Set It Off has come a long way since its initial formation more than a decade ago in Tampa, Florida. The band, which started out as very much an emo punk style act in its early days, has gradually evolved and adapted with each new EP and album, clearly exhibiting its band members’ talents time and again. That evolution is more on display in the band’s latest album Midnight (its fourth full-length studio recording) than on any of its previous offerings partially through the album’s musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The same can be said of the songs’ lyrical content, which will be discussed a little later. The record’s sequencing puts the finishing touch on its presentation, helping to put all of that talent on display and keep listeners engaged and entertained from start to finish. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Midnight. All things considered, they make Midnight another strong offering from Set It Off.
Set It Off’s new album Midnight, released Feb. 1 via Fearless Records, is an important and welcome new offering from the, Tampa, Florida-based band. That is because the album puts on display even more than ever, the band’s growth both musically and lyrically. Looking first at the record’s musical content, this record’s 15-song, 51-minute shows so much more pop influence than has ever been show previously from the band. That is evidenced early on in the arrangement presented in ‘Hourglass,’ the album’s second song. This clearly pop-infused song crosses the band’s familiar punk style sound with a much more radio-ready sound for a whole that will stick in any listener’s head. The more pop-centered sound is present more in the song’s choruses than its verses, but it still clearly evident. ‘Different Songs’ is another example of the ways in which Set It Off exhibits its growth on this record. The familiar sounds from the band’s past records is there again, but far less than in so many of the band’s past albums. If anything, it is more of a pop-rock arrangement that is ready for any top 40 radio station than any of the emo punk works that the band has ever crafted. ‘Stitch Me Up’ is yet another example of how much Set It Off has grown musically. This song’s arrangement is a full-on pop arrangement that again is fully ready for any mainstream Top 40 station. This is evident in the electronics, guitars and keyboards. It sounds collectively, like so many catchy pop songs that have been turned out by so many other acts. Much the same can be said of the arrangement at the center of ‘I Want You (Gone) (ft. Matt Appleton) and Happy All The Time (ft. Skyler Acord).’ These songs’ guitars and pop-style hooks and choruses are a far cry from the band’s past compositions. Now all of this is not to say that the band does not present its more familiar, harder-edged sound from its past records, but those arrangements are definitely less prevalent here than the band’s more pop-centered works, which the band really started showing with its 2014 album Duality.
While the musical content presented throughout Midnight clearly exhibits Set It Off’s continued evolution from start to finish, it is just one of the items that shows that evolution. A close listen to the album’s lyrical content shows that said content exhibits the band’s growth in its own way. The songs centered on issues of relationships show a wider range of emotions. ‘Lonely Dance,’ which tells introverts that it is okay to be who they are, is another example of that growth. Few, if any bands have braved such an issue, and so eloquently at that. It sets the band – and the album – apart from its counterparts throughout the rock and pop community even more. As if that is not enough, a song, such as ‘Dancing with The Devil,’ which front man Cody Carson explained is about being aware of false friends, is just as easily understood and original in its approach to the topic. ‘Midnight Thoughts’ is yet another example of how the album’s lyrical content exhibits the band’s continued growth. It is yet another of the album’s songs that musically shows quite a change from the band’s past, showing more semblance to Maroon 5 and other bands than its own work. Lyrically, it takes on the issue of how each one of us faces those thoughts every night that keep us from sleeping. Yet again, the band might not be the only act to ever address the topic, but few, if any, other acts out there can say that they have done this, and in the fashion in which Set It Off has here. It is just one more way in which Midnight’s lyrical content shows Set It Off’s continued growth on this album. It shows once more, the band delving into an area in which it previously had not touched. That it was able to reach into that realm so clearly and in such catchy fashion (through its music) is another strong statement from the band. When it is considered along with the rest of the lyrical (and musical) content displayed throughout Midnight, the whole shows without doubt why Midnight is another positive offering from Set It Off.
