Haunted is the album last published by Late Night Alumni over a year and a half ago, February 2011. This is my first album from Late Night Alumni and I decided to purchase it after hearing the 11th track, "Spin," on a YouTube video back in June, hence why I'm so late reviewing the album in relation to its release date. I actually purchased the album after hearing only "Spin" because I loved the song so much. At first, after listening to some of the other tracks on YouTube while waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail, I wasn't too thrilled about the other tracks. But now, nearly four months later, I am in love with this album and look forward to future releases by the band.
First off, I purchased this off Amazon for $14, so I have no idea what 'edition' I have. I just know that my particular album came with a thin cardboard sleeve that matches the album on both sides (back/front) and a video that I have yet to watch (will be touched upon later).
|Late Night Alumni's Haunted peeking out partially beyond the sleeve. [Random] but aren't the dying roses so appropriate? :D|
The album cover features the singer in front of a kind of dark, melancholy ocean view, which I find suitable considering the album's title is Haunted.
BACK-RIGHT: CD case.
The back features the same kind of ocean backdrop. Looking at it more, I find it both peaceful and 'haunting' haha oh the puns. <_<
BACK-RIGHT: CD case.
And lastly, the inside of the CD case and the CD itself. The CD is a lovely deep ocean blue that matches well with the album coverwork. I really love the color scheme of the whole album. :) I personally associate colors with the songs I listen to, and many of the tracks on this album make me think of deep blues that border on black. Nice for rainy/foggy days, which I am fond of when I DON'T need to go outside. Otherwise I hate them. =P
|Inside the CD case.|
With the actual looks of the album out of the way, let's get into the best part: the songs! Unlike my More Than Words single review, I decided that for albums I will list the tracks as they appear on the CD case all together for reader-convenience sake, since albums have way more tracks than singles. The following is the tracklist which is somewhat apparent in the previous picture:
01. It's Not Happening
02. In the Ashes
03. This is Why
06. Angels and Angles
08. Main Street
09. For Life
10. No or Yes
[13. 2 Days with Late Night Alumni (Enhanced Video)]*
*I will be excluding this from the review as I have not watched it.
I don't want to go through all of the tracks, as that would make my reviews even longer than they already are. But I will go through those that I really enjoy (which will then by default show those I don't care for excessively) and then try to pick my favorites. I will also mention my favorite lyrics from tracks where certain lyrics have branded themselves into my head (and I mean that in the best possible way).
"In the Ashes" is a very catchy dance song that most YouTube comments referred to as the gem of the album. Though that is not the case for me, I do love this song and especially love the image in the following lines: "When the plane crashes/ You'll be in the ashes..."
"This is Why" is a calm, slow-paced song that pretty much deals with the issue of crying. I love the opening - it is extremely peaceful. The song itself gets a bit repetitive near the end but its lyrics especially stand out to me: "This is why I don't cry/ Tears they only minimize/ Everything you keep inside." I totally agree with that.
"Vixen" is a the track I am most torn on. I LOVE the first minute and thirty seconds or so. It makes me think of a woman who is at the mercy of another, but still has a mind of her own, almost like Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas (one of my favorite movies). In fact, the transition at 1:10 reminds me of "Sally's Song," which is one of the reasons this song made me tear up a ton listening to it weeks after my ex dumped me (he loved all things Tim Burton). The rest of the song, however...just changes in tone. I still sometimes will replay the song once the first minute and thirty seconds are done. The sad emptiness of the first part of the song is replaced with percussion that I don't care for too much and, as it progresses, a heavy dance-mix kind of beat kicks in. The lyrics at the end, however, make up for that slight musical downfall (*IN MY OPINION*). They fit in with the whole 'being at the mercy of another' idea I mentioned before: "You say 'jump'/ I say 'how high'/You say 'leave'/I say 'good bye.'" Speaking of lyrics, not surprisingly my favorite lyrics from this song also occur in the first part: "This is the absolute last time you'll fall in love with me/ I nod my head like I agree."
"Angels and Angles" features Marcus Bentley, who I am not familiar with at all. I love the guitar and drums in this song, the fact that there is what seems like a small clip from Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" after the first chorus, and the way the end sounds so uneasy. My favorite lyrics from this song are: "Capsize and sink 'til you think and swim aligned."
"Sustaining" was a song that, when I first heard it, I thought it was the weirdest thing with all the staccato "mmm-mm-mm" moments. But I've grown to love this song, especially the end which I find very catchy. I also love the vocal 'bridge,' if you want to call it that, where a lot of the 'spelling' present in this song happens ("L-o-v-e S-u-s-t-a-i-n-e-d"). My favorite lyrics, since I can relate to them, are the end of the chorus: "Though you're still too far away/ The sound of you sustains/ Loud enough to wake me."
"Main Street" is one of the loveliest songs on this album. There is not much to say about this song, but it is so peaceful and has such lovely lyrics that I can't help but love it. Some of the lines I can relate to the most occur in the first chorus: "We small talk but time gets in the way/ So I clip the clock's wings/ We talk about smart things/ Found myself smiling for the first time in days." The instrumental before the end is very soothing to me and I love the change in lyrics from the beginning to the end - "Now I'm haunted by a longing/So early in the morning/ Greets me without warning" to "Now I'm haunted by a longing/ So late in the evening/ Greets me with a warning." This could be the song from which the album took its title, as it is in this song that haunted is actually mentioned. I say could, though, because perhaps that is a coincidence and the album is simply named after the theme of being haunted - haunted by lost relationships, lost memories, loss.
Now for "Spin," the song that I loved enough to buy this album without knowing what any of the other songs were like. Seems it worked out in the end, but I still want to credit a song with being awesome enough to convince me to buy an entire album just for its three minutes and twenty seconds. This song is perhaps the most haunting to me of the entire album, and that's why I love it so much. The piano, bass, guitar and what seems to be some kind of string arrangement really bring together the chilling atmosphere to this song. I also enjoy the kind of dragging percussion line and the faint synthesized melody in the background that resembles distant voices, to my ear. My favorite part of the song is definitely that with the following lyrics: "I've been brave/ Tell me again to behave/ You alter the laws of chance/ With the touch of your hand." This song paints in my head the image of an empty theme park by the ocean - kind of like Coney Island here in New York. It's helped me a lot with the brainstorming of my second in-progress novel, which revolves around an imaginary theme park within a cemetery. I guess that's sign enough that this song really impacts me - it is musically in tune with the kinds of things that fill my mind.
I did not talk about "It's Not Happening," "Epilogue," "For Life," "No or Yes," or "Moonwalking," but for the most part I enjoy all of these songs too. I just don't find myself clicking on them in my playlist as much as the others mentioned.
Also, in terms of favorites, mine from this album have to be "In the Ashes," "Vixen," "Sustaining," "Main Street," and "Spin," with "Spin" still being my all-time favorite.
Do I recommend this album? Yes, especially for those that enjoy dance music and having dark kinds of feelings, as bad as that sounds, haha. I don't care much for dance music but the chords in this album are very dark and I am a morbid person so it suits me well.
[On a side note, I've been enjoying the main song from LNA's newest single, Shine, on YouTube lately. It has the same lovely dark-dance-esque sound that this entire album entails, so I will probably purchase it if I ever come across it in-store. And if that happens, then I'll be sure to review it but, as a quick first-thoughts, yes, I recommend that as well.]
'Til next time! :D