Album Review

The Menzingers - After the Party

Released: February 3, 2017
Lisa Sanchez

The Menzingers' released their fifth full-length album, After the Party to the excitement of sadsacks like myself all over the country. When I saw After the Party dropped, I felt O.K. for almost a full minute before the full weight of the world ground me into the snow again. But, I was still pumped.

Let me save you a little bit of time for this album review. I really enjoyed After the Party, but it didn't hit me the same way On the Impossible Past or Rented World hit me not that long ago. There's something about this album that isn't quite clean, because the style is the same, but it feels impersonal. It's as if The Menzingers cut out their grit and replaced it with a "Insert name here" name tag.  

Outside of that assessment, most of this album review will be my hot takes about the album's best songs, jokes about sadboys, and laugh crying at myself over how much I've listened to The Menzingers. Don't say I didn't warn you.

After the Party is very much a Menzingers album. For those of you who may not know what that means, The Menzingers are a brilliant mix of pop-punk skewered with heartfelt lyrics that are punctuated by regret, realism, and just a dab of humor. The Menzingers, as a band, aren't blowing anyone out of the water with their unheard of musical achievements. However, I think they're an excellent contributing voice to the genre as a whole, their composition is solid, and The Menzingers are like that band in your teen years, where every lyric spoke to your life experiences, except now you're 29 and filled with experiences you can't seem to forget.

​First track up, "Telling Lies" is catchy, very “zingers” (no one calls them that, not even in jest) then moves on to "Lookers." This song is not only my favorite because the chorus is the song title, but I'm pretty sure the members of The Menzingers listened in on the bar conversations my friend Brian and I drunkenly have from time to time. We talk about: 1. How great The Menzingers are and 2. How shitty/great/regretful we were "back in the day." The secret to both this song and my bar conversations is that they're nostalgic, quirky, and will stick in your head.
"Midwestern States" is up next and carries the prestigious distinction of continuing my list of every Menzingers song that is my favorite. Hint: It's the next song on the track listing. But, I digress.

Are you getting sued by your landlord? Collecting unemployment? Got a worthless diploma? Do you live in a Midwestern state or are The Menzingers fucking psychic? Short answer: Yes.

But, really, "Midwestern States" taps a little more into that story-telling verisimilitude that I'm missing on most of the album. It's a little too real, but also very accurate.

 The Menzingers' mandatory slow song, "Black Mass" slows down After the Party after the upbeat "Telling Lies" and "Charlie's Army." The song gives me a little heartbroken cowboy vibe, emphasized by a simple bassline, tambourine, and echoing, distant vocals. "Black Mass" is a solid track, but it sticks with the theme of disconnect. It's like a song you hear in a blue jeans ad that used to be cool...until Bruce Springstein covered it.
To counter "Black Mass," The Menzingers rebound with "Boy Blue," which is the band's way of reminding you that although they can be a big fucking bummer sometimes, they also hit you with that glistening, moist pop punk that all the kids enjoy.

Next up, "Bad Catholics," which The Menzingers released as a teaser to their full album. I really wish all (or even most) of After the Party was like "Bad Catholics." The lyrics hint at The Menzingers ability to sing you into a scenario. For example, "We should have never thought, that we could get stoned and drive around with just half a pack of smokes." We've all been there man, and if you haven't...don't try it.

​If there's one thing The Menzingers have taught me, it's that I'm simultaneously a 27 year old sadboy and a 56 year old man that loves bowling, beers, and smoking in inappropriate places. 

After the Party is a solid Menzingers album, but is doesn't pack the whallop the band's previous releases garnered. It's like discovering your favorite greasy spoon restaurant, that has its quirks and everyone knows your name, gets turned into a Panera over night. It's still good, but where's the personality?