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Album Review - Bad Books II Review

By Shannon Horte
On November 30, 2012

From the start of the album, listeners can immediately tell they're having fun with this side project. It kicks off with "The After Party", which sports a catchy guitar riff at the beginning, until Andy Hull starts the lyrics a couple bars in. The mock build up to the chorus is arguably the catchiest part of the song, when the lyrics differ, but always have something to do with "being alone". If I had to choose a theme for this album, it would be loneliness or the idea of being alone.
I can't be the only one who realized the repetition of the word "alone" in about half the songs, right?
The second track, "No Rewards" is a stand-out, with its almost a 90's feel to it, that I just can't get over. The track screams to be the underrated track on the album, being overlooked by busier songs. With the fantastically abrupt ending to the second track, the supergroup presents the first single off the album and the third track, "Forest Whitaker". The song is already a fan favorite, possibly because of it's pop feel, or possibly for its perfect lyrics such as, "I bought a bird that repeats what I say, but 'I'm lonely' is all that it heard." II seems to not even have mildly suffered from the restricted recording time the group had.
The fourth track, and second single, "It Never Stops", is the lyrical genius-of-a-lovechild of Hull and Devine. Followed by the heartbreaking "Pytor" (which seems to be primarily Andy's masterpiece). The two songs, consecutively, are the soul of the album, exemplifying the skill and talent that the supergroup holds. "Friendly Advice" is another contender for most underrated song, it seems to hide within the album, but due not to lack of talent.
"No Sides" appears to be one of Devine's additions to the album. The song's guitar riff pushes the song forward, as does its catchy lyrics. "Petite Mort" is the next track, another Devine contribution, and what can I say? The song is damn beautiful. The simple instruments allow the lyrics to shine, and its nothing short of wonderful.
"42" and "Lost Creek" seem to blend together, yet both are special in their own ways. "42" sports a few notable lines that help sharpen the theme of the album. It's brevity is a key component and it shifts flawlessly into "Lost Creek", where we see a similar theme of loneliness and nostalgia. The two songs, together, tell a heart wrenching story, one that Bad Books perfectly executed their telling of. The album ends with "Ambivalent Peaks", which is sure to be a fan favorite. The track holds a more hopeful ambiance than the rest of the album, making it a nice way to end the record.
II is nothing shy of greatness. The supergroup did it again, this time even better. 

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