Billy Talent – III
Record Label: Atlantic
Release Date: July 14, 2009
My introduction to Billy Talent came in 2005 at a local venue when a friend pointed out their tour poster. Some wiseguy had added the words “HAS NO” to the band moniker with a permanent marker. Now that I’ve caught up with the band’s three studio albums (and one live), I can stick up for them enough to say that that’s not true – they’ve got talent. But the “HAS NO” would be very appropriate had the band called themselves Billy Ambition, Billy Reinvention, Billy Reason To Be Making A Third Album, etc.
You see, while it’s true that the first couple of Billy Talent albums grabbed the listener’s ear and held it, 25 songs is about the maximum amount of life you could squeeze out of this type of sound. It is true that the first few songs on III live up to…well, not the hype (seriously, did you know this album was even coming out?), but the expectation. However, no song on the album veers away from the group’s cliché songwriting (the guitar sounds really, really familiar on almost every song), and besides, the lyrics are just so bad we can’t look the other way anymore. I mean, turning “tears into wine” was cheesy when Michael Bolton sang about it! You don’t wanna outcheese Michael Bolton…
The vocals are still completely ridiculous, just as they’ve always been, but a number of tracks on the album do tone down the annoyingness. “Rusted From The Rain” is actually really great, lyrics like “I’m the king of cowards / You’re the queen of pain” notwithstanding. This is very much due to the fact that Ben Kowalewicz sings like a normal human being, avoiding the banshee screech he’s so well known for (I’m talking about the one that opened “Line and Sinker” on the first self titled album. I know you know what I mean.) But even aside from the vocals, it’s just a really effective ballad type of tune that would have been a great closer. It’s pretty weird that it’s slotted in at track 2.
Sure, there are actually plenty of songs where he ditches the ridiculous shrieking, but many of them are generic toss-offs like the hilariously titled “Pocketful of Dreams” or the also generic, also hilariously titled “Definition of Destiny.” Really, the whole second half of the album blends together in a boring mess of bad inspirational high school poetry.
The highest compliment and the lowest insult I can give this album is that it sounds exactly like what the third Billy Talent album would sound like. Nothing more, nothing less. Some people will be thrilled, some people will be disgusted, but nobody will be surprised. Still, you know you’re going to listen to this album at least a few times, and so will I. There’s really no way to explain it.
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MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP!! Ducka ducka ducka ducka da da da da!
They definitely have a formula they stick with. First album is still my favorite because of this. I guarnatee that if they'd changed their sound a lot, however, there would be people saying they were so much better back in the day.
Anyway, your intro was hilarious and witty. Nice job.
this review sucks!!!!!! thats their best album to date .. u didnt even mention White Sparrows!!!! go listen that song and come back to edit ur review ..
Diamond on the Landmine, Saint Veronica and Turn Your Back are my fav. at the momment .. everyone should check out this album .. guitar work is AWESOME lots of sweet melodic solos ... killer basslines ..(saint veronica 2:01) .. only a few bands have their own unique style .. Billy Talent is one of them .. this band is going to be legendary!!!!!!
Hmm... I can handle about half an album of these guys at a time. I keep coming back to them, and I love a lot of tracks off their first album, but they've never turned me into a long-term fan. This review makes me think III will be no different...