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Emery - I'm Only A Man Album Cover

Emery - I'm Only A Man

Reviewed by
6.7
EmeryI’m Only A Man
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Release Date: October 2, 2007
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
You don’t want to read about my history with Emery just like I don’t want to read about how they changed your life way back when (soon after, you bought a sick t-shirt, I’m sure). Let’s just stick to the present, then. The merit and quality of I’m Only A Man has been hotly debated around these parts. With each new song posted more people dug a line in the sand and seemed to say, “I’m biased enough to not care,” or “Can’t wait for that new Spoken disc to drop!” We’re all familiar with Emery’s formula by now - I use that word because of how predictable the songwriting can be – the melodies dominate beginnings of songs while some unintelligible shrieking finishes out the tracks with moderately discordant riffs. Expect no different here. All we are left with is the illusion of intensity, repetitions of semi-heaviness. Why people (myself included) can look over such glaring flaws is hard to explain (I mean, catchiness can only take a person so far). On second thought, maybe we should be reminiscing.

I’m Only A Man is really a story of coulda’s and shoulda’s. Emery have seen their fanbase expand recently, and since most of the people showed up during The Question-era (and subsequent deluxe edition), we find this album leaning toward the mature and polished sound of that record. The biggest change, though, is the use of electronics. Blah. I know, to be successful these days you need beatz-like-whoa, but, and you know this if you’ve heard any of Emery’s previous work, such additions don’t match their sound. 10-minute closer, “From Crib To Coffin,” is infested with computerized Bumble Bees. This song takes the cake for the year’s most unnecessarily long runtime. I don’t need to describe it, but I will: lots of angst and acoustic guitars. “Don’t Bore Us, Get To The Chorus,” is, I think, a joke. But it seems I skipped right over the punch line. The beatboxing segments and Depeche Mode-inspired chorus are ridiculously cliché. For all too short a time “Don’t Bore Us…” becomes a b-side from The Weak’s End. Maybe they were testing us, saying, “If you can get through this, we’ll reward you with a smidgen of chaos and energetic screaming.” But here’s the point: the song is laughably cramped and misguided. Not every idea needs to see the light of day.

Perhaps if “The Movie Song” were released months ago, the build-up to I’m Only A Man would have been different. The environment cultivated by quick riffage and gang vocals is a perfect place for Toby Morrell’s voice to lead. He is still the best part about Emery, as his baritone, when allowed (like on Anberlin-esque “Can’t Stop The Killer” or piano ballad/cock-rock hybrid “Story About A Man With A Bad Heart”), can soar and command attention with the best of them. He is a talented frontman vocally, but the lyrics on this album are (to put it nicely) forgettable. “Rock-N-Rule” begins the album confidently with shouted vocals and clanging instrumentals. But, as everything quiets and Shelton (the "other" singer) croons over subdued and echoed guitars, the mediocrity of it all becomes evident. We hear the lines, “I guess you don’t have faith / It doesn’t matter anyway / It’s the way / It’s the way you want it,” and the word “counterintuitive” comes to mind.

The best indication of what I’m Only A Man offers may come in the first few seconds of “The Party Song,” which has a hauntingly similar riff to that of The Question's opening song, “So Cold I Could See My Breath.” Emery have brought us more of the same. We can either accept this as we did in the past, or we can clamor for more. This is, of course, based on the presumption that I’m not the only one disappointed by I’m Only A Man. I’m not asking for wheel reinvention here, especially after seeing what the addition of synthesizers did, but maybe a little more frenzy and a lot fewer Queen impersonations will do the trick.


Recommended If You Like: Anberlin, Underoath, Queen Amidala, Funeral For A Friend, cornerbacks


It's gonna be a bumpy ridewww.myspace.com/emery
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 162
08:46 PM on 10/01/07
#2
im_wide_awake
Roll along you BG warriors
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so stoked for thissssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
gonna be one of the best CD's of 07
09:10 PM on 10/01/07
#3
huckleberry
Play Ultimate!
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i was very excited, but after this i may think twice before buying it. appreciate the honesty blake
09:13 PM on 10/01/07
#4
dan.is.empire
I Am Empire / Dan
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i made a review for this cd too...i was kinda excited to see it posted
12:47 AM on 10/02/07
#5
ILS1388
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Personally, I think the cd is really well done, but it's not as good as the first two by any shape or form. I do like the move away from screaming that's been going on. I say it's a solid release, but then again, I'm a big Emery fan. So it won't convert the masses, but it won't drive away the faithful either
12:54 AM on 10/02/07
#6
Blake Solomon
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i disagree, i think it will not be well-recieved by those that loved The Weak's End (me).
08:05 AM on 10/02/07
#8
teebs41
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ummm before you review a cd at least know who sings what parts... devin sings Rock n rule...

and like what about the awesome vocal parts on from crib to coffin..that one break down sounds sick.. and the vocal melodies at the end are so perfect to fit that awesome neopilitinsh chord progression. I mean if you know this band yea they put screaming at the end of a lot of songs but go see them live thats what maks it great cause they actually go nuts and it just makes them great.. maybe they are one of those bands u have to kno thier live show to really appreciate but i dunno. i think the talent in both of thier vocalist may be enough.
09:43 AM on 10/02/07
#9
newfoundmichael
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I had a feeling this wasn't going to be very good.
09:47 AM on 10/02/07
konvalbr
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i've heard local band's cd's that sound better than this album...not impressed.
10:10 AM on 10/02/07
Scott Weber
Live Like a Legend
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I think it's horrible. And I like Emery and think they're nice guys and put on a great live show....this doesn't cut it.
10:23 AM on 10/02/07
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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I enjoy the albums from Drop Dead, Gorgeous a lot more than this.
10:24 AM on 10/02/07
Blake Solomon
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ummm before you review a cd at least know who sings what parts... devin sings Rock n rule...

and like what about the awesome vocal parts on from crib to coffin..that one break down sounds sick.. and the vocal melodies at the end are so perfect to fit that awesome neopilitinsh chord progression. I mean if you know this band yea they put screaming at the end of a lot of songs but go see them live thats what maks it great cause they actually go nuts and it just makes them great.. maybe they are one of those bands u have to kno thier live show to really appreciate but i dunno. i think the talent in both of thier vocalist may be enough.



i don't think you need to make excuses for them. There is nothing awesome about the final song. I wasn't reviewing their live show, or even calling it into question. I was reviewing the studio album, and I'm sure they dressed up in spacesuits while making this, which I'm all for, but this isn't a good album. Sorry, homey.
10:29 AM on 10/02/07
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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btw Emery is one of my favorite bands ever, still are. I love the first two releases and I enjoy about 5 songs on this, but this is not Emery.
10:34 AM on 10/02/07
Blake Solomon
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basically, drew. Tis a sad day, but as I said, my history is boorrrrinnnnggggg

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