10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2010
Like others that commented, I have been an Against Me! fan since the Axl Rose days, and fondly recall the DIY basement shows, the originality, and the force that Against Me were in the early 00's through both the sincerity of Gabel's lyrics, and the energy of a band that sounded like no other at the time. I can truly say that Against Me! is one of the few bands that changed my life and gave me hope in humanity, as well as being the soundtrack to many good years of my life-
That said- I think that Against Me! are right where they should be today. Their talent and energy could not be bottled up for us to enjoy only in the basement, and they rightfully exploded into a band that should get recognition for writing fantastic songs. I do not expect AM to remain the same band they were 8-10 years ago, life is change, and for them it was moving on with their musical career, taking on new challenges, and paying the bills (aka adult life). While I enjoy the old albums the best -for nostalgic reasons (like the passion of any band in their youth), I still think "White Crosses" is a great album (with a few duds, not perfect), but it shows a maturity that I respect as well, and the first 3 tracks are some of the best ever from the guys.
I think that some other early-diehards (mostly who already jumped ship with "New Wave") have too many expectations about this band, and are not seeing them as human beings who are growing older and dealing with their own life situations, and writing music that reflects their lives as they are today.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
I love how all these pretentious AM! "fans" yammer on about how "my fav band sold out boo hoo" and all this other pointless bull crap. The bands doesn't owe you anything. You guys are truly fascists if you expect every one of your favorite musicians to play the same songs and not want to expand to other people (And no, their sound didn't get watered down, it matured). Not only is their musicianship top notch now, the lyrics are more powerful than ever. Songs like "Because of the Shame", "Suffocation, and "High Pressure Low" show that they still have the same edge that made me and many other appreciative fans click to them. The second disc is further evidence of this since it show cases more acoustic demos and tracks that show a bit more homage to their "Eternal Cowboy" phase. So leave your ego behind and get this CD if you truly are an AM! fan or someone curious of this band and not some lackey who can't put their stupid ideology behind them to enjoy anything.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2011
I grew up in the late 80's east coast hard core scene so I understand AM!'s raw punk folk roots and appreciate it for what it was. However at some point we all grow up and AM! has done so better than any band I can remember in the last 20 years. The message may have changed, but don't overlook the fact that there still is one.
This album is just one great song after another. And if you listen to more than Teenage Anarchist then you can pick up on some of the earlier folk influences on songs like Ache with Me and Bamboo Bones (if you spring for the deluxe - Bod Dylan Dream and Lehigh Acres) while songs like High Pressure Low and Rapid Decompression pay homage to the good old days of punk while the rest of the songs do a good job of blending old influences into catchy and polished tunes with an almost unmatched replayability. Even the baladesque We're Breaking Up and Because of the Shame have enough of an edginess to them and keep them from sounding tired.
I highly recommend the deluxe version. The 4 added songs are well worth the cost.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2010
Anyone even a little familiar with AM!'s older music knows that this is way different from those days. But it's no less awesome. Tom Gabel mentioned on his blog ifeelsicktomystomach [on blogspot] a few months ago that the album leaked, so I found myself a copy and gave it a listen. At first I wasn't overly impressed and doubted if I would even buy a copy. I loved all their previous albums, including New Wave. But hearing 'I Was A Teenage Anarchist' on Sirius at work, it was too polished sounding and pop-ish. Then Tom posted the video for it on his blog and reprinted an article he wrote for antimusic[dotcom] on how he got into the anarchist movement in the first place. Just seeing the video made me like the song a little more, but reading the article really got me to appreciate it. So when White Crosses came out and I saw that Amazon had a limited edition with four extra songs on it for the same price, I decided to buy it after all. By the third listen I was completely hooked. I absolutely love it, and I haven't even heard the bonus tracks because my cd player's busted (still listening to the leaked copy on my computer). I'm not saying it's better or worse than anything else they've done. It's just a continuation and progression. All their stuff is great in different ways. So is this. But seeing as how the reviews (everywhere, not just on Amazon) tend to be all over the map, my suggestion is to get your hands on a copy and listen for yourself. Read some of Tom's blog, watch the video, and most of all, give the album a chance. By the 3rd or 4th listen you just might find yourself listening to it nonstop too.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2011
Before I begin, a disclosure. White Crosses, the original version produced by Butch Vig (available in this combo pack download), is my favorite rock album of the past decade. It displaced New Wave, the Against Me! album also produced by Butch Vig. I appreciate, but don't really like much of Against Me's catalog that came before it (save for the singles Miami and Don't Lose Touch).
