Alkaline Trio - This Addiction

Album cover
Punk, Rock
Epitaph Records
Alkaline Trio
This Addiction
Alkaline Trio - This Addiction Review rating:
3
User rating:
Average: 4 (1 vote)

The genre "pop-punk" has been usurped. Though for many it still recalls the glory days of Blink 182, Goldfinger, and New Found Glory, the current incarnation has monopolized the imaginations of the contemporary music generation, inserting a hell of a lot more pop and severely diminishing the punk aspect. One might blame Fall Out Boy for this, or perhaps Good Charlotte - though both have released pop/punk genre highlights - but the truth is, when mainstream culture snatches a genre from the weaker grip of the scene, pop creates a hegemony over the genre that is seemingly inescapable, even by that genre's landmark bands.

Alkaline Trio is a perfect example of this phenomenon. After 1998's Goddamnit, an album that was and is still adored by many, the band could never recover and match their own debut. By the 5th album of their career, Crimson, they had settled on a sound that drew not only on their own 90's pop/punk origins but on modern rock and the melodic punk of AFI. Though the album was perhaps their most solid since Goddamnit, they no longer had a niche - and thus, a scene interested in the music they made. Fast forward to their 7th album, 2010's This Addiction, and the band, while attempting to turn the clock back to their punk roots, hasn't removed their past few albums from the equation either.

And therein lies the problem. This Addiction has no purpose, no conviction surrounding it. It is not the album of a band determined to leave their mark on listeners. It is not an album that makes a statement, or an album that approaches the listener with confidence. It sounds more like a placating statement to fans: "we can still make real pop/punk, so don't hold a grudge!" Afraid to continue on the path they were walking, afraid to make a 180, Alkaline Trio is stuck somewhere in the middle. Though the album is listenable, it is by no means a great album.

Take title track and leadoff song "This Addiction." It is quite easily the album's best track (in fact, if you're not into the band or the style, this is the only song worth checking out), with a rocking chorus comparing his lover to a drug. Not the first time it's been done, but it's certainly been done worse. Next, take the album's low points, the aggressive yet somehow tame "Dorothy" and semi-power-ballad "Dead on the Floor." Neither track captures the listener further than the surface, simply because the songs are so shallow. The melodies are extraordinarily predictable, the power chords are generic and bland, and the lyrics are entirely average.

Speaking of lyrics, the most interesting aspect - and the only noteworthy one - of the entire album is the group's focus on Gothic imagery. It has always been a part of Alkaline Trio's music, but This Addiction seems to showcase the Gothic more than their past works. "Dine, Dine My Darling" whines, "kiss, kiss, kiss, to the last clock tick/ A final lip seal when I'm done/ And you can leave my last prayer floating in your lungs," while "Draculina" mutters disinterestedly, "I've got a devil inside that has been exorcised/ Now I'm bleeding for Draculina," and "The American Scream" states, "that's where they found me, in the cemetery/ A smoking gun in my hand." If only Alkaline Trio did grasp a smoking gun, rather than an empty water pistol.

1. This Addiction
2. Dine, Dine My Darling
3. Lead Poisoning
4. Dead on the Floor
5. The American Scream
6. Off the Map
7. Draculina
8. Eating Me Alive
9. Piss and Vinegar
10. Dorothy
11. Fine

Alkaline Trio are a punk rock band from Chicago, Illinois consisting of Matt Skiba (guitar/vocals), Dan Andriano (bass/vocals), and Derek Grant (drums/backing vocals). Their music is characterized by dark lyrics, catchy hooks, fast tempos and recurring subjects of alcoholism, depression, shattered relationships, drugs and death.

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