Angels & Airwaves - "I-Empire" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 10, 2009
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When listening to the radio, I notice all the seemingly popular songs these stations play over and over, but I don’t seem to fall into the hype. The rappers rap to the same beat, the pop stars pop their way to a similar chorus, and the rockers jam with an unchanging guitar riff. To be blunt, the songs are very un-original, and the sound is something we’re all too ­familiar with.

If you’re like me, the thought of derivative music makes you want to throw your speakers out your bedroom window. But if you want to avoid spending your allowance on a new stereo because your old one is smashed to bits on your front lawn, go out and buy “I-Empire” by Angels & Airwaves. It will do your ears, and your speakers, some good.

Following their first album, “We Don’t Need to Whisper,” “I-Empire” was a much anticipated sequel from this band (often abbreviated as AvA). The album, which includes the upbeat single, “Everything’s Magic,” creates a new wave of alternative music with a soothing but solid sound. The lyrics build a view of the world through songs of love, war, ­betrayal, and peace. Not only that, but the lyrics are meaningful and very thought-provoking, with lines such as “If you see the light break through the clouds/And fire run at distant towers/Well the world will begin, exactly how it ends” from “Heaven.”

For those who haven’t yet heard AvA, you’re in for an ­experience like no other, with the sound from your speakers painting a picture of dark and light hues. What you hear may make it seem like you are floating in space; the hair on the back of your neck may stand straight up, as mine did. Or maybe you’ll let out some emotions of your own as you listen to frontman Tom DeLonge spill his heart. Either way you look at it, each time you press play you enter a whole new world of music.

AvA has a knack for building up each song with dramatic ­musical introductions. What starts as a couple of simple pokes of the keyboard or drums, crescendos into a wave of sound and energy. Large musical ­introductions like those in “Heaven” begin as soft wisps of a beat, small gusts of wind, then add an organ, and build in guitar and drums as they continue into the chorus. Either way a song plays out, each is uniquely put together, and finely intertwined with the others with hints of previous songs in their introduction or ending.

Whether you listen to country, rap, hip-hop, or techno, “I-Empire” will take you on a whole new adventure of sound and space. What you will enjoy about this inimitable band and their beautiful harmonies are the words that every teenager can relate to about being human.

I highly recommend “I-Empire” to all who enjoy a taste of something new, or those who are open to diving into this breathtaking new adventure of our generation.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

inside_wonders19 said...
Dec. 4, 2011 at 11:47 am
i love tom but i still think that blink is his best work. early blink... like... dude ranch
shane5 said...
Apr. 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

"are the words that every teenager can relate to about being human."

Andrea, what does it mean for a teenager to be human?

kdpunk182 said...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 2:10 am
Great review for a great band! I meet Angels and Airwaves and your article captures what they are about.
kara P. said...
Aug. 1, 2009 at 2:44 pm
i love angels and airwaves, but if i didnt already, from reading this article i would want to listen to them right away. great review.
Angel*music*lover This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 21, 2009 at 5:04 pm
megannicolephotography said...
May 30, 2009 at 8:42 pm
I have always loved AvA. No doubt an amazing band. Seeing them live or hearing their music does indeed make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and sometimes even bring a tear to my eye. Nicely done review. It also made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Thank you for that.
Tony T said...
May 7, 2009 at 3:56 am
Andrea, you always say it as it is,Great article and writing skills! Best of luck
kristen said...
May 6, 2009 at 11:33 pm
well i think this is the best review ive ever read!
darnott said...
May 5, 2009 at 9:54 pm
Alternative is my chosen form of musical art of the vast variety available on Cable HD and Sirius. To discover a young person with the ability to describe the depth and diversity of this art reinforces the positive direction of our youth. My compliments to you, Andrea, and to the powerful gift you possess. May you continue to develop it, and may you influence many.
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