Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
Record Label: Canvasback/Favorite Gentlemen
Release Date: April 21, 2009
Let me start off by saying how I usually wouldn't even attempt writing a review of an album that has been reviewed already, especially one reviewed by webmaster Jason Tate. However, with every listen I am compelled more to voice my thoughts in a review.
Manchester Orchestra's Mean Everything to Nothing was hyped up not only on this site but around the entire music scene this past year. Whether it be a song on Gossip Girl ("I Can Feel a Hot One"), a spot on Lollapalooza, posters all over the streets of NYC, or Spin Magazine's daily features. This album had the opportunity to either make or break the band's career. Coming off their critically acclaimed I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child, avid music fans were looking forward to seeing how their follow-up would sound. Would they keep it safe and write another ILAVLAC or take the risk and create something totally different.
Manchester did just that: they took the risk and created a masterpiece that exceeded everyone's expectations. Twenty-two year old frontman Andy Hull explains the album to be "Pinkerton (Weezer album) on steroids". And sure enough, the album is louder, more intelligent and better than the last.
The opening track "The Only One" serves the album justice, as it gives you a preview on what you're about to hear. The two-minute-thirty-nine-second song is one of the shortest on the album, although you couldn't place a better opening track for this kind of record. The next song is a personal favorite of mine entitled "Shake It Out." This song is Manchester at their best, as you can feel the powerful guitars hitting. The raw sound of the album portrays the emotional tone even more, especially seen in this particular track. Lyrically, the song is phenomenal, as Hull rhetorically asks "Are you tired of being alone?/Are you tired of being alone."
The third song is the first single off the album titled, "I've Got Friends." It is definitely the best single choice in my opinion and is the song that will get many listeners hooked to this band. The chorus as catchy as the swine flu -- "I've got friends in all the right places/I know what they want/And I know they don't want me to stay". You can't help but to chant along and sing with Hull. The next track, "Pride," is a hard-beating epic battle that hints back to some classic metal rock and brings out the intensity and seriousness that is Manchester Orchestra. The powerful drums by Jeremiah Edmond really bring out the passionate aspect of this song and is without question the loudest and most experimental song Hull and company have ever written. The next song, "In My Teeth," has an immediate connection to Nirvana's "In Utero" and is so evident that Hull says the song was originally written as "I know this song sounds like Nirvana and I don't give a shit." After this song marks the end of the first half of the record.
The sixth and shortest song on the album, "100 Dollars," is a humorous and lighter track, as we start to really hear the Weezer influence on the record. "I'm fine/I'm fine/I'm fine/I just need 100 dollars," Hull shouts, in the minute long track. On the next song "I Can Feel a Hot One," we really have a chance to listen to Andy's wonderful and breathtaking vocals as he gently sings "Pray for what I thought were angels/Ended up being ambulances." "I Can Feel a Hot One" ends as the listener barely gets to take a breather from the already fantastic album and "My Friend Marcus" comes in with one of Manchester's catchiest choruses to date -- "Now I can see/You mean everything to nothing/Now I believe you mean everything to nothing." Post-"Marcus" comes the song "Tony the Tiger." The poppiest song on the album and the one that brings out some ILAVLAC roots. It's a catchy, well-written song clocking at only three minutes long, but the weakest track on the album, in my opinion albeit, in no way a bad song. "Tony the Tiger" has perfect placement on the album because it plays the part of a setup man for the end of a brilliant, unforgettable record. "Everything to Nothing" comes on next, and this is where the album starts to shine again. The pre chorus "You, Mean, Everything" leads right into the instrumental chorus, which eventually will transition to the most emotional bridge ever written by Hull. As he screams "You/Mean/Everything/To nobody/But Me." Then the breakdown comes on and it's excellent. In an interview Andy said how the album isn't "Mean Everything to Nothing, it's Mean Everything to No Thing," because if you mean everything to someone, you're sure to let them down. This record will not let us down. "The River" is the next song and serves as a part two to "Everything to Nothing." Once again, Andy starts to talk to God: "I think I talk to you best when I sing" and eventually whispers "I'm gonna leave you the first chance I get." A powerful line that only Andy Hull could pull off to end such a masterpiece of a record.
Mean Everything to Nothing is an album that will be forever remembered as the record the made Manchester Orchestra. They are destined to big things, and they have the talent to survive this crazy music industry. Lyrically and musically this album will blow you away and is definitely the best to come out so far in 2009, so appreciate it and feel honored to have heard a classic.
This review makes a lot of crazy, unfounded claims (sometimes without examples to back it up) and it's very apparent that the reviewer is crazy about this album (not that there's anything wrong with that). I know reviews are essentially opinion, but next time you might try to show a little objectivity towards the album you're reviewing.