mewithoutYou - [A→B] Life
Sep 13, 2020

Just gonna enjoy my last 100 on the list.

Normally, MewithoutYou fans would tell you Brother, Sister or Catch for Us the Foxes is their best record. I however, have never agreed with that sentiment. A to B Life is, in my eyes, one of the most emotionally raw, rough, and personally impactful post-hardcore albums of the 2000s. Aaron Weiss’ yells of passion have a very special way of getting under my skin, only matched by those such as Jordan Dreyer.

Speaking of Dreyer, I’d like to get something very obvious out of the way: you will like this album if you like La Dispute. They’re a very similar brand of phc, raw spoken-wordish screams and all. If that’s a sound you love, dive into AtBL immediately. If not, I’m just gonna be blunt. You won’t enjoy this. It’s not exactly a calming or soft listen.

There’s just something that hits me about the general sound here. The production causes the guitar riffs to become huge, dense, thunderous, or even destructive. It’s a wall of force. The bass laces into said riffs like a ribbon or a friendship bracelet. Drums are at full force at all times; they’re shaking you where you stand. Pounding away in your ears; AtBL is relentless. Despite the general aggression, there are more than a few points where the music is absolutely gorgeous. This is most noticeable on the closer “The Cure for Pain”. The reverbed but atmospheric bridge is fucking transendental. It’s like a grand flood hit the building you were in, but you somehow manage to float atop the water. The sky is an intensive, lucid, almost painterly mixture of magenta and lavender. Blue water is thrashing about against your body; the scene is beautiful. Just like the music playing through your headset.

Fuck man, even the interludes and hidden track hit. (A) and (B), whilst being almost identical in sound palette, perfectly transition one track from another while providing a ‘cool-off’ from the enraged other songs. The hidden track is a lavish, acoustic recreation of “I Never Said I Was Brave”. It’s obviously not better than the original, but it’s got a much brighter, more sumptuous vibe that I 100% appreciate. It’s especially awesome to hear after something as graceful as “The Cure for Pain”.

As much as I adore their second and third album, MWY’s masterpiece in my mind will always be their debut. The sheer turmoil conveyed by Weiss’ frantic delivery and the vivid visions the soundscapes cause me to have are unmatched by most records I’ve heard. Call me an idiot looking for more stuff that’s akin to La Dispute, but don’t deny the artistry of A to B Life.

Also: Bullet to Binary is the best MewithoutYou song. Literally do not @ me. That shit goes so fucking hard and I will never stop loving that almost twinkling noise during the intro.

FAVORITES: Bullet to Binary | Nice and Blue | Gentleman | Be Still, Child | The Cure for Pain

LEAST FAVORITE (If I must choose/excluding interludes): Everything Was Good and Nothing Hurt

Summary: “Don’t be afraid of him, be still.”
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