Goodnight City Lights - The World At My Feet
Record Label: self-released
Release Date: November 8, 2011
When I'm looking for a new band to listen, I often find myself searching in the pop punk/pop rock zone. It's difficult to help the fact that these are my favorite genres. Most of the time the music is hardly ever groundbreaking, the hooks are recycled and the lyrics can be pretty laughable (I'm looking at you, All Time Low.)
However, it's easy to listen and it hardly takes any time to grow on me. Bands like Sparks the Rescue and A Rocket to the Moon make for great summer car rides. But this time, I was looking for something else.
That was when I stumbled upon Goodnight City Lights, a quintet from Cleveland, OH who define themselves simply as a rock band. It's been a long time since I've listened to a plain and simple rock 'n' roll record, so I thought to myself: "then, what does current rock music sound like?". Well, it certainly does not sound like The World at my Feet. Rather, labeling the record as 'simple rock music' wouldn't do it justice.
Opener "Ghosts" is a punch in the face with deafening riffs, cymbal rides and verses sung in quick sucession. The mood is set in the very first lines: "Don't act like you don't see me / Sever the ties / Keep me in the back of your mind." With a chorus bigger than Ohio, "Ghosts" sets the pace for the rest of the album, and "A Bigger Cadence" follows it up nicely with an equally huge chorus, this time packed with everyone's favorite "whoa-ohs." Third track and single "Fireworks" could easily be labeled as 'early Yellowcard on steroids', as the first verses seem to be sung by Ryan Key himself and the music flows in the veins of their pop-punk classic One For The Kids.
The highlight of the album, however, is "Stars." Surrounded by the other songs' aggressive, fast showers of riffs and gang vocals, it slows down the pace and keeps the album from blending together.
While the listener reaches for his breath, the fast acoustic guitar strums contrast with slow verses that are later aided by some very welcome female vocals, all of which smoothly transit into a full-band explosion driven by a melancholic duet that packs a little resentment
("Tell me anything other / Than "I'm so sorry / Let's just talk this out." / Tell me anything other / Than "I'm so sorry / Let's just talk this out and come clean.") and a little hopefulness ("From rest stops, rooftops / I will never let you down / Time slows, hold back / Let me write this down / Just make it hurt / Just make it hurt."), nevertheless keeping an intense pace that never drives the listener off.
From here, the album takes a dip and returns to a formula that by now has become too safe to entertain the listener any longer. While the other songs are by no means bad, there is little improvement or diversification. "Calling Home," though, does a good job of wrapping up the record on a positive note, opposing the more somber "Ghosts" and leaving a somewhat brighter mood on the headphones.
The World at my Feet, if cut to five songs, would make for a stellar EP. Goodnight City Lights have all it takes to craft memorable tunes, as seen in "Stars," but first have to find their place in the scene and work on it. It is a record difficult to put a label on; but leaving aside music genres, it would be best defined as 'promising.' Very promising.