Review by Bobby Falvo
Vans, skinny jeans, black clothes, iPod classics, and nostalgia galore; Story of The Year turned back the clock for all of us with this album and are out here proving why they were on top, and why they are going to be back on top of the world. Being the second concert I ever attended at the time age of 12, this band holds a special place in my heart for certain. Staying true to their pop-punk roots while peppering in some heavy breakdowns a-la A Day To Remember, it feels as though they gave us their absolute all with this release and I’m here for it. “I think this album will be a defining moment in our career”, says guitarist Ryan Phillips, “When our fans hear it, they’ll be like ‘Oh Shit! These dudes are ready to GO!’ This is the sound of a band putting everything into it. If a new band came out with this album, I’d be texting everyone in my band about it”. I can’t say I disagree with him, this album is a friggin GEM! Let’s dive in:
We are treated with Tear Me to Pieces as the opening track, with it being so anthemic, catchy, and fast paced this song will open many shows it seems in 2023. It will NOT disappoint in setting the energy for the night, as it absolutely sets the tone for this album. I mean this song literally puts you in the best mindset possible to enjoy this delight, and man oh man is it a fun ride.
Following up that monster opening track, we are treated with Real Life, which dropped August 2022 as the first single off this album. It’s a song about raw, real-life emotions and the roller coaster that is a relationship. It’s really one of those songs that just embodies what the band is about. “Real Life is a return to form for Story of The Year” adds Vocalist Dan Marsala. “It evokes the same emotion and energy of Page Avenue but with a brand new and exciting feel. It’s a song about the constant struggle of making a relationship work. The ups and downs of being in love. Not every day is full of sunshine, but if you fight through the pain together, you can make it out alive with a smile on your face”.
Glow has the immediate feel of an MTV music video back in the day. Bouncy, energetic with that hook that dives you deeper into the song, don’t be surprised when your air drumming the hell out of everything in sight with this track.
Dead and gone is the perfect song about simply walking away from something that isn’t positive in your life, and not just accepting apologies. “Why does it feel so good let you go? This is the death of something beautiful!”- lyrics that will be engraved in memories forever, and cement their mark into this album.
War has such a great tone to it, and that breakdown will make people undoubtedly go to war in the mosh pit. From the buildup of it, the soft singing and screams of Dan all over, and just the overall vibe of the song you’ll be encapsulated and headbanging for sure. Seeking revenge sometimes seems like the only option when we disagree with someone, but when getting consumed with those negative emotions we sometimes get caught up in the negative. War touches on these struggles, so let’s go to War in the pit instead of within one another! The
Juicy and bouncy, Can’t Save You has the vibe of Dead and Gone (which shows the band not straying too far from what they stand for). Realizing you can’t just change and save someone on your own is a hard thing to do, and that’s the overall theme of this jam “It’s too late for us I can’t save you”, about sums up the message for this one.
Definitely the most nostalgic track on the record, 2005 is one of those songs that give you some insight on the bands feelings of being a band for so long and how much they love it! “2005 is a journey into the heart of Story of the Year”, shares vocalist Dan Marsala, “ It’s a story about youth and falling in love with music. It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come as a band and how lucky I am to still be playing music with my best friends. This song makes me excited for the future of Story of the Year”. 2005 was such a huge year for the boys so it makes so much sense why they would write a song with such strong feelings about it!
Sorry About Me is raw and emotional, telling the story of holding things in and feeling that “weight on your shoulders”. We all know how it feels to have done something to hurt someone or just genuinely hurt someone’s feelings and yearning for that perfect apology. This one will help you push through those feelings, and hell who knows may even help you find peace of mind to reach out to someone you’ve had disagreements with!
Take the Ride is the absolute definition of a song where you roll down the windows in your car, turn the volume ALL THE WAY UP and scream every word all summer (or day) long. “In the end ‘Take the Ride’ is a song about surrendering to what life dealt you and embrace it instead of fighting it” says Phillips, “The song captures the spirit of finding freedom through a reckless adventure, even if it’s internal”. You’ll find yourself clapping those palms together and gripped by the beautifully sung chorus over and over again, another fan favorite undoubtedly.
Knives Out turns out to be the perfect blend of old school SOTY mixed with modern pop-punk/metalcore if you will. Catchy riff, sirens blaring, booming in your face breakdown.. I mean what else does this track need to melt your face off and get your voice box blaring?! Another song that will just be leaving fans wanting more and more from this stellar album.
The album finale Use Me is a the perfect ride into the sunset song to end this album. Break ups and feeling worthless in relationships sometimes happens, and of course SOTY doesn’t disappoint in hitting us right in the feels . Even though this song is on the slow side, I couldn’t be more grateful for it to be the last track on such an amazing ride.
Listening to the album Tear Me to Pieces will fill you with nostalgia, energy, and empathy on so many levels. You can assuredly feel how much the band put into this album, and for that you can’t ask for much more from a band who’s been doing it for so long. They will be touring this summer on select dates in support of Yellowcard on their 20th Anniversary tour of Ocean Avenue alongside Mayday Parade and This Wild Life , where you will for sure be hearing all their smash hits plus songs off this new album. With that being said, this album is available on the bands website and on all streaming platforms, so give it a spin and be prepared to be blown away. (And blown back to 2005, get that one?)