“Jet” starts out with a solid groove that begins with the guitar and adds the percussive part before the vocals enter for the first time. This general groove remains constant throughout the majority of the song. The musical influence of this song feels as if it’s a mixture of standard pop punk song and a pop ballad. In the middle of the song, the band drops down significantly instrumentally until the vocals reenter in a more solemn manner, and then groove returns, which brings the audience back to the original theme.
“In the Middle of it All” starts with a mysterious choir sounding vocal part that repeats the title of the song “in the middle of it all”. This song has a minimal back-beat throughout and is generally static melodically and instrumentally. The previous influence of musical genres remains in this song, yet this selection is a bit lack luster compared to the other tracks on this album.
“As You Please” starts with a simple drum motive that helps to get the audience in the feel of the song. Towards the beginning, the audience only hears that motive accompanied with isolated vocals overtop it (until the guitar interjects infrequently). This instrumental part of this song helps to push the lyrics to the forefront, and this is significant, for this is the title track of the album. Thus, Citizen does an excellent job of showcasing the song that amplifies the title of the album. As the song begins to near the end, the instrumental section picks up slightly before dropping out again. This adding and subtracting of parts makes the song more interesting, and keeps the listener more engaged.
“Medicine” starts with a guitar melody that is soon accompanied by the vocals and percussion section. In this song, the vocalist’s tone is a bit more targeting; meaning, it has a rougher front to it. This is effective, for it gives the audience a new sound frame to reflect with as they listen and internalize the lyrics of this song. The song stays consistent to the beginning motive until about halfway through where the band introduces their own type of musical breakdown where the vocalist offers lyrics that appear to be yelled, which helps to coney the emotion of the words he’s vocalizing.
“Ugly Luck” starts with a more upbeat backtrack, this is very effective to the audience, for most of the songs before this one have been relaxed; thus, this change in style gives the audience more variety while being under the same style of music. As this song progresses, it becomes apparent that the chorus of this song is very catchy so much so that audience members will likely click with this song the first time that they listen to it. Towards the end of this song, Citizen utilizes the technique of dropping out instruments to isolate vocals as they’ve done in other songs on this album already: this is very strong in this instance, for that will likely be a moment where the audience screams the lyrics back at them, and this song already has that singable value to it, and that ending snippet only enhances that.
“World” provides vocals from the very beginning. This tactic is different compared to the previous songs on the album, so the audience members will be startled in a positive way when they first listen to this song. As the song moves forward, the band provides a mixture of clear sang vocals and vocals that have a tad more aggression to them, but the two are well balanced throughout the work. In the middle of the song, the band has a slight instrumental interlude, which gets the audience to feel the groove that drives the remainder of the selection.
“Fever Days” starts out with an instrumental feature. The sound of this feature differs from the rest of the album, for it provides the audience with a sound that relates more to a punk, alternative vibe. This addition shows the audience that Citizen is able to shift their sound while staying consistent with their general characteristics and produce a cool sounding piece. The vocals throughout this song fluctuate between a clear deeper sung vocal part and a vocal part with more tension. Generally, this song is driven by another groove that is similar to their previous songs, but it enough different to still be interesting.
“Control” starts with a solid drum set feature that establishes the overall feel of the song. The vocalist enters in soon after the feature with very relaxed lyrics that are fitting to the concept that the band is portraying through this selection. As the song progresses, it is easy to classify this song as one of their more solemn selections, but it is one of the best on the album, for the lyrics are emotional, the melodic line is musically interesting, and the instrumental section provides steady pleasing material.
“Discrete Routine” starts with some simple piano chords followed by a more acoustic feel through the vocals and the instrumental section. This song surprising follows “Control” because they both live in the realm of being more relaxed; however, each song can be found on opposite sides of the fence even if they are conceptually related. The band adds in a bigger instrumental feature in the middle of the song that enhances the relaxed feel, for this helps to make this song more versatile while being under the “relaxed” atmosphere.
“I Forgive No One” starts with a progressive instrumental and vocal mixture that differs from the previous two songs significantly. Throughout this song, the band toys with this different sound that goes back to the alternative meets punk that is also related to pop punk (sound). This mixture of influences is strong for this song because it’s another selection that is stretching Citizen’s characteristic sound, but it still heavily remains underneath their general umbrella. The band includes a louder instrumental interlude that leads to a moment of isolated vocals with minimal instrumentation. This is largely effective in this section, for it grabs the audience’s attention and keeps them engaged especially as we near the end of the album.
“You Are a Star” starts off with vocals that almost come across spoken, this is accompanied by a faint percussive part and noises that sound like they belong in a film track. The vocalist continues this type of technique until he says “don’t let me down”, and the full band joins in. When the full band joins in, they establish a new groove that remains consistent throughout the remainder of the song with variations to it. Another admirable portion of this song, is that the band experiments with different instrumentation, primarily in the percussion section, for the audience becomes aware of single moments where there is a noise that they aren’t quite familiar with, yet it fits in perfectly with the feel of the work and the percussion part. As the song nears the end, the band adds a loud drum set line that leads into another strong instrumental feature that eventually adds the vocalist back in. This is remarkable, for it was unforeseen, and it gives this song even more color to it: which enhances the album’s likability even more.
“Flowerchild” starts off with an acoustic guitar feature, which is different from every other selection on this album. The vocalist enters in soon after that, and his lyrics are well received, for the band keeps the music between those two sources until after the first verse. Eventually, the band adds more instrumentation, and a steadier back-beat is added right before the chorus. In the chorus, the band returns to their general sound that has been prominent throughout the album. In this song, the instrumental music seems to have more melodic direction that helps to lead to the fuller parts of the song. As the song nears its end, the band returns to the original motive of the song briefly before going to the final passage of the album. This was a strong closing song for the album, for it utilized about every technique that the band used in the other songs throughout the album, and the song itself is very memorable.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Before listening to this album, I had never fully listened to Citizen before. (I know, how shocking), but from this analysis I feel like there is a lot of good things to say when talking about the band’s music. Instrumentally, the music isn’t overly intricate; however, the band milks their music and sells it to that point that it’s hard not to enjoy it. Lyrically, the band is providing their audience with emotional moments that they’ll resonate with. Therefore, if you are looking for an album to relax to, groove with, and connect with: this is the album for you. Nicely done!
* “As You Please” was released on October 6, 2017 through Run For Cover Records.