After spending their year on some amazing tours such as the Vans Warped Tour, Suppy Nation tour and the upcoming Fall (first headlining) You Me At Six tour, Tonight Alive are starting to make some serious ground. With their first album release since 2011, people have some high expectations for their sophomore album, but I don’t think anyone will be disappointed. The Other Side is a statement of many sorts, with a message or a story in each song that creates a world of meaning as the album unveils itself. Tonight Alive’s clear growth and their ability to reach out to others through their music are what has made The Other Side so notable.
One of my favorite tracks off of the album is “Lonely Girl”, one of the singles released prior to the album. The start is fast yet well-paced, with noteworthy drum parts executed perfectly along with the mix of sounds presented throughout the song. This track features the outside perspective on a girl whose life is falling apart, and the anger of someone who used to be her friend being shut out. You can feel the bitterness pulsating from every word as vocalist Jenna McDougall sings us the story of a girl that refuses to be saved. Tonight Alive spins a musical tale with a lack of remorse that can help anyone mimic the anger behind the track. A catchy song with an interesting backstory behind it, “Lonely Girl” is a great aspect of The Other Side.
Another track that really stood out to me was “The Ocean”, a melancholy ballad which opens up a window into the pure discomfort that comes with being sick. McDougall once suffered from severe eczema, a physical skin condition that altered her life. From hardly being able to move, to cancelling tours, this disease controlled her. She felt literally and figuratively uncomfortable in her own skin. Its clear McDougall tapped into that past pain to write a song that hits hard through the dark instrumentals, but mostly through the message. With lyrics such as “I’m just waiting for the walls of my insides to come clean/I’ve been praying for the day that my spirit is finally free/Some days it feels like the ocean lies inside of me”, it makes it easy for listeners to feel the torment this disease brought on. By turning a past hard experience into a song, it shows that Tonight Alive is willing to open themselves wide for the sake of their art. No holding back.
“The Other Side”, the track that shares the album’s title, is a nostalgic record of a relationship that anyone who’s ever been romantically involved with someone can relate to. The song makes a full circle narration starting with the pre-relationship best friendship, to a happy relationship, to the complications of a relationship, to the break up, to the acceptance and rekindling of the original friendship. Through the verses the song is softer compared to the rest of the album, but once the chorus kicks in there’s high emotion from McDougall’s stronger enunciation and range and more intense guitar sections from guitarists Whakaio Taahi and Jake Hardy. This track could easily become the next big, angsty breakup anthem, with teenagers everywhere singing along to every word.
Outside of these three songs, which happen to be my personal favorites for their instrumental craftsmanship and great lyrical messages, The Other Side reveals a plethora of excellent tracks and immense talent — both as individuals and as a band. Not only have Tonight Alive created not one but two incredible albums, but they also provide one of a kind live shows with infectious stage energy from all members. If you’ve never heard of or listened to Tonight Alive, now with The Other Side being released is a great time to start. I really believe we’re going to be seeing a lot of this band everywhere very soon.
Reviewed by: Mariel Cariker