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4.0 out of 5 stars Secret & Whisper- Teenage Fantasy [crobsession.tumblr.com], April 11, 2010
This review is from: Teenage Fantasy (Audio CD)
Let's backtrack a little to 2008. Secret & Whisper releases Great White Whale, a purely amazing album featuring heavy and often melodic guitars with quick drumming and even a few slower songs featuring some acoustic talent. Deep and thoughtful, often cryptic lyrics paired with unbelievably high but often unforgettable vocals gave the album an enchanting feel that made it stick out among the many other debuts of that year. To this day, it remains one of my favorite albums to debut in the Christian rock market.

2009. A rumor gets spread about the internet late in the summer saying that Secret & Whisper would be releasing their sophomore album late October. Fans geared themselves for a release that they were sure would follow in the footsteps of their mystical debut. Unfortunately, that rumor proved only to be a rumor, and the actual release date was set for February. Only this time, the band gave listeners a single to hold them over until then. It was called "Warrior (Southern Arrowwood)" and proved to be the center of controversy among fans. Some liked it, some loved it, and some hated it. Overall it was a solid track that proved to be all that I expected it to be--all of the obscure lyrics and fast-paced music that we've come to know and love.

2010. The date of the release gets pushed back once again. April 6 was the date, and the impatient wait is finally over. Teenage Fantasy is out, and may not quite be what everyone was expecting. Secret & Whisper maintains their heavy and melodic guitars throughout, but along the way tosses in a few experimental sounds to keep things from staying the same. "Pretty Snarl" is evidence of this, an entirely instrumental track. I can kind of understand the band putting it on the album, but it seems unnecessary when thrown in with all of the other tracks. While you probably won't find much slower music than that on the album (besides a few moments in the last two tracks), but I wouldn't say the album is any heavier than their last effort. It's about the same in that aspect, yet a lot more ambient overall, which is something that might turn down the volume for some people. I found it slightly strange at first, but it's something you have to get used to.

Songs like "Youth Cats," "Edge of Wilderness," and "Whale Bones" all really stick out to me. The first one opens the album in a perfect manner, setting the stage for more hard-hitting tracks to follow. "Edge of Wilderness" introduces some guitars that are at times eerie and intense and other times wonderfully melodic and beautiful. "Whale Bones," my favorite track on the album, is a lot like "Looming Moon" from Great White Whale. It also has a heart-wrenching chorus, emotional verses, and a perfect-sounding bridge featuring vocals by Jeff Schneeweis, lead singer of Number One Gun and the very man who produced this album.

The lyrics of Teenage Fantasy are just as mysterious as their last album, if not more. At moments, I feel like Falling Up has gotten back together and collaborated with SAW. It's not quite as confusing, but it does take some thought--something I don't particularly mind. But, when compared to The Classic Crime's newest album (which was released on the same date as Teenage Fantasy) Vagabonds proves to be a much easier listen. After hearing SAW's sophomore album, I made the transition to put TCC's album in my CD player and immediately noticed the vast difference. TCC's lyrics seem so much more down-to-earth than SAW's, which overall makes their album more enjoyable. Again, this isn't to say I don't like SAW's lyrics--it's quite the opposite. I was just slightly disappointed that Teenage Fantasy did not include any songs with apparent meanings like "You Are Familiar," "The Actress," or "Looming Moon."

I recall the first time listening to Great White Whale and thinking, "Man, this is weird." It took me a while to get used to the insane lyrics, but after a week or two I was all in. For me, it took me a little less time to accept Teenage Fantasy for what it is. Although I still don't like it as much as their debut, it's a great album that most fans will probably find to their liking.
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