Dance Gavin Dance Releases Seventh Album, Instant Gratification
Let me start off by disclosing that for me to say that I was eager for this album to release would be an absolute understatement. From the beginning of my long-haired scene middle school days Dance Gavin Dance has been one of my all-time favorite bands. Despite multiple line-up changes with their lead clean vocalist throughout the years, every single album they’ve released (now seven, counting Instant Gratification) has been—at their very worst—a great record. Instant Gratification is the second full-length they’ll have recorded with now-vocalist Tilian Pearson, former Tides of Man vocalist, so he’s already had 11 tracks to become accustomed to Dance Gavin Dance’s beautifully chaotic style. Leading up to the album’s official release, the band let out three singles (“On the Run”; “We Own the Night”; and “Stroke God, Millionaire”), each of which steadily increased my anticipation for the rest of the album. So, the question still remains, with all the hype, how exactly did the album turn out? Read on for a track-by-track review of Dance Gavin Dance’s seventh album (aka: DGD7)…
- “We Own the Night”
The album opener, “We Own the Night”, ended up being the second track I listened to, is definitely one of the album’s top tracks. The song opens up by tossing you right into its chorus, which is bit surprising, but then washes out into a funky, catchy verse. The drums on this track really help to make it stand out as a piece of DGD gold.
- “Stroke God, Millionaire”
The third single the band released prior to the album’s release, “Stroke God, Millionaire” is chaotic in a way that Dance Gavin Dance has seemed to master, thanks to Will Swan on the guitar. While not one of the best songs off this album, it’s definitely one that’s worth multiple listens.
Notable lyrics: “I’m in love with the feeling that I’m loved; not alone. Stroke my ego, turn me into God.”
- “Something New”
The first time I heard “Something New” I saw it on a live Youtube video the band’s label put out about a month before the album released, and Tilian unfortunately subjected it to a very subpar performance. After hearing it on the album, though, it is definitely one of the top five songs. Slightly easier on the ears for those listeners among us who are not completely into hardcore and screamo music, Tilian’s clean vocals really shine on this track!
Notable lyrics: “Too fed, I lost the feeling; leave it alone, I’m asleep so I’m healing. All great things have battle scars, you wanna swap this belief with a greater art?”
- “On the Run”
As mentioned earlier, “On the Run” was the first single to be released before the album’s official release. A fairly typical, chaotic, unpredictable Dance Gavin Dance song for the most part, aside from a surprisingly lyrically romanticized bridge toward the end of the song. Personally, I happen to think this makes the song complete and allows it to stand out a little bit from the rest of their work, which is something that tends to happen with their music occasionally. Thoughts??
Notable lyrics: “I did you wrong, now let me atone. Cause I don’t think we’ll make it all alone. I got a feeling that we’re here to stay, stick with me and I can take you there. I’m not about to throw it all away, holding on to what we got, so rare.”
- “Shark Dad”
If you’re more of a metal buff, please give this track a listen. “Shark Dad” is absolutely packed with energy, and this is one of Jon Mess’s (scream vocalist) shining moments on the album. When I first heard this track, I had to go back through and listen to the first four tracks to gain a better appreciation of Mess’s vocals on this album, because it really highlights how raw they were recorded and produced and it really adds a nice piece to the tracks.
Notable lyrics: “Now I can’t find the person that was you, oh no, I can’t remember. The leaves were bound to change; I loved you in the summer.”
“Awkward” turned out to be one of my favorite tracks off of Instant Gratification, mostly because it has a piece of every best part of Dance Gavin Dance that I love. An awesomely technical guitar, Wonderful clean vocals, a few tastefully sprinkled in heavier parts, and some clean guitar sections that all come together to make for such a listenable song.
Notable lyrics: “Now and then, I get a little bit full of myself and start dreaming, I can’t help it. But you’re a friend, you keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds; show me how to doubt myself.”
- “The Cuddler”
For some reason this song just gets to my old emo soul in such a refreshing way. By no means is it a song I would compare to the old middle school scene music I would cry to after breaking up with my girlfriend of two months, but something about the way the song opens with the lyrics “Talk about your feelings, I’m going pitch black. Talk about my feelings, I don’t wanna, f*ck that” really gets me. The verses are also undeniably catchy, so there’s that too. Definitely up there in the top five tracks on the album!
(Other) Notable lyrics: “I got a feeling I deserve it, wanna hurt me- baby get in line. The way you’re killing me is perfect, stare until it makes me blind.”
One of the duller songs on the album, in my opinion, “Legend” comes in as good at best. The song itself just seems to get lost among the rest of the tracks on the album, and there really isn’t anything about it in particular that I can point to or listen to and think “Wow, that’s some good sh*t right there,” as most other Dance Gavin Dance songs tend to do for me.
- “Eagle vs. Crows”
This is definitely one of the most unique songs on the album, thanks to an abrupt rap session in the middle of the song by Jon Mess. It’s actually kind of catchy, as it’s paired up with a clean, funky guitar lick and some smooth drumming. As far as the rest of the song goes, I can’t say it’s all too different from most of what we’re used to with this lineup of Dance Gavin Dance, but it is still, without a doubt, an enjoyable song to listen to.
Notable lyrics: “This is the modern man, modern plan, future transition. Worship the work and the product, American Joy Division.”
- “Death of a Strawberry”
A combined ode to the three-part “Strawberry Swisher” and “Death of the Robot with Human Hair” tracks off of previous Dance Gavin Dance albums, this song just makes me so happy from beginning to end. My absolute favorite track off the album, it has such an awesome, upbeat sound to it. There are just so many parts to this song that make it a home-run for every musician in the band. Along with that, it is easily the most listenable track off the album for music-lovers who don’t exactly appreciate screaming and blast beats. If you happened to make it this far in the review, you will definitely want to give this song a good listen or 20. Will Swan destroys the guitar parts on this track, by the way.
Notable lyrics: “Swinging back and forth, all my faults are peaking past the surface. Is it worth it to fall back down?”
Unfortunately, I ended up being slightly disappointed with this track, despite hearing about some other fans’ positive regard for it on various blogging sites where this album was discussed. As my other concerns on some of the other tracks that I thought were a little stale, there really just isn’t enough in the song to make it unique and noteworthy. There is a bit of a breakdown toward the end of the track that is definitely put together well, but other than that, slightly unimpressive.
Finally, the last track off of Dance Gavin Dance’s 7th album, “Lost.” As with the previous track, this one, also unfortunately, falls under the same category for me. Tilian’s vocals just don’t really hold up to the rest of the band’s instrumentation throughout the track, and it makes for a listening experience that is a bit more abrasive than I’m used to when it comes to Dance Gavin Dance’s typically epically composed chaotic masterpieces.
Notable lyrics: “Don’t have time to meditate the meaning of the rain, synchronize our memories ‘till we all think the same.”
If you’ve made it this far and you’re not the editor, chances are you like Dance Gavin Dance as much as I do. Please, please get in touch with me so we can meet and talk about music some time. Overall, I rate Dance Gavin Dance’s Instant Gratification as a very solid 8. It is an album I can listen through from start to finish without ever really having to look for the ‘skip’ button.
[Image source: ticketfly.com]