Music

Angels & Airwaves: I-Empire

Where Whisper came off like an ego-driven side project, I-Empire paints the Angels as a fully-fledged band.


Angels & Airwaves

I-Empire

Label: Geffen
US Release Date: 2007-11-06
UK Release Date: 2007-11-05
Amazon
iTunes

Whenever you stand in a famous spot -- like the Walk of Fame in Hollywood or the Space Needle in Seattle -- do you get that strange rush knowing that you are standing where famous people once stood, acted, performed? Well, hopefully you're experiencing that feeling right now in reading this review, because it's obvious that ex-Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge reads his reviews all the time. It shows through every note of I-Empire that he's taken all the criticisms he's received and used them to his advantage.

When the horribly-named band debuted with We Don't Need to Whisper back in '06, it was obvious that DeLonge was indulging his every whim and making listeners suffer because of it. Extended guitar solos, two-minute long song openings, enough reverb to kill a small child, etc. Somehow, with his own brand of U2-influenced space-rock, he mistook longer song lengths as being rock-critic slang for "epic", when the word "pretentious" would have suited much better. All of this is what makes I-Empire such a revelation: DeLonge -- serving as producer, songwriter, and vocalist/guitarist all at once -- strips away the excess and just goes right for the heart of what Angels & Airwaves is (seemingly) all about: grandiose pop-rock with a healthy dash of New Wave. He practically upstages A&A's debut album track-for-track, and he scores triumphantly with the one-two punch of "Star of Bethlehem" and "True Love" (the former of which serves as just a setup for the latter). His songwriting is tighter, catchier, and despite his overly cliché lyrics (the album's biggest drawback), tracks like the pounding "Sirens" and the sure-fire opener "Call to Arms" still retain quite a punch. Where Whisper came off like an ego-driven side project, I-Empire paints the Angels as a fully-fledged band. Give them time: you may even forget that this was the guy who wrote "All the Small Things" to being with.

7

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image