Smile for Them - Armor for Sleep

by Matthew Jones, SUNY Cortland, April 24, 2008

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Smile For Them
is Armor For Sleep’s third album, but it might as well be the first. Dream To Make Believe was their first album, touching on themes of daydreams, sleep and death. Their sophomore album, What To Do When You Are Dead took these themes to another level with quality music and even better lyrics. Ben, PJ, Anthony and Nash have outdone themselves this time though. Smile For Them is the band's first album that strays from the “concept album” and it doesn’t miss a beat.

“Smile For The Camera” is the opening track of Smile For Them and it leaves you wanting more… thankfully, the rest of the album fulfills everything you want. Their first single, “Williamsburg”, takes on the “hipster” culture in New York City but more importantly, the world. With lyrics like “Brooklyn’s a deathbed/For clones of the same kid/Stuck in the party/That was lame to begin with” you can tell that Ben means business. “Somebody Else’s Arms” is the next song and is one of the band's best on the album. Primarily driven along by a strong drumbeat from Nash and a bass line from Anthony, this is a definite “rock-out in your car” song.
Their second single, “Hold The Door”, builds on the first three tracks of the album and incorporates some synth elements/sound effects and an atmosphere that is reminiscent of the song “Car Underwater” (see their sophomore album, What To Do When You Are Dead). “Run Right Back In” is a song about saving something, that something is certainly up for interpretation. Literally, the chorus makes reference to a burning building but it could be about any number of things from a relationship to a friendship. “Snow Globe” might have been the best song on the album if it wasn’t an interlude that lasts less than 2 minutes.

“End Of The World” was featured on the Transformers' soundtrack. Need I say more? It starts off slow but this is the calm before the storm, by then end of the song you feel like you’re running out of time and you need to pick up and go before it’s too late. “Stars In Your Eyes” is the definition of a power jam, led by Ben’s screeching guitar. This is another “rock-out in your car song” that will never get old and also never get out of your head. “Lullaby” is probably the most heartfelt song on the album. It starts off with the line “Didn’t they teach you/Everything’s ok if you settle enough” and the rest of the lyrics follow in the vein of feeling discarded and being like a default part of someone’s life.

The song “Chemicals” is a song about how people use drugs to cope with problems. It’s also the last “rock-out in your car” song. “My Saving Grace” follows “Chemicals” and is much slower and more deliberate. It seems that Ben is talking about a girl (which isn’t his typical style). However, he pulls it off with ease like it’s the only thing he writes about. “Stand In The Spotlight” is the perfect closing track for an album that approaches the perfect blend between post-hardcore rock and TRL pop. It has more dynamics then the other songs and makes you want another album by next week. Please?

Lyrics – 8/10
Guitars – 8.5/10
Bass – 10/10
Drums – 9/10
Vocals – 9/10
Creativity – 9.5/10
Overall – 9/10

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