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Consciousness
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:$29.67+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2009
I think for most SES fans, we've all been waiting a long while for their next CD, and it's nice to see that they have a tour accompanying their new CD, Consciousness.

I got the CD on the release date (thanks Amazon!), and the album is well put together. Looking through the album art and lyrics, some of the lyrics aren't 100% correct, and there are more than a couple of misspellings as well. But these are small problems, because the true product is what you hear, and that folks -- is as good as you've come to expect SES to be.

Now I'll say it up front -- their best CD was the unreleased Anxiety. And this is no Anxiety, but I think it surpasses Vultures both in lyrical quality and in musical quality. I'm no composer or musician, so I can't tell you that this riff is great, or this chord is smart or intelligent or amazing, but as SES has demonstrated time and time again, that the power of Sean's voice carries the message he's trying to convey through his lyrics.

This is as the title of my review suggests -- the lighter side of SES. There are a lot of "feel good" songs on here, like Stay Alive, or O'Lord, Walking Away, etc. Their sound has become a bit more commercial now, rather than insane yelling that I've come to appreciate, and I don't know if that's a good thing, or a bad thing -- but it's an evolution of a band I listened to since they released their first album, and as my life has personally progressed, I still feel a close bond to the band, their lyrics, and their message.

If you are looking for SES' prior works to be reincarnated in their new CD, then you will be disappointed. This is a more positive CD lyrically, and Sean has a lot of moments of very soft singing (which his voice lends itself well to, surprisingly!), and as a fan from the beginning I am very pleased with it. I rated it 4 stars only because I feel the best review should always be given to their best work, which continues to be Anxiety.

Either way, I think if you appreciate lyrical quality of any kind, then you'll appreciate SES' latest effort, and if your life started similarly to mine and you've had a positive progression through the years, you'll find SES could accompany you as you walked down your path, as they have grown with me, and I find that refreshing for a band that does touch on the "emo" chord, at least they have personal growth and their music reflects that.

Buy the CD. It's good any way you look at it, but I think some fans may not be able to relate if they themselves have not changed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2010
Though they will never match the power of their first two albums, these guys still have something special going on. To put it simply, the lead single "Don't Ever Leave" is probably one of the best songs of the year and definitely SES's best song of all time. With lyrics that are spiteful, yet curiously passive-aggressive, Sean Danielson goes from smooth singing to aggressive yet melodic screams and back again while tackling a failed relationship with what appears to be an alcoholic mess of a woman. ("I love the way you're spitting in my face, the way you scream when you're breaking all my things, I love the way you put me in my place, don't ever leave me alone.")

There are some low-points, however. Besides the boring instrumental track "Atoll," there's "Compromise," a musically wonderful song, but lyrically the band's cheesiest yet, with the chorus proclaiming "When will you realize, you're now and forever mine, you don't have to run. I won't compromise all that I know is right. You and I are one."

"Walking Away" suffers the same fate, as a hard-driving, aggressive yet emotional track that falls short lyrically. "Faceless," however, breaks this trend with lines like "God only knows the side effects of listening to static on the radio."
"Stay Alive" is a refreshing track as well, providing a positive, uplifting message for those who are having trouble dealing with life and contemplating suicide.

"L.A. River" is a scathing attack against the glitz and glamor appeal of the band's hometown of Los Angles, which, according to Danielson, isn't as glamorous as it appears, with more failed lives and broken dreams than what is usually portrayed. The music and vocal melodies are nearly perfect, with Danielson's chorus scream raw enough, yet still accessible enough to send chills down your spine. "Ban Nuys", a play on the L.A. neighborhood Van Nuys, also speaks
of hometown discontent.

The most surprising track on Consciousness, however, is "O'Lord." If you know anything about SES's catalog, you know that Danielson isn't a big fan of religion or the belief in God. Songs like "Every Sunday," and the controversial "Holes" - which was the catalyst in a massive protest by the religious right that led to the second album being scrapped in 2005 - have featured very anti-Christian lyrics. On "O'Lord" Danielson doesn't appear to have exactly become a saint, praising God, but he does now recognize the existence of a higher power, as well as his own shortcomings over the years, asking for help and forgiveness for his past disbelief and lack of faith, with the lyrics "I've been angry for way too long. God help me get my head on straight. I've been locked in a drunken haze." Most surprising is the line "Booze and broken bones are keeping me down. I need some direction, I need it right now." After "Don't Ever Leave," this is definitely the album's best track.

