REVIEW: Tonight Alive – The Other Side

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Artist: Tonight Alive
Album: The Other Side
Release Date: September 10, 2013

Often compared to Paramore, Australia’s one and only Tonight Alive has been pretty busy ever since the start of 2013: they’ve been touring non-stop from one end of the world to the other and have been taking over the #DOMO STAGE at Warped tour. The list doesn’t just stop there – they plan to perform in Australia, Europe and the States from now until the month of December. And on top of all that, they have a second album to release on their to-do list (or they’ve already released this by the time this is being read or depending on which country you live in). This new album is entitled (if you don’t already know) The Other Side.

This record starts off on a very fast and energetic pace, which captures pop punk fans’ attention right away. Filled with heavy electric guitars, upbeat drum tracks and powerful vocals, the first three songs are fun to listen to. According to lead vocalist, Jenna McDougal, “The Ocean” is speaks about a period in her life where her eczema became very severe to the point where she was having trouble performing everyday activities (ie.: untying her shoelaces, changing, etc.) She has been suffering from this skin condition for most of her life and especially then, she felt like she had lost all hope. Finally, she had overcome her sickness and then came the lyrics to “The Ocean”!

As we move past the first batch of upbeat and catchy songs, we land on some toned down tracks such as “Hell and Back” and “The Other Side.” “Hell and Back” features a softer guitar part and the singing is also quieter. This song is about those life changing moments that we all have. McDougall also sings about working her butt off in order to be where she is today as an artist. “The Other Side” has a more nostalgic sound to it. It’s a blend of those warm and fuzzy moments plus those that are not so happy. This song is about the ups and downs of the relationship cycle where people start out as just friends to a couple and back to just friends again.

We move a few songs down and we have “Complexes,” which is one of my personal favourites on the album. As the lyrics directly point out, it’s a song about needing and wanting a certain person in your life to be there and support you. However, the boy that is the main focus of this song hasn’t been there to support the musician, causing her to feel like he’s embarrassed of her.

Finally, we reach the end of the album with the last track called “You Don’t Owe Me Anything.” Compared to the rest of the album, this one song is very subdued, but still holds a lot of meaning. It’s basically an apology “letter” to somebody that she’s betrayed. The lyrics are raw and McDougall fills each word with emotion. Through the lyrics, you can picture what’s going on in your head. It’s the typical story where person A in a relationship screwed person B over and now person A is trying to explain themself, but person B refuses to listen and walks away and all we have left is person A watching B in the distance and hating themself for having done what they’ve done.

Overall, this album is definitely a “must buy”. It’s refreshing and filled with energy, which is just perfect for the start of a new (hopefully not so dreadful) school year.

By Karmin Yu

Listen to “The Ocean” below:

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