I'm happy to report that this is the best record Alkaline Trio has made in a decade. The band's first four records are absolute classics of the genre and you can still find me singing along to any one of those four albums in my car on a regular basis (although trust me, you wouldn't want to actually hear me singing). Their ability to write absurdly clever lyrics and catchy hooks early in their career is almost unparalleled compared to other pop punk bands around at that time and especially compared to any current band.

Their last classic album in my eyes was From Here To Infirmary (2001). Then the band’s sound began to take a new direction on their next release, Good Mourning (2003). That album featured a handful of great songs, a handful of forgettable songs, and a few that were just mediocre. The punk part of the pop punk aesthetic was replaced with cleaner production and more rock oriented song structures. This new direction in sound was pushed further with subsequent releases (2005’s Crimson and 2008’s Agony & Irony). After Good Mourning I had honestly lost all interest in the band’s newer material. They released This Addiction in 2010, which I decided to give a chance, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I wouldn’t call it a return to form by any means, but it was certainly a step in the right direction. Although I found that record to have somewhat of a hollow feel to it, and no real standout tracks. Nevertheless, it was a marked improvement from the previous two records.

Now that we’ve taken a trip down memory lane and discussed the thrilling details of my own opinions on the band’s career so far, let’s talk about the new record. The first song “She Lied to the FBI” is impossibly catchy and instantly brings back memories of From Here To Infirmary era Trio. Back when I first listened to From Here To Infirmary I was thinking to myself, “If I owned a car I’d play the shit out of this album with the windows down in the summer”. Fortunately now that I’m a grown adult (I suppose that’s debatable), I own a car and I was able to listen to this new album in my car with the windows down. Anyway, what I’m getting at is “She Lied to the FBI” gave me that same feeling that I had back in high school when listening to From Here To Infirmary for the first time and it had me really excited for the rest of this album. The second song, “I Wanna be a Warhol”, is also great and features one of the catchiest choruses they’ve written in recent memory. To me this song evokes memories of the best songs from Good Mourning and is one of the highlights of My Shame is True. Both of these songs are written and sung by Matt Skiba, the band’s primary vocalist. Other standouts on the album from Matt include “Kiss You To Death”, The Temptation of St. Anthony”, and “Midnight Blue”.

The third song, “I’m Only Here to Disappoint” is the first of four songs written and sung by Dan Andriano, the band’s bass player and other vocalist. I’m not a fan of this track. It’s uninspired and the chorus sounds amateurish to me, where I feel in years past Dan could write a better song than this in his sleep. This leads me to my only complaint of the album. Of the four songs Dan wrote and did vocals for on this album, I don’t really care for any of them. They’re too sappy, which I could forgive if they had a good hook or were somewhat catchy, but unfortunately they possess neither of those qualities. The one song he has on this album that I don’t mind is “I, Pessimist”. Even that song though is fairly skippable. I’ve always preferred Matt’s songs to Dan’s, but it’s just not even close on this album. I thoroughly enjoy all eight songs Matt did on this album where I’ve found myself skipping Dan’s songs.

Another thing to note is that while I think the lyrics are really quite good, they seem to have lost their knack for writing really witty and clever lines that used to be peppered throughout all of their songs earlier in their career. Maybe this can just be attributed to the band members growing up and maturing, but I do miss it. The lyrics on this album seem very personal in some songs, but they feel sincere and honest, not just bullshit metaphors that actually don’t mean anything like you find with a lot of bands these days. Overall, this album contains eight songs of which I’d almost place next to any of those classic four records, and that is exciting for me. I’ll be listening to this in the car with the windows down for a long time.