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Music Review: Smoking Popes ‘Into the Agony’

The Popes keep smoking, 20 years on.

Smoking Popes 

Into the Agony


This album kicks off with bang with “Simmer Down”, and the Popes truly indicate that they are indeed still “smoking” more than 20 years after their debut. If you’re writing, or working on that next project, listen to this album. It will keep you in a rhythm.

The first song demonstrates, that it intends for you to listen to it in full. Some songs you’ll hear, they have that one catchy line, that one solo or rift that you just don’t forget. Then it ends there, that’s all you remember the song for. This opener keeps you engaged, and keeps you hooked throughout the rest of the album. The pure feeling behind the lyrics, let you know that this is real and something we can relate to.

If you like bands like 3 Doors Down, Hoobastank, and even Creed, then Smoking Popes will definitely be up your alley. In fact, those bands may have picked up a thing or two from Smoking Popes. One thing you’ll notice is the pure emotion behind their lyrics. I believe their lyrics and feel what they feel as I listen.

“Amanda My Love” has some shades of popular punk rock band styles, where you get soft vocals, backed up with solid drum and guitar playing in total sync. There’s complete and total emotion, showing you that Amanda is indeed the main character in this song of love.

Their longevity, through an industry that’s ever evolving, is remarkable. “When you want something” is a song that’s inspirational, about wanting something that you can’t have. It motivates you to want to try harder. It’s a nice touch to the album. It plays well into the title of the album which references agony and holding on to things you can’t have.

Reading the title of “No Tomorrow Tonight”  you think you’re falling into despair, as you listen you hear about clocks stopping, and mentions of the reaper. I certainly feel the agony, if you don’t plan on there being a tomorrow. You can tell this song has meaning behind it, albeit depressing. A meaning of not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Living and knowing that death is unavoidable, one can’t prepare for it, but can only expect it.

Sold our soul for “A little lump of coal” just to keep warm through the night. This song certainly has a reference to sacrifice we make to live well. It even mentions we stole the earth from our children and destroyed it. A reflection of the world through the singers voice. In retrospect, it might even help us as listeners open our minds to our reality.

Overall the album opens up my minds, it’s a bit depressing, but demonstrates cold hard truths. You have to train your ears to pull apart the lyrics and listen with an open mind. This is certainly a statement from these veterans. Through music they’re sending a message, about the status of the world around us. Our position as human beings, and being faced with harsh realities.

“Into the Agony” is a bit of a twilight moment for this band. You feel like they’re experiencing what’s around them, and through their songs want to show us the status of our country and surroundings. I can see and hear the emotional journey behind this album. Great record, that has opened me up to a different form of rock music. It has helped me become a better listener.

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