Connect with us

Music

Album Review: The Story So Far ‘Proper Dose’

Steeped in authenticity, the band’s fourth album tells the story of a habit.

Cody Ayres

Published

on

Talent and production go a long way in making music, but authenticity is the most essential component in creating this art form. Authenticity allows listeners to connect with the music on a level beyond simple appreciation of talent.

Proper Dose, the newest album from The Story So Far and their fourth overall, is steeped in authenticity.

One of the band’s biggest knocks on the Walnut Creek, Calif. band during their decade long rise to the forefront of pop punk is their dependence on producing cliché breakup songs. The title track from Proper Dose nips that in the bud.

On September 15th, the band’s vocalist, Parker Cannon, shared a photo revealing his dependence on lean (aka Purple Drank), a combination of prescription strength cough syrup and soda.

On the title track, Cannon sings “Barely focused anymore/ the haze is all that I can see/ red bottle white cap,” as he openly discusses how the cocktail took over his life. The band churns away behind Cannon’s gritty vocals, and the tracks places The Story So Far at the forefront of the new pop punk movement.

That striking opening song leads directly into “Keep this Up,” which is faster and a bit heavier, while sticking to a similar theme and message about Cannon’s habit. The singer often draws lyrics from his strained relationship with his family and feelings of overall homesickness.

The album’s third track, “Out Of It,” was originally released as a single over a year ago. A portion of the revenue generated from the single went to The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, to help raise money and awareness for mental health research. The track spoke to the cause, touching on topics such as drug use, depression and isolationism. Quick and catchy, yet deep and somber at times, this single is one of the band’s strongest.

Track number four on Proper Dose brings its entire cumulative message to sudden halt. Recalling singles such as “Clairvoyant” and “Navy Blue,” the band shifts gears and produces something slow and melodic.

“Take Me As You Please” is perhaps their best example of their ability to produce a dynamic range of work. It’s a standout track in an album layered with mentions of drug use and depression. This track beautifully contrasts the others with a message centered on individual acceptance. The second verse  is uncharacteristically hopeful. It is hesitantly optimistic, sung from the perspective of someone who is finally strong enough to leave lingering traumas in the past.

I feel the sunshine
That burns away the cold
Pulling off the nylon cover
How many times can I say that I love her?
That’s not for this song
‘Cause I’m done with all the noise
Know that we can talk to each other
It’s all good, it’s all love, now it’s over

The first four tracks on Proper Dose are some of the album’s strongest, but “Let it Go” is one of the best, and resets the tone with a slow opening that builds towards the band’s signature fast-paced, captivating sound. The song recalls the roots of The Story So Far, focusing the lyrics on the ups and downs of relationships, but continues the narrative of the album.

“Upside Down,” the album’s sixth track accomplishes a similar goal. Like the prior song, it harks back to the band’s roots, though not quite to the effect of “Take Me as You Please,” which slows down the pace once again, proving the group can use this format successfully.

“Now it’s quiet on the front/ has been for so many months now,” Cannon sings, “it’s wild to remember I was in love with you once.” Although “Upside Down” is one of Proper Dose‘s more forgettable tracks, lyrically, it’s arguably the most honest song on what is an extremely personal album.

“If I Fall” and “Need to Know” are definitely the jolt of energy needed after an emotionally heavy trio of proceeding tracks, while”Line” is a perfect interlude. Short, sweet, and melodic — with simply two recurring lines layered over a single riff — this song is a break from the heavy nature of this record.

The final two songs of Proper Dose continue The Story So Far’s tradition of closing records strong. “Growing On You” is one of the album’s gems: melodic, with a stark contrast to many of the band’s earlier works, and a lyrical focus on the optimistic emotions of a budding relationship. The poppy and upbeat “Light Year” ends the record, and the close of the song beautifully wraps the eleven track record.

All that’s left to do is start counting the minutes until the release of album number five.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

My name is Cody Ayres and I am a UNCC graduate with a bachelors degree in sociology. While in college I served as the causes coordinator for the campuses concerts and causes club, which put on small shows to raise money for charitable foundations. I am currently living in Charlotte, N.C. where I work as a bartender while also writing for a startup channel called ignore the world. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing soccer as well as watching just about any sport that I can get my eyes on.

CMN Music

Music4 days ago

Viewpoint: Pitchfork’s Best of the Decade is Full of Pleasant Surprises

A notable balance between well-known artists and smaller independent acts.

Music2 weeks ago

Pitchfork’s 200 Best Albums of the 2010’s has Plenty of Gaps

How does one come to the conclusion that Death Grips come out just above Leonard Cohen but below Janelle Monáe?

Music4 weeks ago

Album Review: Tamino – ‘Amir (Deluxe)’

An expanded edition that offers poetic drama from beginning to end.

Music1 month ago

What Makes A Scary Song? Three Things Every Spooky Tune Needs

Genuinely scary sounds, an unsettling story, or just party jams with eerie sound effects?

Music1 month ago

React: Paste Magazine’s Best Albums of the 2010’s List

It's difficult for any one person to approach a list with complete objectivity,

CMN Vibes1 month ago

CMN Vibes: Spooky Season

The only playlist you'll need as Halloween gets closer.

Music2 months ago

4 Places to Read Great Music Journalism

Where to find great, free music writing and journalism on the web.

Essentials3 months ago

Four Useful Spotify Features for Music Writers: Part One

Tips, tricks and cool shortcuts to deepen your knowledge.

Music3 months ago

‘We’ll Carry On’: Examining the Legacy of Rock in the 2000s

The seeds planted by these bands are the reason rock will thrive for generations.

Music3 months ago

Man Arrested in Connection of Death of Rapper Mac Miller

28 year old Cameron James Pettit was arrested today on allegations of supplying deceased rapper Mac Miller with lethal drugs....

Music3 months ago

5 Things You’ll Quickly Learn After Moving From the USA to New Zealand

So you graduate college without any real career plan and decide to spend a year bartending so you can travel...

Music3 months ago

Review: Captain Beefheart, “Hair Pie: Bake 2”

An odd intrigue.

Essentials3 months ago

4 Podcasts Every Music Writer Should be Familiar With

Music journalists these days need to listen to a whole lot more than just music.

Music3 months ago

Cocaine and Rhinestones – Breaking Down Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie from Muskogee’

Tyler Mahan Coe brings the facts and the feel of history.

Music3 months ago

Track Review: Pool Kids – ‘$5 Subtweet’

Diving into a new age of confrontation.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Hip-Hop’s Most Influential Artists of the Last Half -Decade

Drake, Migos, Travis Scott and more make the list.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: The Needledrop: How To Get Into Death Grips

Dominick Rabrun joins Anthony Fantano for some intense chat.

Music3 months ago

Desert Island Disc: ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’

This album challenges misogyny, materialism and issues within relationships

Music4 months ago

Liily: Aiming to Turn the Music Industry Upside Down

California band is on the way up and has new music due out this fall.

Music4 months ago

Interview with Singer Natalie Clark

A CMN Q&A that touches on playing guitar, growing up in Glasgow, and being starstruck on 'The Voice.'

Essentials4 months ago

5 Essential Websites for Music Journalists

Great sources to confirm facts or come up with story ideas.

Music4 months ago

Remembering The Queen of Soul: 5 Reasons Why Aretha Franklin Will Never Be Forgotten

The Queen left not only a beautiful legacy, but a blueprint for all artists to follow.

Great Reads

[]
1 Step 1
keyboard_arrow_leftPrevious
Nextkeyboard_arrow_right

Copyright © 2019 College Media Network