The Best Album of 2012

Posted on January 3, 2013


Every Time I Die – ‘Ex Lives’

I hated this album when I first heard it. Okay, hate is far too strong a word, but to say I was disappointed would  be a complete understatement. It felt rushed, all the songs seemed too short and the drunken party feeling that made ‘New Junk Aesthetic’ so glorious had seemingly been abandoned. Once out in Serbia however, I started listening to it on a frequent basis, and it became clear that this album is the day after the drunken party, when all the truth comes flooding out. A cacophony of personal disgust if you will. ‘Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space’ kicks the whole thing off with a scream of ‘I want to be dead with my friends’, and its a barrage to say the least. The slow riff at the end is just glorious. ‘Holy Book of Dilemma’ and ‘A Wild, Shameless Plain’ absolutely fly by after this, with the latter being particularly brutal from time to time, with those floor toms at the end sounding huge. The album centres around 2 of the strongest songs of the entire year, in ‘I Suck (Blood)’ and ‘Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow’, both of which provide more quotable lyrics than probably the rest of 2012s output. The middle of the former is beautiful, with Buckley asking ‘Did you think I could garner attention with tact? What do you take me for?’, the story of the lyrics played out in a way with the almost vulgar video that accompanies it. It is ‘Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow’ that really kills though, in every possible way. Seemingly the story of peer pressured alcoholism, it is a raucous ride dripping in self regret. Oh, and any song that quotes Dostoevsky will always win with me.

‘Revival Mode’ is a bit of a departure for the band, and again I was really disappointed on first hearing. Its practically a pop song! Yeah, but a damn good one at that, with the same frustrated lyrical overtones throughout. The build to its climax is began with a cry of ‘I thank you for bearing witness while I waste my fucking life’, and the self pity really comes to a head afterwards. This is followed by the song that sold the album to  me, ‘Drag King’. The first couple of minutes are Every Time I Die at their heavy best, both musical and lyrical (‘what is this peace that you sneak off to at night?’), but its the ending that really got me. The last 3 weeks in Belgrade were pretty much me walking around the hostel singing the lyrical highlight of the album, that being ‘what does he have that I don’t? what does he have that I don’t except you?’. Just wonderful, in all ways.

Every Time I Die are a remarkable band, who have managed to improve with every single album they do. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of an equivalent by my own opinion. Deftones peaked with ‘White Pony’, Tool with ‘Lateralus’, Cave In with ‘Jupiter’ etc etc. With each passing album, Every Time I Die just get better and better and better. Here’s to the next one.