Last week, I went over my thoughts on Red Vox’s What Could Go Wrong. This week, I follow up with their second studio album, which, if gauging fan response, is kind of their magnum opus. At the time (I first listened to this the day of its release), I only listened for myself and decided based on my own tastes. Looking back, however, there is a certain quality to this—whether through mood, sound, or orchestration—that gives it an almost transcendent touch. But does that alone save the album?
As before, I’m listening to the album in question as I type this, to re-familiarize myself with the music in the most current state of my person. A terrible tendency of mine is that I listen to something years before, then again as I transform from a cynical asshole into a slightly-less cynical asshole—a semi-consistent repeating cycle. Nevertheless, with my current temperament, it’s become a little easier to plunge myself into the style Mr. Vinny Vinesauce was going for with this album.
Something of a distinct quality when comparing this to the previous What Could Go Wrong is that Another Light is a fair bit softer, at least with the ferocity of beaten instruments. With the previous album, it opens with “There She Goes,” a to-the-point, grunge-y rock blast that pelts one with a chorus of yelling and bombast. Another Light does things differently, allowing “Another Light” to set the tone for the rest of the album. Not quite “mellow,” but an almost lucid, stylized flow that puts one in an introspective mood, while providing some toe-tapping in the process. It’s not my favorite track from the album, but I applaud the decision to open with said track; it plots things brilliantly.
That established, a lot of the emotional tinge present in What Could Go Wrong is still very present here. In the most blatant fashion, this album has a song titled “I’m So Happy,” an ironic track bathed in sarcasm that recounts being happy for others, ignoring how apparent the self is left out of the equation. It’s then immediately followed by “I’m So Sad,” which is a more upbeat track that seems to wallow in its own misery, implying a desire to indulge in brutal honesty. These kinds of tracks are aligned with the general tone of the album’s sound and lyrics, which do a lot to question the state of the self and human relationships in various, generally downbeat circumstances.
As is per my norm (perhaps unfortunately), I’ve listened to this album in full a couple times, but to a select number of songs about a billion times. My personal favorites include these five:
- In The Garden
- Memento Mori
- I’m So Happy
- I’m So Sad
While re-listening to this album has not provided any darkhorse contenders to join that group of great songs, there are others that I’ve become more appreciate of. As stated before, “Another Light” does well to set up the entire course of the album. “Settle For Less” and “Memories Lie” are also right on the cusp of something I’d listen to outside the context of the whole album. While What Could Go Wrong features songs that feel a little too close in proximity to one another, Another Light does a more solid job of individualizing each song to stand on its own, even if the infinite globs of synth and voice effects can be much at times.
Even so, this album is not completely absolved of that criticism of mine. There is a bit of an all-encompassing tone to the album that makes things stick from one track to another. Some tunes I think are from other songs, and eventually all of it begins to sound a little too similar, or the memorability of one gets buried after another incorporates similar vibes. Not quite as often as the previous album, but there still persists a certain homogeneity that brings the whole down.
While generally softer in tone, there are a few tracks that stick out for being a little more frenetic and instrument heavy, including Reno—which is basically this album’s “There She Goes”—”Settle For Less,” and “Rub Your Eyes,” which is pretty bluesy. Again, kudos to the band for establishing different sorts of genres throughout, whether it be grunge, emotional, pop, synthwave, alternative, or whatever other micro genre could apply that I’m likely missing.
To gush for just a short amount of time, “In The Garden” is such a great song. Probably my favorite song ever from the band, through four studio albums and a few additional side works. The tone, the lyrics, the vibe; if anything comes close to the magnum opus moniker, it’s this song. And Vinny might agree, as to this day, going to the Red Vox Youtube page still has the reveal single of “In The Garden” as the featured video. That, or Vinny is lazy and hasn’t changed it. I could honestly see either explanation as true.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to crown this as a masterpiece, it is what I consider to be Red Vox’s best album to date. Everything just synced together perfectly to make for an incredibly memorable album, with a lot of gusto provided to just about each song. Diverse (to a degree), tonally sound, and has more songs to like than dislike, it’s definitely something to consider for fans of, well, what the last album provided. 5 of 13 songs I really enjoy is still a bit of a skewed ratio, though other songs make up for it by being just under the point where they’d register in that ratio. I dig it.
Y’know what? Fuck it; I like “Settle For Less.” 6 out of 13.
Favorite Track: In The Garden
Final Score: 7/10
You can listen to the album here for free:
Have you listened to this album? What did you think of it? I’d love to know your thoughts below.
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.