Andy Black’s day job has never done much for me. While I understand that Black Veil Brides will hopefully introduce thousands of kids to rock and metal, they leave me cold. So I don’t know what I expected going into his solo project. What I didn’t expect, was a solid pop album which left me wishing I was still a rather confused teenager.
Because make no mistake, that is the audience this album is going for. From the opening lyrics of ‘Homecoming King’ which lament ‘in the crowd alone cause no one wants to know you, do they?’ To the cry for help that is ‘Put The Gun Down’ and the plea of ‘can anybody hear me? Can anybody see me?’ This is pop music designed to hit up those sitting on the edge of society not quite sure where they fit in.
However, it’s not all a cry to the disenfranchised youth. The wonderfully epic ‘Stay Alive’ – which features Matt Skiba – leaves you feeling like you might just be capable of taking flight. While ‘Drown Me Out’ is a stomping statement of defiance. A declaration that you will be heard.
Which isn’t to say this album is perfect. For one thing at thirteen tracks it is far too long. Cut three of the weaker tracks out and you’ve got a more streamlined piece of music. It is also pure pop. If you are the kind of cunt that declares BVB not metal and thinks that unless you sound like Judas Priest you aren’t worthy of time, then this album will just fuel your hate for Mr. Black.
Yet, if I were still that pissed off teenager sitting in my bedroom not very sure where I stood in the world, this would have blown my mind. Unfortunately, I’m not. I’m an adult who has no idea where I stand in the world, and The Shadow Side is a decent to good pop album. But for those teenagers currently in that position, this will do nothing to dissuade them of the notion that Andy Black is their hero.