Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blast from the Past: Breaking Things

Title:  Breaking Things (Amazon, iTunes, CD Universe,, AllMusic, Wikipedia)

ALL’s 1993 album Breaking Things was the first for vocalist Chad Price and the band’s last for Cruz Records.  This was also the first ALL record that I ever owned.  I’d been a fan of the Descendents for a few years but never knew what happened to them after Liveage (remember, this was pre-internet).  When I was a freshman at OU I met a guy in geology class who mentioned that ALL was coming to play at Rome in Norman.  I’d seen flyers for the show around campus but didn’t know who they were.  He then told me that ALL was the Descendents with a different singer.  Shortly after that I picked up a copy of Breaking Things (I actually remember buying the cassette at the old Crossroads Best Buy) and was blown away. 

Breaking Things was ALL’s sixth full-length album (counting the TonyALL record New Girl, Old Story) and probably the most ferocious thing the band had released since Milo Aukerman left the band and their moniker changed.  The energy level on Breaking Things is a few notches higher than previous ALL releases.  The record opens with “Original Me” and infectious song written by Price that also includes some pretty heavy lyrics (an omen of things to come from Mr. Price throughout his career in this band and other projects).  Next is “Right,” penned by bassist Karl Alvarez, a song about that one right girl.  “Shreen,” the album’s first single follows with an ode to trying to salvage a failing relationship.  The fact that this song was completely overlooked by the mainstream, while not surprising at all, is fairly disgusting.  “Shreen” is one of the catchiest songs ever written and should have been a huge hit.  The rest of the album follows in pretty much this same fashion with songs about girls, making the most out of life, responsibility, and girls.  There are lighthearted moments (“Horizontal”) and serious moments (“Birthday I.O.U.”).  There are songs with social commentary (“’Cause,” “Politics”), songs that attack do-nothing attitudes (“Excuses”) and songs about cars (“Rosco”).  And did I mention that there were songs about girls (“Stick,” “Guilty”)?  From top to bottom, Breaking Things is a stellar album. 

Since 1993, Breaking Things has been a mainstay in my life.  This is the record that truly introduced me to the world of ALL and has thus had a huge impact on my life (I have since procured the band’s entire catalog—including singles—and most of the catalogs of their side projects, some of which are not easy to attain).  And even though I’m more of a bands person than a records person, if I was asked to pick an all-time favorite album it would be Breaking Things.

If you are someone who has always like the Descendents but never really got into ALL, I highly suggest that you give Breaking Things a listen.  The songs are powerfully played, passionate, and catchy while having all of the energy and urgency that the Descendents were famous for.  Also if you listen carefully you’ll hear a certain biochemist on backing vocals.  

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