There are only a handful of albums that have made me think “Wow, I really like every song on this album.” Three Days Grace’s “One-X,” Lincoln Park’s “Minutes to Midnight” and Nothing More’s self titled album are really the only three that come to mind.
With the release of “The Stories We Tell Ourselves,” Nothing More became the first band to make the list for a second time.
“The Stories We Tell Ourselves” is the fifth studio album from Nothing More and shares many similarities with past albums, while also expanding on past ideas.
Immediately jumping out is that there are more of what I like to call “transition songs.” Some of these are similar to “Ocean Floor” from the 2014 album, in the fact they flow into the next track after providing build up. Others continue the use of speeches from British philosopher Alan Watts, which are found throughout multiple tracks in the album.
The track “Convict/Divide” has both of these traits, and Watts speaks and leads into the next track “Let ‘em Burn.” Expanding on these elements from 2014’s album helps to give the album a cohesiveness, and makes it feel almost like a movie that needs to be enjoyed in one sitting. While most songs from the self titled album can be enjoyed individually — as can the songs on “The Stories We Tell Ourselves” — songs on the new album greatly benefit from having these transition songs. Anybody who doesn’t listen to the album in one sitting the first time is robbing themselves of an incredible experience.
The album kicks off with a transition song title “Ambition/Destruction.” It builds up, giving the listener little snippets of the songs that are to come. Just as it seems the speakers are about to bust, it effortlessly flows into “Do You Really Want It.” The band uses this tool a few more times throughout the album.
“Let ‘em Burn” follows Nothing More’s history of political songs, commenting on the idea that politicians use fear tactics to get what they want. The Lyrics “They preach the blood, in fear we trust. Embellish it, it sells itself, and I’ve bought in for the last time,” really helps drive home the theme of the track.
“Go to War” will most likely be remembered as the biggest hit from the album, especially considering it is already being played on the radio. This is understandable, considering it isn’t as hard as some of the other tracks and will appeal to more mainstream listeners, which isn’t a knock at the song. It still has that signature Nothing More sound to it.
My personal favorite song is “Fade In/Fade Out.” The song recounts the events of a son noticing that his father is growing old, and his father giving him advice on how to live his life. “I will watch you fade in, you will watch me fade out,” provides the theme of old entities passing as new ones come into existence. This is further supported by the lyrics, “Just the other day I stared at the ocean, with every new wave, another must go.”
If there is one word to describe “The Stories We Tell Ourselves,” it is emotion. Raw emotion. This is something I noticed immediately when I first started listening to Nothing More a few years ago. Whether it is a harder song that makes you want to destroy everything around you, or a softer song that will almost certainly bring a tear to your eye, Nothing More are masters of making people feel. And that’s what music should always be about, making people feel.