Album Review
Just Surrender - Phoenix Album Cover

Just Surrender - Phoenix

Reviewed by
Just SurrenderPhoenix
Record Label: Razor and Tie Entertainment
Release Date: June 22, 2010 (digital outlets)
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Recently an AP.net member wondered why Just Surrender are still content to make music for teenagers. Although asked rhetorically and meant to malign, I consider this a question worthy of an answer. Many sociologists believe that teenagers are defined by mental outlook rather than age. A teenager is a person in-flux. They are standing at the proverbial fork in the road. So in that sense, yes, Just Surrender still make music for teenagers. But I think that’s only because, in most ways, Just Surrender’s members can most easily relate with this social class. The band’s strength lies in uncertainty set to pop-punk guitars, a few well-placed screams and plenty of hooks. It’s music that can be enjoyed by people ages 13-33, depending, of course, on one’s current place in the social setting. So good for that person lamenting the band’s seemingly stagnant nature; clearly they have moved on to a point where love and loss no longer intrigue. But to those of us who are still waking up every day in a haze of uncertainty, a record like Phoenix works because it embodies, well, us.

Honestly I don’t want to be one of those guys who tries to break down the nuances of a record about social minutiae. (Full Disclosure: I’m currently reading Chuck Klosterman’s pop culture opus Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. So, there’s that.) And really, what that commenter I mentioned above is really sad about, for some reason, is that Phoenix sounds like a Just Surrender record. But yuck, spending time discussing that would be not only counterintuitive but also stupid. Although Phoenix’s intensity is closer to the band’s debut If These Streets Could Talk, all progression is absolutely negligible. The album’s biggest misstep is the only song that siphons off that undeniable energy for acoustic melodies (“Carried Away”), yet I’m not as pissed off about that song’s complete lack of authenticity because it’s surrounded by the Bayside tribute “Better To Leave” and the non-stop drive of “Jukebox Memoirs.” "Carried Away" is saved solely by context, and that’s a mighty thing to accomplish.

But really it’s all crunching guitars, mostly terrible lyrics and lots and lots and lots of fun. “Through The Night” blends into the nostalgic-sounding “Take Me Home,” which lends some of its electronic energy into “Crazy,” a career-defining song that houses the album’s biggest chorus and most creative bridge. I could've interchanged a few songs from each Just Surrender album there, and at this moment I feel like that's sorta awesome (i.e. consistency). The thing that’s really wonderful about Phoenix is that it can become a beacon to former fans, both diehard and fair-weather alike. Lots of people latched onto If These Streets Could Talk, but only under the pretense that it would be a fun record for maybe a week. Here Just Surrender prove to a very wishy-washy bunch that there’s more to love. Sure, Phoenix might be best served after certain scenarios (lost love, backstabbings, a Michael Bay film), but this music works just as well without lyrical comprehension. It’s hard to predict how many sequels Just Surrender have in them. Their Long Island pop-punk is a style and mentality that doesn’t always allow for longevity. However, with Phoenix and its motivational rockers like “On My Own” and “Stronger Now,” the band has shown their willingness to fight for “teenager music.” And if they never grow up, fine. I’d be happy to never grow up with them.

Recommended If You Like: Taking Back Sunday, Bayside, et al.

Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 67
11:13 PM on 06/21/10
The Low-Cal Calzone Zone
User Info.
spiffa0's Avatar
Thought this album was better than a 65%

But this could be because I never really paid attention to the lyrics
11:14 PM on 06/21/10
All that wander are not lost
User Info.
irthesteve's Avatar
I do kinda wish they expanded their sound a bit... after one listen, this album didn't stick at all
11:19 PM on 06/21/10
Broden Terry
I'm glad I built myself an igloo
User Info.
Broden Terry's Avatar
I really need to give this a listen.
11:21 PM on 06/21/10
User Info.
HometownHero's Avatar
Review is accurate as hell. Nicely done.
11:32 PM on 06/21/10
Be Human
User Info.
symbiote28's Avatar
im surprise it only got 65% .. i love this record.
11:44 PM on 06/21/10
The Protagonist of Loneliness
User Info.
billyboatkid's Avatar
Surprised got a 65, but I also said it coulda been another EP..
11:46 PM on 06/21/10
User Info.
CheckeredFloors's Avatar
I thought this album came out in August, how has everybody already heard it?
11:48 PM on 06/21/10
This wind changed me
User Info.
punchlinekid182's Avatar
blake were you an english major cause you have quite a way with words.. great review bro.
ps. thanks for recommending, the boys of summer, holy shit my new favorite band!
12:19 AM on 06/22/10
Blake Solomon
every outcome's such a comedown
User Info.
Blake Solomon's Avatar
I thought this album came out in August, how has everybody already heard it?
they posted it online for stream, and it comes out digitally today.
12:20 AM on 06/22/10
User Info.
TimMcGreevy's Avatar
I can't agree more with the rating or review, was really disappointed with the record, after one listen only Take Me Home stuck with me and that's the only song i'll keep playing, here's to hoping they progress
12:53 AM on 06/22/10
boycott absolutepunk
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
I was so disappointed with this album, I hope their next release makes up for this.
12:54 AM on 06/22/10
User Info.
RX XR's Avatar
The only thing good about this album is the name of it.
12:57 AM on 06/22/10
Nick Le
Yeezy taught me.
User Info.
Nick Le's Avatar
I only listened to this maybe once or twice, but I liked it a bit, it was fun. But I haven't really come back to it. Good review.
01:20 AM on 06/22/10
I Am Shark
User Info.
craigboliver's Avatar
this is a fantastic record, really happy for these guys with how well it turned out. definitely at 85%+, ATLEAST!

Search News
Release Dates
Best New Music
Submit News
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
Encore Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
Encore Podcast on iTunes
Encore on Overcast
AP.net on Tumblr
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate