this song, but I can't help but find Mark Hoppus' vocals a little whiny in this song. It's not too bad in the chorus, where there's some backing vocals to help him out, but his voice in the verses just grinds on my ears. 7/10.
Cliffdiving - It's faster again - they really should have done something about this track order. This song seems to be the typical song of a guy looking back at a relationship with a girl, and wishing that he had done things differently (emphasized with the lines "this time I'll do things proper / how did it get to this?). In theory, this song is good. I mean, I can't find anything that I don't like about it. Except for the song as a whole. I just don't like it as much as I probably should. 6/10.
Interlude - Like the title says, this is, quite literally, an interlude to the album. It even comes in about half way through the run-time of the album. Although it's just an interlude, I think +44 could have done more with this. After the initial thoughts of "huh? what's this?" I started to actually like it, only for it to end after just over a minute! Also, it carries on the alternating fast/slow speeds of the songs. 7/10.
Weatherman - Oh look! It's two slow songs in a row! The lyrics to this song are blatantly dark (one of the lines is actually just "I'm dying"). Sadly, I must admit that the verses are too boring for me, and I skip past this song almost every time it starts playing. Despite that, the chorus isn't half bad, and I don't mind it really. 5/10.
No It Isn't - The song that everyone thinks was written about Tom DeLonge and the split of blink-182. Honestly, I would agree with them if the lyrics weren't so strong (such as "this isn't just goodbye / this is I can't stand you"). I think to myself "was it really that bad for them?" and can't see that it was. But what do I know, it's not like I was in blink-182 with them. Anyway, the song starts slower but picks up speed as it goes. At the end, everything's really got going and there's a great sound being made. One of the better songs of the album. 8/10.
Make You Smile - The only song to retain vocals from Carol Heller. This song has a more electronic feel to it for some reason. The alternating vocals between Hoppus and Heller sound good to me, but some people find it annoying. In the chorus they both sing and it actually sounds quite good. However, the song in itself is a bit repetitive and I end up skipping to the next track after about 2 and a half minutes. 7/10.
Chapter 13 - Another song about a girl. Good drums from Travis Barker, but the guitars are almost monotonous throughout the verse, and not much better in the chorus. The vocals from Mark Hoppus begin to annoy me in this song too, especially as it is over 5 minutes long. However, towards the end, the song proves itself different from other typical songs about girls, with the lines "and we'll both take revenge / but we still won't feel any better". A bit of an anti-climax to the album in my view. 6/10.
Bonus tracks - There are several bonus tracks to this album (or at least, my version of the album has a few). An acoustic version of Baby Come On comes first, and I think this is actually better than the non-acoustic version. It sounds a lot more sincere and real. Then comes the Weatherman acoustic version. It's a little more interesting than the non-acoustic version, in that it has quite a bit of plucking on the guitar, but other than that there isn't much else to make it any different. 145 come next, being an acoustic version of 155. Although still a good song, I think the original is better. A track not included on the album, but labelled as an official B-side by the band, is the electronic version of When Your Heart Stops Beating. Now this truly is interesting to listen to. There isn't much to the verses save for electronic sounds instead of guitars and a stronger beat. But there's some more texture to the song during the chorus and overall, it's quite a good song.
On the whole, the album is good. In my view, it's brought down by a bad track order. The slower songs don't really do the members justice, as they've shown they're capable of some really aggressive songs, but at least they're writing what they want to. I'm definitely waiting for the band's next album, whenever that will be.
+44 - When Your Heart Stops Beating - 8/10
Originally posted by me with Triond/on Musicouch
In May 2006, Tom DeLonge emerged from the 'extended hiatus' of Blink 182 with new band Angels & Airwaves at his helm. His enthusiasm for the project was clear, and his ego large as he proclaimed long before release that their debut offering 'We Don't Need To Whisper' was one of the best albums ever written. When first single 'The Adventure' was released I thought he may have been onto something as this seemed to be a genuinely good song, however having listened to the album I can safely say that he really was talking rubbish. 'We Don't Need To Whisper' was quite possibly one of the most lacklustre and dull offerings of 2006, and so when old band mates Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker announced plans for the +44 album I was interested to see if they could come up with anything better. Thankfully for them, it would seem that they have done and 'When Your Heart Stops Beating' is therefore a much better offering than what we had from Mr DeLonge. Whereas after the demise of Blink 182, Tom DeLonge took the route of taking himself far too seriously and becoming a complete egotist, +44 are far more light-hearted, and although their music is at times a far cry from that of what they were producing as Blink 182; a lot of the time the tracks here sound like cast off's from Blink 182's self titled release.
'When Your Heart Stops Beating' starts off promisingly with 'Lycanthrope', a track which is fairly pacey and keeps your interest for the 4 minutes that it runs for. Although this track is pacey with strong drum beats and guitars, it's never really anything spectacular and although starts the album nicely enough it will never leave you gasping in awe of what you have just listened to, and this can actually be said of the majority of this album. Title track 'When Your Heart Stops Beating' is an extremely impressive offering and should put a smile on the face of most Mark Hoppus fans as he plays his part well here with bass and vocals coming through strongly and really making the track stand out, showing for the first time here that he does not need Tom DeLonge by his side in order to produce a memorable track. I would suggest that this is the bands finest moment on the album and other than this there are really very few tracks that stand out. The only other tracks that I would say are indeed worth a mention are those of the disco punk fun of '155 - +44', 'Make You Smile' with its dual male and female vocal assault, and the sombre tones of 'No It Isn't'.
Although not the best album you're ever likely to hear, I think that 'When Your Heart Stops Beating' is still worth a listen and if you're going to be spending your hard earned cash on something then it would most certainly be better spent on this than on Angels & Airwaves effort, that's for sure. There is still some decent pop punk on offer here, and although in my opinion in terms of quality it does not even come close to being as good as Blink 182's music was it is by no means bad and should not be avoided purely on a basis of the disappointing sounds which came from the other camp. +44 are their own band and are more than likely here to stay, so you best get used to them.
With two not so great albums now in existence, it would seem that Blink 182 were better as a three piece than they are now that they have gone their separate ways. Together they wrote catchy pop punk anthems, whereas apart they have both failed to varying degrees with Angels and Airwaves not really appealing to me at all, and this album seeming to be consisting of a few stand out tracks and a whole lot of fillers. Although not a bad album, 'When Your Heart Stops Beating' may leave you wondering where the fun of their previous band has gone and why they now seem for the most part so depraved of excitement. I wouldn't say that this is a bad album from the band, I just don't think that they've really done as much with it as they possibly could and should have done. The title track more than proves that they are capable of writing and recording highly infectious music, however the album as a general rule does not support this idea. If the quality of tracks here was consistently as good as the title track then I think that this would have been one of the albums of 2006, however as it stands 'When Your Heart Stops Beating' will more than likely disappoint a lot of its listeners, not because it is no good but because it is not the great album which it could have been.
Release Date: 13th November 2006
Originally posted by me on my website Alt-UK.com
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Baby Come On
3 When Your Heart Stops Beating
4 Little Death
10 No, It Isn't
11 Make You Smile
12 Chapter 13