Universal Pulse review by 311

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  • Released: Jul 19, 2011
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (6 votes)
311: Universal Pulse

Sound — 9
311 comes back after 2 years after the release of "Uplifter". The album "Uplifter" was a 16 track album if you went to the effort of getting the Deluxe edition (with "I Like The Way" and "Get Down") both of which are worthy of being in the Album (fans love "Get Down") and the bonus tracks of "Sun Comes Through" and "How Long Has It Been". Fans seem to gravitate toward "Get Down" and "Sun Comes Through" as the most worthy. As for "Universal Pulse". It is a 8 song album. Which has thrown a lot of fans off. But, for what it is all 8 of these songs are winners. From the get go the Album starts off with an upbeat tribute to the fans and a recall of rehearsing for shows in "Time Bomb". The song follows with an interesting take on how life was/is while partying and trying different substances. The album follows with the lead single "Sunset" in July where it is a straight-forward tribute to the fans that come every summer and "rock out" while the sun sets. The album has a very catchy and 311-vibe filled energy. By song #4 the song digs deeper into the youthful exploits of drugs and partying in the more chill-vibed, but very introspective "Trouble" (One of my favorites) and follows with a more General Pubilc "Count Me In" Where is talks about... If you do it, I will-Kind of reggae rock 311 tunes (cool shizz). Rock On is the more truthful/dirty side of all that partying where people don't really care what's going on and just want to do as much as possible and get caught up in "the game" of drugs and dealing. Bringing it to a blunt line of "don't care what you're doing, using whatever drugs come your way, (turning into) beg, steal and borrow (Whatever you have to do) to keep up that lifestyle". Basically the message is that it is Self-destructive and there are times where you don't know what the heck is going on and you just keep going just to keep your habit and the "party" alive. Very true to old 311 roots, and also a thought provocative song about what people are willing to do (A harder rock song). Rock/chillin' out with "Weightless" which is a easily enjoyable catchy rock song. It seems to be about individuality and the greater thought that deep thought can bring you to a state of weightlessness (That's my take anyway). Good tune. Very rock heavy with a slick lead guitar by Tim Mahoney, and a very very heavy breakdown. Break away from "Them" and be your own individual. Finally "Universal Pulse" ends with "And A Ways To Go" which is a song that is about a deep search that describes a crazy dream that seems to be about others (form another planet maybe) to show the answers of life. The ending portraying a liftoff into another "realm" where those involved are not sure if they want to return. A state of enlightenment? Or maybe traveling to a new land where those may forget ties with Earth? Who know. But to me it seems to be a very "Mission To Mars" feel. If you've ever seen the movie, the ending basically matched this song (to me). Very great effort/album by 311. Not much like "Uplifter" at all. Shorter but fulfilling that classic 311 style. I definitely recommend this album. Peace... And "Rock On" to all those perusing the musical front. "Come on yeah it'll be alright, we're gonna take a ride I don't know if we'll come back"

Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are much more substantial than of "Uplifter". Things dealing with substance abuse and the thought of a new reality. There are a couple songs that are more geared to a "fan-base" style where the group thanks their fans for their continued following and the perk of rocking out LIVE. The rest is more oriented around self and substance.

Overall Impression — 9
GOOD! Get it.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Boring live performance?!? These guys have put on a great live show every time I've seen them.
    Just seen 311 live w/ Sublime last week, pretty boring live performance, but then again I'm not a huge fan even though I am familiar with most of their studio songs. I listened to their entire discography prior to the show, I found them for the most part pretty mediocre with a few solid songs every now and then. After listening to them for awhile, every song starts to blend together and sound the same which leads me to believe I will never become more than a casual fan of these guys. Universal Pulse was alright, I just remember it being really short (it is like 28 minutes or something like that), so this album flies by. But, again, I didn't find it all that great. I'd give it a 5.75/10. I couple catchy tunes like every 311 album, but fails to impress me beyond that.
    First off thanks for writing the review, I think I'm kind of the opposite of most "long time fans" I too have been listening to these guys since music etc and they are who got me into playing guitar, but my complaint isn't the typical, "ooh noez y dont tey bring back teh grassrootz souNds!?" If anything I'm tired of the fact that they have been singing about the same things forever and in less catchy ways with each new album they release. I mean how many albums can they make that start out celebrating drugs and then switching over to a PSA about the ill effects of drugs? or talking about aliens and other realms etc... To echo those who wish for grassroots and older albums again, at least the rapping/singing was tight on those albums, and the music was much better back then, they have a few songs here and there now that are okay but the direction they've been going in on the last few albums is very disappointing to me. I have no problem with change, and I don't expect them to release the same albums over and over but, the problem is that although they say they are always evolving, really that's only half true the music has changed into some mediocre at best pop rock stuff lately but they're lyrics are the same as always.
    Mission to Mars? You mean that 2001: A Space Odyssey rip off movie? Why not just mention the ending of 2001 for that matter!
    Exactly, they're always awesome and energetic live. This is a very good album. The lyrics have gotten stale over the years, but this is a lot better than Uplifter in that regard. You listen to 311 because Chad Sexton is a great drummer, P-Nut puts some great basslines, and Tim Mahoney has some interesting guitar riffs.
    if only 311 would tour with Slightly Stoopid on the seedless summer tour, my summer would be amazing!