Tonight Alive – Limitless

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Tonight Alive are back with a new album. Anam Zafar reviews.
Anam Zafar argues that Tonight Alive have taken a step away from their rock sound in their new album Limitless, but this change isn't for the worst.

On the contrary to the band’s previous albums, Tonight Alive’s Limitless actually starts off in a good mood. Opening tracks To Be Free and Oxygen are celebrations of contentment, excitement and confidence. It wouldn’t surprise me if these two songs are autobiographical because having now reached international fame and with a growing crowd of fans and media interest with each new album, the band deserve to be happy and to feel confident about where they are right now (hence the name Limitless?). They experiment majorly with their sound on this album, which they can afford to do now that they’ve got the fans. I would say that Limitless is more pop than punk, but don’t let that put you off and don’t denounce them as sell-outs: bands should always be rewarded and encouraged to experiment and be flexible.

The two opening tracks are very poppy, and Oxygen is very synth-based, a trend which continues throughout the album. Even on Human Interaction, where the guitars are slightly more audible, they seem to be acoustic rather than electric. Even so, they are good songs, well thought-out and catchy, and Jenna’s voice is as impressive as always. But if you’re beginning to get withdrawal symptoms from the Tonight Alive that you know and love, How Does It Feel? and I Defy are where you’ll find the distortion and the head-banging. In these songs, every instrument is going strong and How Does It Feel? has a refreshingly different drum track to the rest of the album, where they don’t seem to change much. Also, the outro to I Defy is pretty special. I have no doubt that these songs will sound amazing live because this power-rock is when Tonight Alive are at their best, and they must know that their hearts lie in this sound because they couldn’t keep away from it completely on this album.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Tonight Alive album without an inspirational message or two, and this time it comes in the form of the song We Are which I suppose we can call a ballad. I can already imagine crowds of excited teenagers singing along as Jenna sings “If they’re not gonna change the world, we are.”

What else is refreshing is that most of the songs don’t seem to be about a romantic love for once, but a love for life and friendship and happiness, like in closing track The Greatest. It’s the slowest and quietest song on the album, again showing the band’s contentment with where they are right now, as they don’t feel like they need to go out with a blast. Previous album The Other Side was spawned from various personal issues that Jenna was having at the time, but there is a clear change of mood with Limitless, as the lyrics don’t revolve around complaints and difficult confessions but around acceptance and the fight for happiness.

All in all, I would say that Limitless is much more conventional than Tonight Alive’s previous offerings, sometimes too¬†much, like the backing vocals on Drive and Power of One which I find quite cheesy. However, I know how much importance they place on their live performances and this album will put on a great show. Also, it’s always nice to see a band yearning for change and experimentation rather than stagnation, and the album definitely is an enjoyable listen.

Picks: How Does It Feel?, I Defy, Human Interaction
Rating: 3.5/5