Blog #8 Angels And Airwaves: I-Empire
I-Empire is the second album by the alternative rock band Angels & Airwaves. It was released November 1st 2007 through Geffen Records, via the Angels & Airwaves website. Tom Delonge, of Blink-182 fame, the main songwriter and frontman of Angels & Airwaves, it is described by Tom as being a conceptual followup to the band's last project, their debut album We Don’t Need To Whisper. Tom described the new album as an album about what to do after the rebirth, again referring to the previous album which was conceptually about the themes of rebirth. The album itself is a fairly cohesive album, listening to it all the way through gives it perspective on the whole meaning of the album.
The album starts off very strong with the opener, Call To Arms, has an amazing build up, taking very little time with a spacey opener before bringing in the bass and drums with more synthesizers then building up more with a guitar riff, and a minute in the first verse starts. Later going into an interlude with Tom’s soaring vocals and then a background chant, a great opener to an album. The next song, Everything Is Magic, wastes no time with building up, opening with drums and a syncopated percussive rhythm, most likely programmed. This was the first single on the album, the chorus in this song is one of the best choruses Tom has ever written. With its giant build-up and Tom’s soaring vocal performance with an explosive chorus and immediate drawback, another great song. The next song Breathe, the intro literally feels like a nice breath, a nice slower song after the first two fast-paced songs, very well placed on the album. However, my complaint with this song is that it sounds too similar to other songs off the second half of the Blink-182 Untitled record which Tom Delonge was a part of before starting this project. I am more referring to the atmospheric background, to me it just sounds like a rehash of an earlier project Tom Delonge has done in the past, but still not a bad song. The next song, Love Like Rockets, the introduction of it has some of the weirdest samples I have ever heard over a simple piano melody before the drums and synth elements enter with a huge buildup over a verse and chorus until exploding at the end of the song before fading out to just Tom Delonge’s doubled filtered voice, decent song. The next song Sirens, starts off very differently than the rest of the album, there’s no keyboards to be heard, instead there is a bass riff with a heavily filtered guitar. This song also features some interesting “ da da da” from Tom, a staple of his between his career in both Angels & Airwaves as well as Blink-182. However, again the verse and chorus song sounds very similar to Blink-182 with just some more synth keyboards. The next song Star of Bethlehem, is a two minute long interlude that goes nowhere, alright next, it is a great transition into the next song True Love, I wish they had cut Star of Bethlehem in half and kept it as just one song True Love, but ya know I’m not in two majorly successful bands, so what do I know, my main issue is that I have no reason to listen to Star of Bethlehem and just listen to True Love, (which also has an almost two minute buildup to the verse). True Love, has a great verse and chorus, it is also very well produced, it also has more of the “oh way oh way” but this time it is very fitting in the song. The chorus of the song starts with a vocal from Tom filtered background singing “True Love” then exploding in a crescendo, really awesome technique. One of the best songs on the album! The next song, Lifeline, has a great bassline in its introduction with nice and slower tempo than the last song a nice breather. Again, this song also has a buildup around the end of the song, through it however this time it doesn’t explode nearly as much as the other one, this one is more like a nice climb on top of a hill. I really like what I think is a synthesizer that floats over the other rhythm section and tom’s voice over the first and second verse. The next song Jumping Rooftops, is a nice interlude with a nice weird effect towards the end leading into the next track Rite of Spring. These last two songs on the album, are some of the stronger parts of this whole album. The song Rite of Spring, is a great song which is very personal for Tom basically telling his own story and about thanking a higher power for it. There is a sudden end to Rite of Spring, which immediately fades into the final track on the album Heaven. This track starts with a huge buildup of synth, however this time it is done very well, as well as, several samples of previous Angels & Airwaves songs from the last song. This song also contains a similar buildup to their debut single The Adventure (which is also one of the songs sampled at the beginning), with its guitar buildup and then exploding into the verse. This song also has a similar format to it as True Love, with very similar layout as far as verse chorus. With the last minute of the song fading out to nothing.
Overall, this album is a great album, it is not their best work, but certainly isn't’ their worst. There are definitely some songs on this album that I would skip. There are also some tracks that the instrumental build up are sometimes just too long. The flow of the album for the most part the whole album starts at a high point, then really falls but then brings it backup to another high point in the middle then falls a little more but then ends on a high note with the last couple songs on the album. The standout tracks on this album for me include: Call To Arms, Everything’s Magic, Breathe, True Love, Rite of Spring, and Heaven.
ALSO P.S. Keep your eyes out on November 1st. May have a surprise I'll be announcing soon: 11/1/19...
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Cameron E. Narimanian