Musical success is a fickle thing; for any band that sticks around for more than a decade, there’s a danger of going stale. To avoid this, a lot of groups will reinvent themselves or explore new musical territories, which has its own risks. Alkaline Trio has dismissed all of these perils and after 17 years, they’ve managed to stay true to their original sound without getting boring. Their latest album, My Shame is True, is a prime example of this. I’m sure hardcore fans would argue that this album is poppier than its predecessors, which may be a little true, but the heart of the music is still the same: guitars and broken hearts.
When I first heard My Shame is True, I was immediately reminded of my high school emo/punk fangirl days when I first heard Alkaline Trio. I was initially worried that the nostalgic charm would soon wear off, but it didn’t. Though it’s true that my musical tastes have evolved and changed since high school, this album was still fun to listen to. The songs didn’t wrench my bleeding heart like what would have happened back in the day. Rather, these songs hit me in my gut; not quite as painful, but equally as deep. Though I can’t say this with any certainty, I think it was probably due to a combination of my own maturity and the band’s. And that’s a good thing for all of us.
One of the best tracks on the album was “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” which feels like a gem collected from the depths of an older album. The bass solo is unexpected and yet perfect. And lyrics like, “You haven’t lived until you’ve seen suffering like this” are sublimely full of angst.
Another great track is “I’m Only Here to Disappoint.” The aggressive tempo allows some really interesting drum-playing, and the lyrics are of the usual self-depreciating variety that makes it really catchy.
Truth be told, My Shame is True probably isn’t Alkaline Trio’s absolute best. Will I be listening to this album obsessively? Probably not. But what I appreciate and, more importantly, what I enjoy about this album is that it’s what we’ve grown to love from the band and it isn’t old or played out. Despite the album’s moniker, there is no shame to be had from My Shame is True.