this album is the real love it or hate it of black dresses.
for so long i heard many people who either said it was their favourite by a longshot or that it was just downright awful. i have finally made a connection between these types of people though, and why their opinion would be one or the other. of course, by my rating standards, its an average leaning good album.
now, ive always been a person to listen to songs exclusively. i dont like full albums, theyre tiring. and, when i first listened to this album, i gave this a fairly pitiful score. the songs just felt somewhat icky to me, and i didnt feel they were strong. what ive learnt through multiple listens is that this album is favoured more by the fans who prefer to listen as an entire album. i do personally feel as though this album is the best of all black dresses releases when it comes to album structure. everything changed for me about this when i started actually listening in the lenses of a story of emotion instead of on its own. what i was doing wrong with this was judging it alone instead of in its true album state. all of these songs are meant to be listened to together.
the most easy point to pin with this idea is the transition between WATER and DEATH/BAD GIRL. now, ill get in depth with some of the songs later, but the transition between these two songs stunned me when i actually listened. WATER's tone got me so god damn excited for DEATH/BAD GIRL, and i genuinely feel as if the transition gets DEATH/BAD GIRL going as a hype track. i dont think anything could have gotten that song on its feet better than the transition. its smooth as butter, what can i say!
i also find the transition between BABY STEPS and THANK U to be wonderfully done. both of the songs have similar ideas, but the tone shift to me does a wonderful job displaying a mental break's life. the whole album does a very nice job being able to sum up a feeling of angst. while WASTEISOLATION as an album was more miserable and thrashy, THANK YOU is more angsty and confrontational. one is the guts it takes to approach in the moment, and one is the guts you have from afar.
now, a deeper dive into actually the majority of the tracks!
THANK U is obviously the first place for me to start. the introduction? stellar. captivating. i love the mystery behind it and the fun
WATER feels incredibly personal in the place of punk, but more fun and distant. its one of those songs where the distance is more for others to connect, but to connect personally. rooks parts are stellar, especially the "we know your name" section. just downright fun and silly, and i love the structure.
and the personal four i wanted to give special shouting out to
DEATH/BAD GIRL. everyone who knows me knows i am a complete sucker for hype songs. DEATH/BAD GIRL sounds like it was made to be performed and sung with a group of friends or alongside rook and devi themselves. its one of those songs you can jump around to and be able to get so tired you lay down on the floor. its cheesy, its fun, and its quite literally a hype song. its one for the fans, its one for everyone to hop around in. it has the perfect mix of hype song and the black dresses spin! its just one of those songs you really can feel it in. the progression is wonderfully written, and i simply adore its usage as a hype song.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE is my personal favourite off of the album. the build up, the lyrics, the themes, the vocal work; i would genuinely put this as one of black dresses' best songs. top 5 for sure to me! the way that the song leads you in i feel is wonderfully done, the movement of the song is sharp but smooth, and you can so easily get lost. then, of course, the best attraction, the god damn buildups. the build and the crash. just so fucking perfect, its so rewarding! i just mouth alone devis WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT??? parts and hop around. this song is genuinely near perfection in a song. just straight up gorgeous. the lyrics make me smile, the melody, build and crash... theres nothing i cant adore about this!
HARMLESS was a grower for me. the beginnings lessons honestly hit close to home for me as a serial message deleter, its the feeling of panicking and just having to breathe. feeling your chest rise up and down and you spin and crashing. but oh god, thats not what i love about this. its when the damn alarms ring, thats when it really kicks. rooks tone changing throughout that part is so fucking gorgeous to me. her work in this song is so raw and i adore it to bits. i can just imagine pacing around and wanting to slam your head against a wall so frustratingly to this song, and just collapsing. now, i do understand that this song is about anxiety and depression, but i can honestly understand it as confronting trauma and never being able to kick its ass back. its exactly how i feel, its awkward in public when you just lose control and start pacing or you have to lay on the floor and panic. the fucking ending too, it is just so wonderfully done. her screaming has always been top damn tier for me. i love rook and her ability to genuinely portray her emotions.
WASTEISOLATION is a track i genuinely find to be underrated in the album. of course, it absolutely does not fit with the rest of the songs, but i still find myself loving the creativity and the tone. i think the noise is just straight up gorgeous, the rhythm is wonderful, and so is the movement. i dont usually like rounder songs, but its like a mace. itll stab the living shit out of you, but it has the shape you wanna trace with your fingers. i genuinely love this song, i wish more people loved it!
now, i do not believe this album to be flawless. some songs i wish to point out, some are just general aspects.
THRU THE VOID is a weird track. the lyrics are cheesy, and i feel a good portion of the song is not structured well. its no insufferable or dislikeable song to me, though. what really saves it for me though is the chorus. the chorus is fucking brilliant and fun, but it just doesn't fit with the rest of the song. thats a big problem with a lot of the album.
THERES NOTHNG HERE WORTH DYING FOR is a perfect example of this. its structure is weird and too clunky. so many aspects of the song just dont fit. the lyrics are weak, the rhythm is too bland, but... the break that devi gives. "THIS PLACE WAS BEAUTIFUL ONCE UPON A TIME. THIS PLACE IS SOMETHING YOU CANT RECOGNIZE...." this section is just gorgeous. its so beautifully done, and its so atmospheric for the idea, but it just does not fit! i wish the song behind it matched with it better so it could feel more in place. its a gorgeous highlight of the album, but is overshadowed by the poor quality of the rest of the song.
LOOK AWAY also suffers from this, and is the track i consider to be the weakest. the "HALF A MILE UNDERGROUND" portion is fun and catchy and has nice flow, but the rest of the song just suffers. its a bland repetitive track that i feel could have easily been skipped out on. the beginning is fun, but the rest of the song is hardly memorable.
the album has wonderful themes and the ability to go back on itself creating an emotional cycle is a wonderful feat in itself. it has its problems, but i still find myself very happy with the album, a lot happier than i used to be. its flaws do bring it down, but this album really does shine as black dresses' most cohesive album to date. theres plenty to love, and theres plenty to relate to.
strongest tracks: WHEEL OF FORTUNE, DEATH/BAD GIRL, HARMLESS, WASTEISOLATION, THANK U, WATER
mid tier songs: THRU THE VOID, DOG SHIT, BABY STEPS, THERES NOTHING HERE WORTH DYING FOR
weakest tracks: LOOK AWAY