Sometime back in 2006 a friend of mine left a couple of CDs in my room. One of these would be a classic I still listen to, and the other was Hoobastank’s debut album. What was this classic you may ask? Well, if the title of this piece didn’t tip you off, it was Senses Fail’s Still Searching. This album couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. I was in that horrifically awkward phase of going to horrific hardcore shows in the basement of the local (and horrific) library. Did I mention how horrific this was? Full disclosure – after recalling so many horrific local metal bands, I’ve actually forgotten what I was going to say next in the intro. So let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? I love this album.
According to iTunes, it’s actually been a little over two years since I’ve given Still Searching a full listen. I can’t believe it’s been so long, though that is one of the perks to signing on to do the retro reviews here at MEB: finding lost loves, or some contrived, romantic metaphor like that.
Tracks like “Bonecrusher” and “Sick or Sane (Fifty for a Twenty)” immediately take me back to the day when I would sit around with my friends playing Halo. The album changes up all the time. Sometimes it’s more toward the alternative side with “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues” or sometimes you get much heavier with tracks like “Still Searching.” The constant changes in both style and song length make this one of the most dynamic albums of the genre.
One thing that sets this album apart from its peers is that it takes a quality over quantity approach with screaming. While many bands will scream till your ears can’t take it anymore, SF save it for when it counts. This breaks up the rock that at times could easily be considered ‘emo.’ We were just coming out of that era by this album’s release. Still Searching had a balancing act to play and it played it well, the title track being far and away the best example of this.
This album was by and large my introduction to post-hardcore, establishing a real love-hate relationship with the genre. It took me quite a long time to find another band that I enjoyed as much as SF. Many of the other big names came and went without doing much for me. This retro-review was a pleasure to do. We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve gone back years later and listened to an old favourite only to think: “I really used to listen to this?” Still Searching still holds up.