Year 2, Day 21: Billy Talent’s Debut

Year 2, Album 21: Billy Talent – Billy Talent

Tracklisting

  1. This is How it Goes
  2. Living in the Shadows
  3. Try Honesty
  4. Line and Sinker
  5. Lies
  6. The Ex
  7. River Below
  8. Standing in the Rain
  9. Cut the Curtains
  10. Prisoners of Today
  11. Nothing to Lose
  12. Voices of Violence

About the Album

Billy Talent is the debut studio album of Canadian punk rockers, Billy Talent. The first album under the Billy Talent. Prior to that, they released an album titled Watoosh! under the name Pezz in 1993. The album was released on September 16 2003, and certified triple platinum in Canada.

Thoughts on the Album

Last year, I review/post about Billy Talent‘s second self-titled album, Billy Talent II. Billy Talent, is a Canadian punk rock band that consists of lead vocalist, Ben Kowalewicz, guitarist Ian D’sa, bassist Jonathan Gallant, and drummer Aaron Solowoniuk. You can read more about them in this handy post here.

So it seems I went out of order in reviewing Billy Talent albums. Last year was Billy Talent II, this year is Billy Talent, which only means next year is either Billy Talent III, or Dead Silence. Who knows… definitely not me; I haven’t even figured out the rest of this year yet (I have figured it out, but trying to figure which days). So how about we discuss this album before digressing any further off topic, shall we? Okay cool.

One of the things I love about Billy Talent I is lead singer Ben Kowalewicz’s voice. It’s an incredibly unique voice that fits not just the band’s style of music, but this album. We he shouts and screams, it sends goosebumps and shivers and chills down my spine… in a good way; like eargasm good. I’ll preface that by saying, his voice isn’t for everyone, as his voice is different and takes some adjustments and takes getting used listening too. But once you get used it to Ben’s voice, it’s incredible.

Look no further than the fourth track, Line and Sinker in which Kowalewicz exaggeratedly screams “What you see is what you get,” before guitarist and backing vocalist Ian D’sa comes in with a catchy line of “fishing for the answer with a line and sinker”. The track then settles down and builds back up and explodes into the chorus. It literally hooks you in, line and sinker. (I apologize for that one)

A highlight of this album, is lead single, Try HonestyTry Honesty has a fantastically layered and varied guitar work that builds up to an incredible and super infectious call and response chorus. Third single, River Below repeats the same pattern of the call and response chorus, while the second single, The Ex, has a superb chorus that will have you singing along to.

I would definitely say, listen to the fourth single, Nothing to Lose. It’s one of the best songs on the album. Nothing to Lose has an amazingly powerful and relatable music video for it. The song itself deals with the issue of youth suicide (the video at the end has a number for suicidal teens to call). The song features a strong bass line. You can say whatever you want about it being “cliche” about teen angst, but it hits home for a lot of youths and people who deal with those feelings on a daily basis. The lyrics, even if they weren’t made into this song, would/could pass as a great poem. And if it wasn’t for Voices of Violence, it would make an excellent closer.

Conclusion

First and foremost: you either love or hate Kowalewicz’s voice. There is no in between. As debut albums go, I don’t think you could much better than Billy Talent has with their self-titled Billy Talent. It’s one of the rare albums that has stayed with me since I first heard it in high school. The track Nothing to Lose really hits close to home for me as I have dealt with those kinds of issues in my life. As for a good summation for this album? The lyrics are all deep and meaningful, full of catharsis, cynicism, sarcasm, and earnestness. The guitar and bass work is tight knit and flows smoothly. The drum work is almost perfect as well. Like I said about Kowalewicz’s vocal work earlier, it’s very good, but you’ll either love or hate it.

Definitely listen to: Try Honesty, Line and Sinker, River Below, Standing in the Rain, and Nothing to Lose.

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