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The Classic Crime- Vagabonds (...)
on April 9, 2010
A while back, when Anberlin was set to release their third album, Cities, their biography gave examples of artists whose third album defined their career, and called Cities one of those albums. I would have to agree--it definitely changed my status from just liking their music to being an all-out fan. And while The Classic Crime's career may have already been defined (their debut was the fastest-selling in Tooth & Nail history), their third full-length album has changed me... I am now an all-out fan.
There's something new and refreshing about The Classic Crime, and I think their biography sums it up best: "a newfound sense of whimsy." While The Silver Cord was somewhat somber and a little depressing in places, Vagabonds brings the most light-hearted effort from the band yet. The change is no doubt for the better, and, in my opinion, makes it one of the best albums to come along in quite some time.
While some albums you listen to and point out the amazing music, and others you can enjoy the genius lyricism, Vagabonds is a near-perfect combination. Matt MacDonald's vocals reach places bigger and better than ever before, and the simplicity of the music is one thing that makes it so memorable. Take the opening track for example, "Perfect Voice," boasting two chords throughout. Overall it's an extremely fun song, one you can bet will be on the set-list for live shows. The lyrics briefly take on some serious meaning, unashamedly blunt--"I may not be a perfect man but I'll still stand/ Yeah, I'm counting on grace to win this race for me in the end/ I may not sing your favorite songs but I don't sing for you/ `Cause if I did I would have been gone long ago."
With most albums you can sort through and point out tracks that stick out, but with Vagabonds, that's a little harder to do. Nearly every track is outstanding. A few months ago on the band's Facebook page, they told fans that they did not create "filler"--every song they make has meaning to them and is fit to be on a record. While I might look at a song or two on their last album and possibly consider them as such, Vagabonds has no such thing.
The album's first single, "Solar Powered Life," is The Classic Crime's simplest track ever, coming across as unbelievably catchy and clever at the same time. It's really something to hear TCC singing carefree sort of songs like this, and I hope it continues with their future efforts. "Four Chords" follows suit, describing the band's love for music. The title track is constantly getting stuck in my head, and highlight's MacDonald's talent in near-perfect light. Also, the cowbell in the chorus is an excellent touch.
While much of the lyrics on the album deal with carefree matters, songs like "The Happy Nihilist" speak of someone who believes there is no absolute truth. Things might even get a bit harsh for the ears of some listeners when MacDonald sings "It still hurts like hell to trust nobody else but me," depending on their convictions. Despite this, the following song is beautiful, lyrically and musically, declaring, "I will walk through the fire/ I will not be afraid/ They can take everything that I have/ But they can't give me my name." The final two songs are about the trials of love, and are two of my favorite on the album.
While I can rant and rave about how good I thought Vagabonds is, I've been noticing that hardcore fans of The Silver Cord aren't liking it as much. I, personally, don't understand this. Vagabonds has so much that The Silver Cord lacked... manly the lively energy musically and the brilliant songwriting. Vagabonds also flows better as an album, while The Classic Crime's sophomore album had a few songs that I preferred to skip. To put it plainly, The Classic Crime has outdone themselves with this album... and Vagabonds is just the beginning.