What Has Happened To Alkaline Trio?

Jun 19th, 2008 // 12 Comments

Alkaline Trio stuck out amongst their peers on Asian Man and Vagrant in the early ’00s, and I had some friends who were really into the Chicago band back in college. They had big hooks, a speedy punk sound, and Matt Skiba screaming like Ian MacKaye if he wasn’t above presenting himself as a broke, miserable drunk with girlfriend issues. I tuned out after Goddamnit and Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, but it seemed like the band was continuing to entertain their cult and I was happy for everybody. Recent events, though, have been less than encouraging. To promote their upcoming major-label debut Agony And Irony, the band has appeared on The Hills, released a shoe with Nike named “Heart And Sole,” and dropped “Help Me,” the worst single I’ve heard from them yet.

While it would be wrong to critique lines like “save me from myself/ save me from myself” when I still own a song from 1998 named “My Little Needle,” back in the day, they didn’t feel the need to emulate Angels & Frikkin’ Airwaves by dropping “la la la la” breaks over twinkling backdrops.

I don’t usually accuse people of selling out for doing ads (I’d be happy to see them making fruit cocktails for Denny’s All Nighter), but it does seem like they’ve erased any of the qualities that originally made them appealing to their original fanbase. Will Heidi Montag fans replace the young old punks who probably feel out of place at Warped Tour anyway? I don’t know, but this audience in Portland doesn’t seem to be feeling it much.

Alkaline Trio Designs Shoe For Nike [Buzzgrinder]
Alkaline Trio – Help Me [YouTube]
Alkaline Trio – In Vain [YouTube]


  1. Anonymous

    “San Francisco” from the Goddamnit album is a great, great song.

    I think I also remember them re-recording an album of theirs in it’s entirety as part of some other stunt.

  2. themeparkexperience

    I don’t remember them re-recording an entire album, but I do remember a 2-disc version of ‘Crimson’ containing acoustic versions of the album’s songs. Maybe that was it?

  3. MayhemintheHood

    I was definitely one of the people digging them in 99-2001. The last album of theirs I have though is Good Mourning but I pretty much stopped caring about them. They bring back some good memories still, though.

    That new song is horrible, by the way.

    @Peg Entwistle: Good song.

  4. Anonymous

    The hook on the new single sounds like it was ripped straight from the Cardigan’s song “Love Fool.” Anyone hear what I’m talking about?

    I was obsessed with this band back in high school, but this is dreadful stuff.

  5. Poubelle

    @Peg Entwistle: True, that song is excellent.

    My high school self would be very upset by this. As it is, the band’s not making me too unhappy that my tastes went elsewhere.

  6. Al Shipley

    Not having heard a whole lot of their old stuff, I heard “Help Me” on the radio recently and liked it fine. My favorite thing the band has been involved in in the singer’s cameo on the bridge of “About Falling” by Say Anything, though.

  7. Anonymous

    This surprises you? When someone already made a Ramones limited edition converse that was already worn in, and a Joe Strummer commemorative guitar that’s all beat up and covered in stickers just like his was? This is tame commercialism compared to those atrocities.

  8. Anonymous

    they always sucked fucking ass

  9. sharky

    Okay… you’ve made up for the awful Oasis post with this. You’re spot on.

  10. sharky

    They’re also absolutely terrible live. Really, really bad. The drummer is great and always has been, but they can’t stay on key to save their life and their sound requires the vocals to be sung relatively on pitch.

  11. Anonymous

    Meh…these guys are gettin’ up there in age…Methinks they’re cashing in now so they can move on to non-Alkaline Trio projects.

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