Album review: “The Stories We Tell Ourselves”
One of the most asked questions when it comes to music is, “What kind of music do you like/listen to?” A lot of people nowadays will respond with a simple, “I listen to pop,” or, “I listen to whatever is on the radio”. If you were to be asked that question, what would you respond? If you say something along the lines of, “I’m into harder music,” or, “I like something more alternative, but still with a rough feeling to it,” then the album for you is The Stories We Tell Ourselves by Nothing More.
Nothing More is a rock band from San Antonio, Texas, founded in 2003. They are fronted by lead singer Jonny Hawkins. They are categorized as an alternative/progressive metal band, but the true category is determined by the listener and their taste. Most of Nothing More’s music is created based off of British philosopher, Alan Watts, and his teachings and Hawkins’ personal experiences.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves is in album that is blanketed in misery, suffering, and never having enough. Hawkins and his band mates created the album as a way to explore the disconnect between the stories we tell ourselves about reality, and reality itself; hence the album title.
Hawkins opens the album with “Do You Really Want It?”, a song that is about how everybody wants to change the world, but they do not want to change themselves. This sets up the theme of the album: do I really want to live in the reality of other people, or do I live in my own?
“Still In Love” is a rock ballad that will hit close to home to anyone that has ever been in a failed relationship. This song may be upbeat, but
Hawkins’ vocals and lyrical content give a melancholy feel to the track.
“Are we looking at forever? ‘Cause I don’t see it in your eyes. Have you had enough or do we try again? The glass was half full when we stopped pouring in.” Those lyrics are from the song “Just Say When”, describing how difficult it may be to end a relationship, and the overwhelming sadness that ensues when you realize that it is time to let go. Hawkins captures that sense of hopelessness when you are caught in that situation perfectly.
The standout song, and final song on the album is “FadeInFadeOut”. It is very reminiscent to “God Went North”, the hit single off of their 2014 self-titled album. Both songs have to do with confronting life, getting older, and losing family members. It is a bittersweet way to end the album, making the listener capture the feeling of loss, and at the same time, the desire to move forward with life.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves is Nothing More’s best music to date. It is in your face, but subdued when it needs to be. This is the best sophomore album released in the history of alternative metal. Do yourself a favor and listen to this album the way it was meant to be listened to: from beginning to end.