Album Review: Astoria

Mini-description: In my first album review, I cover the latest album by Marianas Trench and it ends up being one of the best albums I've ever listened to.

Personal: 9/10, Objective: 10/10

Best Songs: "Astoria", "Dearly Departed", "Wildfire", "One Love", "Who Do You Love", "While We're Young", "Forget Me Not", "End of an Era", all five interludes
Worst Songs: "Burnin' Up", "Shut Up and Kiss Me", "Yesterday", "This Means War" (all great songs, I will explain in the review)

Hello everyone, and for my debut review of a full length LP, I start with the rather recent album from Marianas Trench, Astoria. I actually went into this record empty-handed with knowledge of Marianas Trench and was surprised that I received this much.

So is this album good? YES. Is it great. Yes! Is it a modern masterpiece? Well...yeah. Is it perfect? This album is technically perfect, but I have a few minor nitpicks with it. Let's get in it.

It's difficult to tell where to start. The production on this album is absolutely phenomenal. You go from the Bohemian Rhapsody-esque title track which is probably the best song on the album, to the energetic Burnin' Up, to the crushing One Love, to the soulful violin and ukelele to acapella of Dearly Departed, to the exploding crescendo of Wildfire. It's scattered and yet so coherent.

Josh Ramsay's voice can be a bit of a double-edged sword here. It makes some songs a little bit grating, but his range is like nothing I've ever seen before. Even when his voice shakes in songs like One Love, it only builds the distressed atmosphere of a lot of these songs. His screaming in songs like One Love, Wildfire, and End of An Era can go either way, honestly.

With the exception of the opening title track, I think the album might have started off a little weak. Burnin' Up is probably my least favorite on the album, not because it did anything bad (it's still semi-perfect), but it was just not up to the standards for the rest of the album. Not only that, it, along with Shut Up and Kiss Me, Yesterday, and This Means War didn't really make sense in context of the album despite all if them being almost perfect. It's supposed to be about ending the chapter of struggles for Josh, not beginning or being in there.

These lyrics are...really deep. Even in the not as deep songs, like the "you know you like it" style of Burnin' Up and the gleefully impatient Shut Up and Kiss Me, were fantastically written songs. Then you have the chapter-closing (though album-beginning) tirle track, the confused One Love, the soulful Dearly Departed, the depressed Forget Me Not, and then the concluding End Of An Era which isn't my favorie on the album because that would be unfair; how can anyone not like it?

All five of the the interludes work well. The violins of the ironic August Burns Red, the twinkly piano and chimes of Hospital Bells which is probably my favorite of the interludes, the massive Hollywood Renaissance (I spelled that without looking at the title), the soulful Never Say Die, and then the revolutionary And Straight On 'Til Morning. They all transition the album in a fantastic way.

Literally, there is no reason to dislike this album. It's tuneful, heavy, versatile, and personal. The last few lines of End of an Era are borderline Shakespeare and Beethoven level of mind-blowing. The story of Josh's on-and-off ex of 10 years, his mother's dementia, and his addiction and insomnia, all closed by the symbol of this album that is Astoria. My personal gripes with this album lower it a bit, though. My personal rating is a very strong 9/10, and my objective rating is a perfect 10, with my highest recommendation ever. It's not the best album I've ever listened to, but it's definitely one of the most well-crafted records of the decade.