Is Love by Angels & Airwaves worth listening to? Is it worth buying? The answer is “yes” to the first question and “no” to the second – because you can download the album for free from the band’s official site.
Love, released on Valentine’s Day of 2010, is Angels & Airwaves’ third album. For the time being, it is only available as a free digital download (which shouldn’t bother most of you), but the band is expected to release a hard copy at some point.
Old Angels & Airwaves fans need to get this album, and curious listeners have no reason not to get it. Lead singer Tom Delonge and the rest of Angels & Airwaves continue the musical style that was present in their first two albums, We Don’t Need to Whisper and I-Empire. Music genres are hardly definitive, but Angels & Airwaves can be classified under pop, rock, alternative rock, and space rock. Angels & Airwaves’ music is often compared to Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon and U2′s stadium rock songs like “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “City of Blinding Lights.”
Love‘s only single, “Hallucinations,” which was released for free download a few weeks before the album itself, is classic Angels & Airwaves. It has a long, epic introduction like “The Adventure,” “Call to Arms,” and “Love Like Rockets.” The mood of the song is upbeat – reminiscent of “Everything’s Magic” – and the lyrics are awe-inspired and optimistic.
“Hallucinations” is not the only song in Love that will make Angels & Airwaves fans feel at home with this new album. The first two tracks, “Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce” and “The Flight of Apollo” have an extra-long introduction in the style of “Valkyrie Missile” and “Star of Bethlehem/True Love.”
However, Love is not a re-hash of old Angels & Airwaves material. The lyrics have similar themes of love, heartbreak, war, and outer space, but they are presented in new (and sometimes brilliant) ways. In particular, “The Moon-Atomic (…Fragments and Fictions)” is a wonderful example of Tom DeLonge’s songwriting and ability to create new material.
Fans of Tom Delonge’s other band, Blink 182, won’t like Love if they’re expecting juvenile pop songs like “What’s My Age Again?” However, fans of Blink 182′s more serious, romantic hits like “I’m Lost Without You” may enjoy the album.
As much as I enjoy Love, there are a few things about it that I don’t like. The lyrics of two songs in particular, “Epic Holiday” and “Letters to God, Part II,” are largely disappointing. “Epic Holiday” fails lyrically, because the “Nobody’s right, nobody’s wrong–let’s start a riot!” lyrics don’t fit well with the song’s epic introduction and overall mood. “Epic Holiday” could have taken off as a classic anthem like “The Adventure,” but instead it blew up in the hangar. The song is entertaining, but it’s a shadow of what it could have been.
“Letters to God, Part II” is better than “Epic Holiday” both musically and lyrically, but the meaning of the song is too ambiguous to understand. (The song is “Part II” of Tom DeLonge’s song “Letters to God” from Box Car Racer.) It’s clear from the lyrics that Tom DeLonge is crying out to God, and that he reaches some understanding about life, death, and truth–but the words are too confusing to make any more sense of the song.
In addition to some poor lyrics, I also disliked the transitions between some of the songs. Angels & Airwaves has made use of transitions before, but they go transition-crazy in Love. “The Flight of Apollo,” “Young London,” “Shove,” and “The Moon-Atomic (…Fragments and Fictions)” have long transitions at their beginning or end that make each song difficult to enjoy by itself. Some of the transitions are so long that they could have been individual tracks. These transitions force the listener to experience the album in its entirety instead of picking and choosing individual songs–and maybe that was the band’s purpose.
However, while I enjoy transitions in moderation, I would have preferred more of the songs to be stand-alone tracks like “Hallucinations” and “Letters to God, Part II.” The one transition that the band did very well was between “Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce” and “The Flight of Apollo.”
Aside from a few sub-standard lyrics, crazy transitions, and an expletive in “The Flight of Apollo,” I’m a huge fan of Love. I waited for over two years for it to come out, and it didn’t disappoint me. I hope that Angels & Airwaves continues for many years to come, because they’ve found a musical style which has fostered a loyal fan-base. Angels & Airwaves is something special, and Love continues the good work that the band started in We Don’t Need to Whisper.