My first thought upon first listen to Anthony Green’s surprise solo album, Would You Still Be In Love, was, “How the hell can he be this prolific?!” In the last decade, Green has been the frontman for both Circa Survive and Saosin while releasing five solo records. Somehow, Would You Still Be In Love is as beautiful as it is terrifying. For each image beautifully painted of absolute love, there is a tear in the canvas showing the struggle with mental illness on the other side.
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Green’s solo albums have always experimented with genre, but they have usually been at their best at the acoustic level. Aside from sparsely used percussion and a haunting violin, the majority of Would You Still Be In Love consists of gorgeously melodic acoustic tracks that make the lyrics much darker than they otherwise may have been. While Green pours over his struggles and things begin crashing down, you can hear the beauty of the world around him that he’s trying to reach.
As usual, Green’s lyrics are stunning. The album is a surprisingly dark one that uses stark imagery to show the struggles of mental illness in a relationship. Opener “Vera Lynn” is arguably the poppiest song Green has ever written. It also is a song about the fear of becoming musically irrelevant. It’s both a warning to himself and an understanding of his profession as he sings, “Someday if you hit the big one, everybody wants some from you / It won’t last / Cause then one day you’ll bite the big one / Everyone will move onto somebody new”.
“Love”, a cover from the song made famous in Disney’s Robin Hood animated movie, is a sweet homage to his family. It also sets the tone for how wonderful things can be before collapsing. “You’re So Dead Meat” is where the first doubts begin to pour in about his music. There are lines that show the struggle with art in ways I have never heard before, such as, “These strings are so dead / Holding off on changing them / until one day they will just break”, or “Why should I put everything into all these songs you just steal?”
“When I Come Home” is the showstopper of the record. It highlights the struggle of dealing with personal issues and watching against your own will as things appear to fall to pieces. The song weighs the pressure between true and failed love as Green sings, “Don’t blame me if I’m right / You were always on your way out / You can take your time, I’ll be patient / Don’t hate me if I say, ‘If there’s something I can change’ / You’d still be in love when I come home”.
Closer “Real Magic” manages to find solace with his struggles and ties off his fears. Coming to terms with his fears as a musician from earlier in the album, “Real Magic” justifies the struggles of writing such personal songs as he sings, “Everyday there’s something tragic that helps somebody else”.
Would You Still Be In Love sits amongst Anthony Green’s best solo albums. As tragic as it is redeeming, the record feels complete at nine songs long. Extremely personal, thematic and honest, Green shows yet again that he’s never left the top of his game.
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by Kyle Schultz