Over time, you’ve likely noticed that music evolves. More often than not, this brings about a division between fans. Some fans will openly embrace these changes and all the hate they may receive for going along with it. Others, well… they’re the not-so-pleasant people who decide to automatically start saying hateful things about the band. Regardless, change is a part of life and that is especially true in music. Sydney, Australia’s Tonight Alive have spent their last 2 full-length albums, attempting to find a sound that truly fits who they are. They’ve danced between the grit of rock and the catchy flavors of pop, even spilling into some ballad-like territories at times. However, their latest album Limitless, recently released on Fearless Records shows that they are more than just those. They want to be a band who creates a sound that defies the boundaries, rules and regulations of the music world while simultaneously providing a positive message to their fans. The term Limitless can mean many different things but each meaning has the same core principle, a literal representation of being “without limits.” For Tonight Alive, they want fans to realize that they have to create music that is, not only true to them as musicians… but also has a positive impact and feels right to them. This is where the change factor tends to create that division… fans can be selfish when it comes to things like that. Not only did the band opt for an entirely new, cinematic sound with experimentation being key, they also opted for a new image. One that shows that they are comfortable in their own skin. Namely, their powerhouse frontwoman Jenna McDougall, decided to cut her hair and try out some different new hair-dos (blue-green dreads, a shorter bob-style haircut and more.) A band is so much more than their image, though, so let’s jump into why you came here.
Evidenced by the lead single, “Human Interaction” which is a slow, melancholic track that immediately lets you know just how much the band has matured since 2013’s The Other Side. This track sees McDougall singing about a manifestation of loneliness beyond that of human feeling. She is akin to an robot, devoid of feeling and emotion. She desires to delve into the world of human interaction, to break free from the feeling of immense loneliness and knows that, one day, she will be better for having experienced this. This is an incredibly emotional track that may have listeners in tears if they dive deep enough into it.
I will admit that “Drive” is a track that took me a good bit to enjoy but it has a wonderful message. This track really shows where they’re heading with that poppy side that we’ve come to know and love. A bouncy, driven chorus gives this track the perfect roundhouse kick that you’d hope for. This track lets you know that it’s okay to fail but, regardless of your failures, you can’t let the world dictate who you are. Only you can pave the path that your life takes and, when you find yourself getting further away from what people think and more about what YOU think… you’ll find your true destiny. You are your biggest critic and you know what is right and wrong for you in life. So… drive… drive far away from the lights and the opinions of those who are doubting you. Prove them wrong, prove to them that you have what it takes… most of all, prove to yourself that you are worth it!
“To Be Free” opens up the record and serves as one of my favorite Tonight Alive songs to date, honestly. Not only does it have an incredible build up to it, it really makes you feel the theme of the record: “I am limitless!” This track is about getting away from your average, day-to-day life and discovering who you are. Breaking free from societal expectations, from everything that seeks to tie you down or hold you back. Have you ever hit a rough point in life where nothing seems to be going right? That sense of urgency calls to you, begging you to get away from it all. This is what this track embodies and it does so beautifully. I couldn’t imagine a track more perfect to open this album.
This is an album that is designed to make the listener feel like there’s hope, even when it looks like it’s the end of the rope. Limitless is, dare I say, Tonight Alive’s most ambitious album to date. Rather than change their sound for monetary gain, you can truly tell that they are happier with the sound they’ve created with this record. From the delivery of each lyric, note, riff or beat and interviews with the band, to the behind the scenes videos you may have seen leading up to the reveal. While this is still the first quarter of the year, I can definitely see this album shooting it’s way up the charts. Release week saw Limitless coming in at #12 on the US Independent albums chart (Billboard), #6 on the ARIA charts, #20 on the Billboard Top Alternative albums chart and #23 on the Billboard Hard Rock albums chart and it’s not hard to see why. Be sure to pick up your copy and catch them on the “Fight For Something” tour with Set It Off (Equal Vision Records) and label mates The Ready Set along with Canadian phenomenon SayWeCanFly!
“Drive” (Official Music Video)
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