Tears On Tape – HIM

If I am to be honest, it has taken me about a month to write this review. Why? Because… I’ve been rather happy. I mean Ablaze was born, and despite a few complications with his mother and the afterbirth, despite a few issues with his belly button, things have been good since HIM released their latest CD, Tears on Tape.

tears on tape him

Which is why, it hasn’t really touched me before now.

I must admit, when I first saw the video for All Lips Go Blue, I was laughing and shaking my head. Really? If you want to use animations, come on, go all in, not this half finished, lazy looking job. Maybe I am slightly damaged by living with a guy from Dark Mare Pictures, who keep pointing out faults to me when we watch TV, and so I have started noticing them myself… still…

The Video for All Lips Go Blue did nothing for the song, in fact, it kind of made my dislike it. Watching the video I felt that HIM had gone pop, for real this time. I mean, people always say that, the fans went crazy when Screamworks was released- their previous CD- and it is always unfair. All Lipse Go Blue are not a pop song. The video just ruined it for me.

Tears on Tape, again love the song, hate the video. I realize that HIM have been lucky in the past, with their videos, but now, well, it seems that their luck is running out. The Tears on Tape video is just… Nothing. Pointless. It actually manages to make a GOOD song boring.

The Into the Night video, well, it’s out of sync. Let’s be honest, it would have been the best of the videos, I really like it, but it’s out of sync. Come on that’s an unforgivable mistake in a music video, to have Ville’s lips move behind or just off the song. No. No go. Don’t. That’s lazy, and unacceptable editing. Even I and my little patience would have never edited something like that together. Just not good enough.

So, the CD.

tears on tape cover

Like I said to begin with, I’ve been struggling to review it, simply because I’ve been happy and this IS HIM. You got to be a little miserable to feel the music.

Which is why I am returning now, crawling home, to the one safe place I always have when I am sad, the one person left in this world who knows what it feels like to simply be a tortured soul, and not always for a reason.

HIM never lets you down.  Pop or not, lousy videos or not, the music is just as perfect as ever.

Tears on Tape is a little darker than Screamworks, although not as dark- thank Ville- as Venus Doom.

Tears on Tape is a melodic, beautiful, piece of music, and to my great joy, the musicians are allowed to actually play music on this CD. Let’s face it, Screamworks was hardly HIM, that was Ville and the guys backing him. It seems that this time though, Mige, Linde, Burton and Gas are reclaiming their place in the band.

The lyrics are perhaps a bit more cliché than Ville usually are, but it is forgivable. Let’s be honest, one of the things that have always drawn me to HIM is that Ville would write stuff like this for instance, from Love Metal, Beyond Redemption;

“Oh I see you crawl,

You can barely walk

Arms wide open you keep on

Begging for more…”

I always LOVED the cruel twist he can put on love at all times.

Tears on Tape are lacking a bit of… originality perhaps.

As a musician myself, as a song writer, I would say it feels a bit forced. It feels like Ville has been trying to write songs, the way he used to, but he wasn’t really feeling it. Hence the shallow feel in a lot of the lyrics.

“Into the night we ride, scars wide open
Into the night, you and I torn and broken
Bleed into the night,”

For instance. I mean, it’s HIM, it’s all the right words, and still…. A bit too easy. Too safe. It lacks the usual raw honesty one usually find lurking underneath every HIM song.

So, yes, this is a bit of a shallow album, as far as the lyrics are concerned.

If I should guess to why, I would say, well, Ville has been happy when he wrote it. No honest bleeding this time. I must admit, I find that rather refreshing for a change. Maybe it is time for all of us to grow up and get over ourselves? Maybe we should listen to the hint of irony behind every song on this CD instead of the usual “I will be the end of you…”

Two songs ring more true than the others though.

Hearts at War;

“So, after all that we have done
Are you feeling cold like the winter sun
And have you thought about all the words that
We left unsaid, don’t be scared
(You should be)”

And Love without Tears;

“A ghost residing here, a boy who
Can’t let go, won’t take no for an answer
Crying his song”

So, should you buy this CD?

Depends on who you are.

Let’s be honest. HIM is not for everyone, but once you fall in love with the dark shadows of your own heart, HIM is always there, shallow or not, to give you words to sing.

If you are a HIM’ster already, YES go buy it, it won’t let you down. Tears on Tape are exactly what we all expected from HIM at the moment, nothing more or less. Because, if you are a HIM’ster already, you have kept up with Ville’s drinking, Gas’ illness, all the stuff that has been going on and if this CD feels a bit less honest than usual, that is completely acceptable.

If you are not a HIM’ster already, you never would have noticed that it might feel a little “off” until I pointed it out, so just forget this review.

In closing, I would like to point out one thing. Tears on Tape, HIM in general, are not music that makes you sad. Its music you listen to when you are sad. For me there is a HUGE difference.

Its music you find comfort in, a kindred spirit, a shoulder to cry on, someone who knows what it is like when your heart is breaking and who are not afraid to sing it out loud.

I almost always hear HIM in some shape or form, I almost always have at least one CD with me on my mp3 when I ride my bike to the stable and back again, and I always love the music, it always makes me smile, but I just love it a lot more when I am feeling blue.

Why? Because even then, it puts a smile on my lips, most of the time.


About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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