Sound — 5
This is the second album offering from DeLonge and co strangely entitled "I-Empire" with the first being "We don't Need To Whisper". First criticism is of course the album title "I-Empire," another product of the so called 'I Generation'? nowadays it seems as if an 'I' is placed in front of something it's deemed cool but hey it's just an album title! This is a rock album, twelve tracks in length but you can't help but feel cheated due to the fact that one song in particular, 'Star Of Bethlehem' that was originally realeased last Christmas for a KROQ compliation is divided stupidly into two songs for "I-Empire" titled 'Star Of Bethlehem' and 'True Love' and also another track entitled 'Jumping Rooftops' is a time wasting 45 seconds instrumental track that my nine year old brother could put together using GarageBand. The overall sound and structure is quite similar to "We Don't Need To Whisper" however the band do stray of track with songs 'Everythings Magic' and 'Rite Of Spring' the formers main riff sounding identical to 'Anthem Part 2' by Blink 182 and the ladder song a dismal potrayal of Delonge's teenage years. Maybe I'm being too harsh but when I listen to this album it's seems as if the band struggled to make up the twleve tracks, as if they ran out of ideas because a lot is regurgitated over and over, the same effects, the long intros, the stadium-like sounds but overall it is very polished and does sound great when turned up loud!
Lyrics — 2
A song writer in general will and should progress and get better with time and practice, this cannot be said for Tom Delonge and I'm talking words and lyrics here not music! Lyrically Angels and Airwaves are very different to Blink 182 and Boxcar Racer. Where he used to write and sing about angst, relationships, break ups, depression, teenage fun etc he now writes and sings about, that's the thing, what does he sing about? you certainly cannot relate to any Angels and Airwaves song! How many of us can actually say we've experienced "I held my head as it left the ground, the belts grew tight as the blast grew loud, a loving wish whispered in my ear" whereas millions of fans worldwide could relate to Blink 182 and the darker Boxcar Racer. In my opinion Tom Delonge is trying to hard, he's desperately trying to be something he's not! He comes across as an arrogant rock star (not just on record but live as well, the struts, the moon stomps, the speeches etc) craving for attention! Anyway back to the lyrics actually, no thanks! If you want to hear Delonge at his best listen to Blink 182's self titled or Boxcar Racer.
Overall Impression — 3
If you're a fan of U2 then you'll love this space age/stadium rock/U2-esque band. To be honest I'm not quite sure if Delonge has yet to win over the many Blink 182 fans he betrayed but I can honestly say Plus 44 (former Blink 182 memebers Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker) are much better. Best song on the album would have to be 'Sirens' as it's a departure from the rest of the album, with the Blink 182 like bass riff and catchy pre-choruses. Overall a very pretentious and predictable second and hopefully final album from Angel and Airwaves. I dread to think what the forthcoming Angels and Airwaves motion picture is like!