Though it's a great album, there's no real musical progression here. The band employs the same style as they have throughout their career, which, is refreshing
in an odd sense. So many bands seem to change so much, just TRYING to avoid sounding the same, but what they don't realize is that when you've found the right sound, its not a bad thing to stick with it. These guys have realized it and do a good job holding on to it. However, the song-writing isn't as great as it used to be, with their self-titled debut and unreleased second album Anxiety still towering above it. However, it should be noted that Consciousness is leaps and bounds ahead of their 2006 effort Vultures, which failed to produce more than a handful of memorable tunes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2009
Great album. You can definatly tell that this band has grown and changed a lot. I love every song on this album and its definatly worth the money if you are a fan of this band. By the way... can somebody tell me but did they turn Christian? From some of their songs its hard to figure out.
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on October 5, 2009
I didn't know that SES had a new 2009 album until i got on amazon.com. After loving there first cd and there 3rd.(sad there 2nd one isn't buyable)I had to give it a listen i've been following these guys since "bottom of the bottle" Saddly I need to give 'Consciousness' there 4th cd an ok rating. I don't mind slow songs,but the cd is full of them, which is when your use to them screaming things like " stupid ********** pull your head out your *** and seewhat don't you get, was i stuttering i don't need to take your **** get away from me" A mellow cd is a bit of a shocker.

I mean the lyrics are good but when i played the cd on repeat i just got bored i felt like it was lacking something. Still its not a terrable cd i just have mixed feelings on it but i get that these guys are just trying to survive in a cut throat business.(Even if it is sad that my windows media player as them pop)

Tracks:
Faker: 5 out of 5
we're though: 5 out of 5
don't ever leave: 4 out of 5
compromise: 3 out of 5
facless: 4 out of 5
staying alive: 2 out of 5
walking away: 3 out of 5
atoll (its an intro track...so poitnless)
Ban Nuys: 4 out of 5
alone with nothing: 2 out of 5
L.A. River: 3 out of 5
Reflection: 3 out of 5
O Lord: 2 out of 5
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on August 26, 2009
I have been a fan of SES since their first album and I have to say this a pretty darn good album. I will admit though that they went light on some songs and is a bit different compared to their other work. I was wrestling on the idea whether to rate it 4 or 5 stars but decided to give it 5 because even the lighter songs were good. To me the songs that stand out are Faceless, We're Through, Faker, LA River, Walking Away, and Alone with Nothing... which has an amazing Chorous. Atoll is one of those wasted Interlude tracks that has no business being on there. I heard they took a few songs off this album so i am curious to hear them if they put them on a movie soundtrack or B-sides.
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on September 16, 2009
The previous review by V. Bellomo was very accurate. While I agree with V. Bellomo, I just need to add that the previous releases were always a little raw; and I never knew if SES had a true direction. This CD is polished, well written lyrically & instrumentally. If I could tweak anything, I'd like more of the rockin' uptempo songs. Just a COUPLE light/soft songs are fine though. I hope they continue in this vein.
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on November 27, 2010
Ive been a huge fan of there's for years and this CD didnt let me down. There's not one song on here I dont love and cant relate to. They write their own songs (I know because Ive met them) and each has personal meaning. You wont be dissapointed if you're a true SES fan.
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on July 21, 2011
I really like smile empty soul but at the same time had not released a new CD. I was not really all that impressed with 'vultures' but this CD is much better and almost as good as their self titled album. Worth the $.
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on September 24, 2009
I listen to this album from first to last song and smile because is hard to find an album worth every penny. This is a great band, great step since their last album... 5 stars
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on August 29, 2010
They are my favorite band, and this cd is i think the best.
Consciousness is the best cd from Smile Empty Soul.
Good lyrics and excellent guitar riffs.
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