The Classic Crime is one of those bands I liked in Middle School. Thinking back on music from that long ago makes me wonder how much of my current infatuation for their music is nostalgia and how much of it is real. All in all, with TCC and most other bands like them, I have moved on from listening to a lot of their music (however records like The Silver Cord still stand the test of time). Yet when they come to release a new record, I hold onto hope that they might release something that made me as excited as when I was younger.
It is safe to say that How to Be Human (may contain explicit language), TCC’s 5th full-length, does not do that for me. HTBH is underwhelming. TCC’s greatest strength is in making epic rock songs with layered with orchestras. Much of my dislike for the last record Phoenix (which is much better than this album) was that it felt superfluous at times. For HTBH, it is the opposite. Songs like “Ghost”, “Shades of Green”, and “The Third Way” all fail to hold their weight. “Ghost” feels lazy, uncreative and comes across as cheesy as the word ghost echoes in the chorus. “Shades of Green”s lyrics are poorly phrased and come across as awkward. And the music or melody in the chorus does not save the lyrics in the slightest. “The Third Way” begins well with the first verse. I really like the vibe they create with the drum pattern. Unfortunately, the chorus derails the song for me in a way which feels immature. Then I don’t know what Matt is trying to do vocally in the beginning of the second verse. The song feels strained and slightly confused.
The simplicity of the songwriting killed some songs because there was nothing extraneous to cover up their flaws. But the simplicity also lent to some songs being extremely strong and bold. “Not Done With You Yet” is one of my favorite Classic Crime songs. It is the perfect combination of cool vibes, honest lyrics, beautiful melodies, and a powerful crescendo to end the track. “Wonder” is another incredible song. The song is extremely straightforward, driven by well-written guitar parts that guide the song. The second verse has a great dose of passion. The chorus is not extraordinary, but it is still solid and accomplishes its purpose. Then there is a smooth transition into a crisp bridge. And then “More” is a compelling track that does not hold any punches. I find relatability in the the chorus I want more, until I hear the trumpet sound. I want more, until my body’s in the ground. I want more, until I finally find the source. I want more. I want more. I want more more more… This song lyrically incapsulates the yearning and desires that often lead us astray because we are unsatisfied with life on earth.
Then there are also some good songs on the album. But overall, I am not use to The Classic Crime releasing an album that is just good. They are usually great and sometimes exceptional. Despite me not being high on the record overall, the band still shows the ability to write some great songs. I will still keep an eye out for the band in the future, I may just be a little less attentive than I’ve always been.
Favorite Songs: Holy Water, Not Done With You Yet, Wonder, More, Black & White
Top 10 Potential: No
Album Cover: 3/10