By Emily DiAlbert, Contributor
Key Tracks: “For Robin”, “Marine Tigers”, “Fuzz Minor”
Always Foreign is The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die’s third LP. While the band’s sound has skipped around between indie rock, post-rock and pop-punk over the years, Always Foreign takes an emo turn. The LP is by far TWIABP’s darkest album, focusing on the U.S.’ current political climate, the American heroin epidemic, and depression. In the short, 45-minute album, TWIABP focuses less on the background music and focuses more on delivering slap-in-the-face lyrics. These aid in making Always Foreign the band’s best, most meaningful and powerful record yet.
“For Robin” is the rawest and vulnerable track on Always Foreign. The song was written in honor of a friend of the band that passed away of a heroin addiction. The track starts off slow and melancholy, and one can hear the grief in vocalist David Bello’s voice as he speaks of Robin. The words “Can you remember me at all?” echo throughout the track, and Bello says: “Missing an artist / For the loss of their art / Isn’t grief, We’re heartbroken / For Robin and hate what he did.” It’s common knowledge that the opioid epidemic takes thousands of lives a year, but by putting a face to it, TWIABP makes it far more upsetting and personal for listeners through the track.
“Marine Tigers” sheds light on xenophobia and the discrimination toward refugees and immigrants in the United States (the track is named after the ship the S.S. Marine Tiger, which brought Puerto Rican immigrants to New York in the 1940s). The song starts off slow and combines a steady drumbeat with squeaky and quiet guitar riffs, giving the track an eery sound. Bello also takes on an eery tone when speaking of the pain immigrants experienced. The lyrics, “Please remember as a person / It’s the land that’s always foreign / Can you still call it a country? / If all the states are broken”, clearly brings light to the maltreatment and misunderstanding of refugees in the United States. It shows how the country is extensively damaged, and the damage isn’t the fault of refugees, but of the citizens. As the seven-minute track continues, a parade of screeching horns, powerful guitar riffs, and pounding drums accompany the echoing lyrics: “We’re here / We’re here / I told you so / I told you so.” This transforms the eerie song into a powerful, inspiring anti-hate ballad.
Immediately following this is heavy-hitting “Fuzz Minor”, which branches off of the themes of “Marine Tigers”. According to Bello, it is an attack against President Donald Trump. With lyrics like “I can’t wait until I see you die”, the track makes a very clear political statement which is refreshing in a country that supports the bullshit actions of its leader.
The above three tracks hit way above the mark and highlight the band’s poetic talent and ability, but other tracks significantly lower the album’s overall excellence. Try-hard, pop-punk-sounding tracks like “Dillon and Her Son” and “The Future” just don’t mesh with the album’s heavy-hitting concept and dark sound at all.
Even though Always Foreign is by far TWIABP’s best work, there wasn’t enough meat to the record and there was far too much fluff. Keep in mind, that this album is a must-listen. The record is far too revolutionary to ignore just because of some subpar pop-punk tracks. The record punches Donald Trump and American voters square in the face and is a great direct attack the United States’ crap politics. It’s comforting to know that there are people in the world who think like this. One can even go as far as saying that with people like TWIABP in existence, maybe the world can be a beautiful place and we shouldn’t be afraid to live, after all (wink, wink).