The Menzingers: After the Party – Review | Cross Examinations

Release Date: February 3, 2017
Label: Epitaph
Genres: Heartland Rock / Indie Rock / Pop Punk (debatable) / Punk Rock

The Menzingers is one of the many Punk Rock acts to incorporate Heartland Rock into their sound; The Gaslight Anthem is the first band that immediately comes to mind). This album really did not disappoint me. While every single track on here is sonically pleasing and makes you want to give it multiple listens as well as nod your head up and down, it has an overall relatable subject matter. This album is riddled with questions and thoughts about living life in the twenties and eventually having to grow up afterward. One such question is one that is entirely relatable to me, so relatable in fact that I will probably ask it in about nine years when I turn thirty: “Where we gonna go now that our twenties are over?”

The album’s opener “Tellin’ Lies” has Greg Barnett, the band’s lead vocalist, wondering about what life has in store for him now that he has turned thirty. A really strong opener. The second track “Thick as Thieves,” in my opinion at least, is a song about a friendship, or maybe even a relationship, that the narrator had during his “party years.” The narrator throughout the song refers to himself and his friends as kings, which can be verily justified, as hanging out with friends could make one seem like they’re on top of the world. I also really enjoyed the opening lyric to the track: “I held up a liquor store demanding top-shelf metaphors.” There’s just something about it that seems so poetic.

Lookers” is a song that really showcases nostalgia on looking back to the fun times and looking forward to the future. It makes a reference to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Midwestern States” is definitely a hard rocker on the album and has some of the most relatable lyrics on the entire album. With gems like “Been having problems with our landlords” to “We both got worthless diplomas from worthless universities,” this song really makes for one of the best songs of the album, and even perhaps the whole year.

Charlie’s Army” is a short track and very to the point about the narrator’s altercation with his girlfriend’s ex. It is a very fun track and has one of the best lines on the entire album: “Tell your men I ain’t afraid to die / If loving Julie is a capital crime. “House on Fire” has this really bombastic chorus that makes you want to sing along with it. “Bad Catholics,” another one of the album’s best songs, explains how the narrator and his love interest are, as the title suggests, bad Catholics. It offers some smirk-worthy lyrics such as “To everyone, you’re such a sweet church girl / But I know your secret.”

This is a heartfelt look back on the narrator’s, possibly lead vocalist Greg Barnett, twenties, which is called in the context of the album “the party.” The album’s cover might indicate that the man sitting on the ground holding his head in his hands is either hungover from the party that was his twenties or afraid/nervous to see what’s ahead of him, or perhaps even both. On one of the rides, there is a blur that can be seen. This could symbolize how fast the party, the time of living between the ages of twenty to twenty-nine, has gone. It could also symbolize how the man on the cover is leaving everything behind in order to “grow up.”

Favorite tracks: Even though I did not mention them all on this review, I really enjoyed every single track on this album. I have been listening to this album pretty much non-stop for the last few weeks and I probably won’t. I have a very strong feeling that this album could make the top ten rock releases of this year. It really speaks to me on a personal level, and it says everything that I have been thinking about ever since I realized that I have to grow up, or something to that extent.

Overall, I give this album an 89 / B+ for its excellent mesh of Punk Rock and Heartland Rock music, its definitely relatable lyrics and overall story and theme, and for its affect that it had on me throughout the first listen and the subsequent listens after that.

Thanks for existing,

Austin

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