I’ve been listening to Pennywise stuff for a while now, and “Reason to Believe” is their latest album, released in 2008. I went out to buy it and listened to it practically as soon as I got home.
Am I happy with it?
Let me explain.
Pennywise have been around for a long time now, and “Reason to Believe” is their ninth album overall, so there have been many albums before it. As a result of this, I seem to have developed certain expectations of Pennywise albums, and “Reason to Believe” just didn’t match up to these. Perhaps the band members are (god forbid) actually getting old.
There was nothing wrong with the songs themselves, and a lot of them are good. But there’s nothing in particular that stands out. It’s all a bit same-ish, with no real highlights in the album. The songs have a lot of elements in common, for example the guitar parts are often great, with brilliant riffs. The vocals are relatively consistent throughout, and there’s a lot of backing vocals used in the album. The drums can’t be picked at very much, as they do their job very well indeed.
Even with the songs being similar, I still have some personal favourites of the album. For example, “One Reason” is a song that comes early in the album and has a catchy chorus. “Faith and Hope” has some good lyrics in the chorus. “It’s Not Enough to Believe” is possibly my favourite song of the whole album – it has a great catchy chorus and is heavy and fast enough to break through from the background that the other songs blur into. This means that I’m paying enough attention to appreciate “You Get The Life You Choose” straight afterwards, but I’m not sure whether this wouldn’t also blend into the background otherwise.
Essentially, the songs on “Reason to Believe” just don’t change enough. Sadly, this means that whenever I put the album on to play, it ends up more as background music, because I just can’t focus on it for very long because it’s all too boring. In fact, dare I say it, some of the songs actually end up being annoying after a few plays.
I don’t know why Pennywise seem to have slowed down at this point, whether they’re getting older, or they just didn’t put as much effort into this album – I don’t know. I just hope that they’ll get themselves back to their good old selves before their next album comes along. I mean, I would still buy it, but I can’t promise that I would like it – I only listened to “Reason to Believe” as much as I did because I honestly kept forgetting it wasn’t as good as their previous stuff.