Well, at least they're still going strong. And not since Ryan Adams, Lou Barlow or Beck has artist been so heck bent on releasing every version of every song they have ever recorded. Black Crosses is the FIFTH demos album the band has released, and the second one this season following Total Clarity.
For starters, a note about the A-side. The Butch Vig version is a masterpiece - and if you have yet to discover it, don't download this, buy the White Crosses/Black Crosses double disc version on CD. Gorgeous packaging - superior sonics. Butch knows how to record and mix guitars and drums better than anyone in the business - the crackle of Nirvana's Nevermind; Smashing Pumpkins' Gish makes you HEAR colors - those albums are miracles.
OK, let's crack open this box of Black Crosses, how does this compare:
White Crosses (Goldentone) - a crackling, brisk, energetic version of the original. A- (Original A)
I Was a Teenage Anarchist (acoustic) - previously released, sweet but does not hold a candle to the essential energy and passion of the original. B (Original A++)
Because of the Shame (acoustic) - studio version of the acoustic version you can see on Tom's blog I Feel Sick to My Stomach. Lacks the passion, heartbreak and over-the-top intentional Springsteen homage that made the original an album highlight. Dare I say it, this is kind of whiny. C+ (Original A++)
The Western World (Goldtone Version of Suffocation). Similar to the Goldtone version of White Crosses: edgier, rougher, different enough from original to warrant repeat plays, and a crazy, almost tacked-on final glorious fury of a chorus/guitar solo - wow! A- (Original B+)
Strip Mall Parking Lots (Goldtone). A full electric version of the acoustic b-side that backed the High Pressure Low Acoustic 7-inch. The acoustic was awesome, but this is stellar, urgent, spectacular. A (Original B+)
High Pressure Low (Acoustic), previously released. Pleasing, but that instrument where you drag the stick across the wood ridges is out of place and kind of annoying. C (Original A+)
Hot Shots (Previously Unreleased) - how the heck did a Flogging Molly track wind up here? Against Me! explore bold new territory - and as scary as that concept is, this song rocks. A
Spanish Moss (Goldtone) - a bit more visceral and urgent than the original, a bit, break out the microscope. B+ (Original B+)
Rapid Decompression (Goldtone) - nearly identical to the original A-/A-
Soul Surrender - another new song, and a brief one. An uptempo rock song that is much easier on the ears melody wise than the recently released (B+) Russian Spies single. This one would have fit nicely in between White People for Peace and Stop on New Wave. A
Lehigh Acres (Goldtone) - again, not different enough from the Butch Vig version. A-/A-
David Johanssen's Soul - replaces Bob Dylan's Dream from White Crosses. This acoustic ode to the New York Dolls singer is less creepy than the love letter to Dylan. David: A-; Dylan Lyrics C+; Dylan Melody & Production: A-
One By One (Acoustic) - OK, this one fares quite nicely in the acoustic setting. A (Original B+)
Bitter Divisions (Goldtone) Nearly identical to original, with a more gutteral vocal take (A/A).
Bottom Line - if you're new to the Against Me! party, dive in with the double disc and change your life. If you're a Butch Vig-era loyalist, proceed with mild caution. If you think Against Me! is the greatest rock band on the planet right now (as I do), this is essential listening.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2010
For the past three years, I have listened to AM's masterpiece "New Wave" at least two times per week, no easy feat considering how many CDs I buy. I never thought they'd ever be able to top it; and much like my adoration of Blur, Liz Phair and Prince, I imagined spending years of addiction trying to get back to that original high (for those bands: Parklife, Guyville and everything post The Gold Experience respectively).
When AM dropped the preview EP for this album, I was knocked on my keester. I Was A Teenage Anarchist struck a nerve quite deep - I was swept back into my teenage shoes to look forward at the life that followed. The EP's B-sides were equally stellar, raw, crisp punk that had me wondering if AM would be stepping forward or backward with White Crosses?
