Tonight Alive are back after the success of their 2013 album The Other Side set out with their newest album Limitless which was released March 4th. The album is a completely stripped down and rebuilt version of Tonight Alive, one which Jenna McDougall said "is just as much about redefining boundaries as it is about challenging the illusory concept of boundaries itself." When the band announced that they would be moving in more of a pop direction, it was clear that a lot of people weren't too happy about it.
Opening with To Be Free, the album begins on a relatively electronic note. The music is softer than previous Tonight Alive tracks, coupled with repetitive 'no, no, no's' which lean towards the pop genre of music.
One thing that can't be taken away from this album is the vocal ability of established frontwoman Jenna McDougall, but lyrically the album isn't at its strongest.
With pretty generic pop-punk themes including breaking out and against the norm. For example Drive's chorus: So I'm gonna drive tonight // yeah yeah yeah yeah // until we see the light // no no no no // and we say yeah yeah yeah yeah // no no no no // my way or the highway // I'm gonna drive tonight // away from the city life. However, one thing that does come with using basic lyrical structures like that in Drive and most of the rest of the album is that the songs become quite catchy.
There seems to be a bit of relief from the pop-focused first half of the album with How Does It Feel?
The punchy guitar riff that opens the track draws back memories of previous album 'The Other Side' and the chorus is bity and loud - a perfect live sing-a-long.
I Defy is another song that is reminiscent of its predecessor. With the same formula, yet still slightly experimenting with a few electronic sounds, the hard-hitting bassline of the song and melody is a reminder that the rest of the album is just missing that special something to set it apart.
As a whole the album is quite monotonous. Its execution isn't quite complete, and the album's flirtation with electronic music comes across as a bit generic.
It's no surprise that working with renowned producer David Bendeth (who has previously worked with Paramore and Bring Me The Horizon - see the trend?) has led to an expressive album that trials many different structures and formulas as part of an experimental record. It is an ambitious attempt but unfortunately is not one in which they have had much success.
With artists like Bring Me The Horizon reinventing themselves so successfully, Tonight Alive are going to have to do a lot more to raise the bar in this instance. However, if they are to continue down this path, hopefully they will treat Limitless as a learning curve and come back with a much stronger record.
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