I Am, Are You?
We Are the City made their debut with their album, In A Quiet World, back in 2009. Comparing it to Violent, it really shows how much this band has grown since then. While both albums are fairly progressive and manage to channel the raw emotion within each song very well, Violent is a much more depressing endeavour. These guys, like every other human being, have had some negative experiences in their life and it certainly comes through in the lyrics and overall vibe of the album.
Every song on this album could be discussed at length, but here are a few highlights so that you get a taste of what Violent has to offer.
“King David” has no subtle opening at all and is easily the most energetic song from the album. It whips right into a heavy riff matched with some superb drumming. This was the first song I heard from the album and it instantly grabbed my attention with its opening. The rest of the song is dynamically brilliant as well, and the lyrics could be tackling a number of different things. The general theme of the album seems to be about one person in the process of dying, which is explained by “Bottom of the Lake” and “Legs Give Out”, their giant flashback through certain parts of their life, and then eventually dying by the end of the album; both parts which would be depicted by the rest of the album up until its end. “King David” specifically, appears to be about one’s struggle with religion and how they were told that they have to live by the rules of the bible, with the last few words of the song questioning if this kind of lifestyle is necessary. Just a few things that might go through your head before you die.
Moving on, to another great track, we come to “I Am, Are You?” Again, the way all the instruments and the vocals come together is incredibly effective and just about perfect. Each member of the band is making the others sound so much better than they already are, just by the way all the sound blends together. I’ve been listening to this album for almost three months now and I still can’t get over this. This isn’t the case exclusively for this song either, but every single bit of Violent. Lyrically, “I Am, Are You?” is a song about one person growing up, not knowing how cruel the world is, not knowing what needs to be done in order to “succeed” in our society until they grow up and are exposed to the so called evil that they were hidden from when they were young. It could also be about the person themselves and how they wanted to be exposed to the real world earlier than they were, but would you not want your child to be raised like you would have liked to?
We come to the crown jewel of the album, “Baptism.” The instrumentation in this song is perfect, 10/10, 5 stars, 100%, A+ and whatever conceptualization there is for perfect that I’m missing, that should be included here too. It can’t be stressed enough how well all the sounds that We Are the City manage to create here, blend to make something very special. Lyrically the song is fairly genius too. The title being “Baptism,” along with the lyrics of the song itself, show that this song is about the events that occurred before the person found themselves at the “Bottom of the Lake” (the title of the opening track).
Now, this album as a whole had a lot of good things going for it. The drums on this album are not the most technical you will ever hear, but if I had to pick one area of the album that was spot-on throughout, it would be the percussion. I can’t even think of another time when I considered percussion to go this well with the rest of the band and be as effective as it is.
This album is not perfect by any means. I can count on one hand how many albums have been released that I would consider perfect. However, Violent came very close to making me have to use two hands to count them. Easily my favourite album of 2013, and a testament to the level of quality and creativity that can still be achieved in the modern music world.
A few honourable mentions for tracks I didn’t talk about at length, but really did deserve it, go out to “Everything Changes” and “Friends Hurt.” You really shouldn’t just take my word for it though. The entire album, along with the band’s other stellar releases, are available for a listen here on their Bandcamp page.