Needeless to say, nothing prepared me for "Because Of The Shame." The big, sweeping chorus and dew drop piano lines careened right past the recent Springsteen homages by The Gaslight Anthem and The Killers. This song lands in flat out Jim Steinman/Meat Loaf territory. But the lyrics, wow, never before has a male rock star brought arena-rock machismo to a line as brazen as this, "Because of the shame, associated with intimacy, I am drowning myself completely." The tale appears to be a sequel to the tragic heroine we first met in New Wave's "Thrash Unreal." It's a heartbreaking masterpiece.
As Tom already proved in New Wave's "The Ocean" and "Stop!" - he is completely fearless to pursue lyrical intimacy and stadium band ambitions, and the balance of White Crosses certainly propels Against Me! forward in that direction. There's a mix of full-throttle songs that should make the gritty early AM fans happy: High Pressure Low has the daunting task of following the perfect "White People For Peace" in the political/war territory - never before would I imagine the name of former Secretary of Defense Robert Strange McNamara would make for a great rock and roll chorus. Bands that get political can often sound like buzz-killing d bags; thankfully Against Me! deftly mixes smart commentary with rock music that never forgets to rock.
The production, once again by Butch Vig, is spectacular. And yes - there are two ballads on here that take some getting used to. It's like drinking a wine cooler right after three shots of Jack Daniels. If you need to hear the band's sound stripped and raw, they currently have two new intense concert recordings available on their Web site.
This album cements Against Me! alongside the Dropkick Murphys, Rancid and White Stripes among the most urgent, visceral bands in loud, fearless modern rock. While I can't wait for the next album, this one gives me plenty to listen to intensely for years to come.
P.S. The bonus tracks found on the Limited edition are absolutely essential to the cohesion of the album. Bitter Divisions came from the advance EP and is a tight punk song to satiate the old-school AM fans. The Dylan Dream song, oddly enough, sounds more like a long-lost classic from fellow Traveling Wilbury Tom Petty. One By One is a total classic - a high-energy romp that brings the proper album to a fitting close (the remaining three bonus tracks are the righteous encore).
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2010
Although it has taken me three albums, I've come to terms with the fact that Against Me! will never again release anything quite as good as pre Searching for a Former Clarity. Everything before the last three albums is incredible and I highly recommend finding all you can including old demos. But I can understand why some may enjoy White Crosses. If you had not listened to earlier Against Me! there would be nothing to compare it to and the complete 180 would not be noticed.
I still love the band though! So many memories from awesome live shows.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2010
My first experience with Against Me! is New Wave. It made me buy the older albums and I enjoy their albums a lot. I was anticipating the new album and it is not very good. I have read the comments about a band "maturing". A band can mature but the songs still sound like crap. The songs sound closer to pop-rock then anything else they have created. The songs are boring and nothing spectacular. The positive is that the 4 songs on the special edition CD is better than the 10 songs on the album and that is sad.
on July 22, 2010
First off, i became a fan when i first heard eternal cowboy. when clarity came out, i hated all but two tracks. then they signed to sire and i rolled my eyes and bought new wave anyway. and new wave surprised me! it was pretty solid through half the record, then about track 8 just kinda fizzled out.
so here we are with, white crosses.
it leaked, and ill admit, i caved. did really expect to like it, and i did, alot. i felt really bad for "stealing it", so when the cd came out, i ran to the store and got it, with the 4 bonus tracks.
what i love most about the new against me is the most punk thing they could do was put out a very un-punk record.
with that said, we got a very poppy, polished, and different against me. i think tom gabel gave up pleasing the punk crowd, and more power to him for that! the record is solid through all ten track, and even the 4 bonus tracks are pretty decent for throw aways.
all in all, i felt this was their most solid record. not one filler song, like so much of eternal cowboy and clarity.
on July 14, 2010
I have been listening to AM since As The Eternal Cowboy and have seen them a few times live. With every album that has come out they seem to get a little more polished but I don't think there is anything wrong with that. A band isn't going to sound the same or write the same songs so people need to get over that. It is called life and hopefully we all grow and experience new things which ultimately have an influence on us.
Every time I get a new album from them I say the same thing, "Hum... this is a little different sounding but I like it." They are one of the few bands that keeps changing on every album and still keep me interested. I think that is a testsment to the great lyrics and song writing. At first White Crosses kind of souned too polished, it had lost that urgency and rawness of their early albums but it grew on me and I now love it. It is a great album and compared to most of the crap out there it is definitely a highlight for 2010.