The musical and lyrical content presented throughout Midnight goes a long way toward showing what makes Set It Off’s latest LP a welcome offering from the band. It shows once again, the band’s continued evolution and ability to handle various musical styles. That is rare in today’s music industry, so again, the band should be proud of itself. The band’s true fans should be just as positive toward the band, to that end. While the record’s overall content does plenty to the positive for Midnight, one cannot ignore the importance of the album’s sequencing in that overall presentation. Listeners will note that the album starts off with Set It Off’s familiar emo punk styling in ‘Killer in the Mirror’ before switching to a more pop-centric sound in ‘Hourglass.’ From there, the album moves into ‘Lonely Dance,’ which presents a mix of both the band’s former sound and its more pop-centric sound in one. ‘Different Songs,’ switches things up again, giving listeners more of that direct pop sound, as does ‘For You Forever.’ ‘Dancing With The Devil’ presents a pop/hip-hop hybrid sound that is just as accessible as any of its more well-known Top 40 counterparts. From that point, the album leans increasingly toward a pop direction, again showing where the band is moving. It eventually reaches its peak in the deeply emotional ‘Unopened Windows,’ which opens with Carson alone on piano and vocals. The song gradually builds, adding in a triangle, tambourine and then other elements. It is a very familiar mainstream approach, but still powerful in its own right that is certain to help the band’s chances of breaking into said mainstream world. Looking at the overall picture of Midnight’s sequencing, it becomes clear that plenty of thought and time was put into ordering the songs for this record. The band (and other creative forces) wanted to gradually ease audiences into the band’s current direction, rather than overpowering them. That is what seems to be inferred through the album’s sequencing. When this is considered along with the growth exhibited through the album’s musical and lyrical content, the whole of these elements makes Midnight another strong effort from Set It Off.
Set It Off’s fourth full-length studio recording Midnight is a key offering from the band. That is because it shows more than any of the band’s past albums, it shows significant growth from the band, both musically and lyrically. The arrangements show clearly the band’s willingness to take chances. The lyrical content shows the band branching out even in the area of relationship-based songs while also taking on otherwise little addressed topics, such as being an introvert and facing those problems that keep us up at night. The album’s sequencing keeps things interesting in regards to each content, showing plenty of time and thought was put into said matter. Keeping all of this in mind, Midnight proves to be a strong offering that will earn the band just as many fans as it might lose. In other words, it is another successful effort overall for the band.
Set It Off will launch a tour in support of Midnight next week. The tour, whose dates are listed below, is set to run through March 24, features scheduled performances in Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR and Mesa, AZ.
SET IT OFF ON TOUR:
MIDNIGHT WORLD TOUR PART 1
WITH WITH CONFIDENCE + (super whatevr)
2/15 — Las Vegas, NV — Hard Rock Hotel
2/16 — Pomona, CA — The Glass House
2/17 — Santa Cruz, CA — The Catalyst
2/19 — Portland, OR — Hawthorne Theater
2/20 — Seattle, WA — El Corazon
2/23 — Salt Lake City, UT — In The Venue
2/24 — Denver, CO — Marquis Theatre
2/26 — Chicago, IL — Metro
2/27 — Pontiac, MI — Crofoot Ballroom
2/28 — New York, NY — Gramercy Theatre
3/2 — Millvale, PA — Mr. Smalls Theatre
3/3 — Philadelphia, PA — Union Transfer
3/5 — Cleveland Heights, OH — Grog Shop
3/6 — Toronto, ON — Mod Club
3/8 — Boston, MA — Paradise Rock Club
3/9 — Baltimore, MD — Baltimore Soundstage
3/10 — Greensboro, NC — Blind Tiger
3/12 — West Columbia, SC — New Brookland Tavern
3/13 — Atlanta, GA — The Masquerade
3/15 — Orlando, FL — The Abbey
3/18 — Dallas, TX — 2513 Deep Ellum
3/19 — Houston, TX — White Oak Music Hall
3/20 — San Antonio, TX — Alamo City Music Hall
3/22 — Mesa, AZ — The Nile
3/23 — West Hollywood, CA — The Roxy
3/24 — San Francisco, CA — Great American Music Hall
Set It Off debuted the video for Midnight’s latest single, ‘Dancing With The Devil’ on Feb. 4. The video is streaming online now here.
More information on Midnight is available online now along with all of Set It Off’s latest news and more at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.