Lend Your Ear: Trapt by Trapt
A Monumental Album
It has been entirely too long since I wrote anything about music! My brotherhas published several great pieces and I need to catch up! I’ll start here. This edition of Lend Your Ear will focus on an album that sets the standard for how I judge other albums. This may sound odd initially, but I will do my best to make my case. The album in focus is Trapt by Trapt. Before I dive in too far, I want to think aloud, if I may.
As a teenager, this band and others in similar genres of rock, hard rock, or metal were a big part of my life. I’ve been told this music may come across as masculine, or even hyper-masculine. Maybe even brutish or “toxic” according to some today. These are things you might expect a teenage boy to be into. But if you listen beyond the surface, you will find a wealth of self-reflection and honesty. If men can tap into the aggressive, assertive, and reflective nature of this music for their betterment, then what you have is not hyper-masculine or toxic. You have men who are confident in themselves and in their ability to be useful to and for others.
As a 32-year-old, it is generally true my taste in music has become much more mellow and diverse. But I would be lying if I said that at times, the masculine, aggressive, and assertive nature of this music no longer had appeal, and I am no liar.
Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.
John Eldredge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul.
This album, for me and other men around my age, became the soundtrack to battles I’ve faced, and adventures I’ve found myself on, and it helped me reflect on how to be better for the beautiful woman who became my wife.
It’s no secret that men in our current culture are often looked down upon for simply being men. Please do not misunderstand me here. Aggression taken too far into unprovoked and unjustified violence is a terrible thing. But aggression, in defense of the defenseless, is a noble thing. Assertiveness in pursuit of good and truth is necessary.
If you have men in your life who enjoy music like this, do not look down upon them or discourage them. I feel the need to say this because I’ve seen men like this be put down. They need some healthy aggression. They need to be able to feel and express it. Just be there to encourage them and help them. We need it. And one last thing. It’s okay for women to like this kind of music too! And now back to our regularly scheduled album review.
Monumental Album: Trapt by Trapt
In 2002 FM stations and the still new but promising satellite radio stations were completely saturated with Hard, Alternative, Post-Grunge, or Nu-Metal rock bands. If memory serves me correctly, Hip-Hop, Hard Rock, and angry/patriotic country music were the dominating genres in music. I can’t give great commentary on the mood of the USA or the world at the time (I was only 11) but I think it’s safe to say that many Americans were angry and aggressive. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we were ready to fight, which is probably why this album's first and biggest single hit the way it did.
“Headstrong”, the first song on the album, hits hard right out of the gate. The intro is simple but extremely effective. I’m convinced this intro will make even the most passive person ready for confrontation. A hard-hitting snare drum mixed with a heavily distorted rhythm guitar and a high-action lead takes you into a song that will always get your blood pumping. The song remains upbeat but slightly more low-key in the verses. While the intro and the chorus of the song received the most attention, I think the genius of it lies in the verses and pre-chorus. The quick nature of the song gives the verses the pace, flow, and feel of rap. Yet as soon as you think the singer is starting to rap, the drums break and shift into a melodic pre-chorus. Before the first chorus of the song, we as listeners have already heard three hooks, and the chorus comes in with tremendous force.
Back off, I’ll take you on
Headstrong to take on anyone
I know that you are wrong
And this not where you belong
These lyrics, the accompanying music, and the melody combine for a chorus that makes for the ultimate hype song. You’d be hard-pressed to find a good gym where this song isn’t on heavy rotation.
“Headstrong” became and has remained a quintessential rock anthem. It’s a song that inspires strength, confidence, and drive. It’s no surprise a song like this has such staying power. Even more impressive is that the album gets better as it goes.
“Made of Glass” is the second song on the album and goes in a completely different direction than “Headstrong”. The drums and bass kick in but open to a more mellow and melodic tone. Whereas “Headstrong” is bold and all-encompassing, “Made of Glass” is more subdued and self-examining. Yet one thing remains the same. The chorus is heavy-hitting and full of great hooks. This song showcases the brilliance of the entire album which might be why, at times, it has been my favorite song on the album. It’s a catchy song written with earnest lyrics, great melodies, and hard rock music with no sacrifice of the softer side of life which is beautifully explored in different stages. To me, this is a perfect song.
Songs “Hollow Man” and “These Walls”, both stay true to the quality of the album. At times, each of these has been my favorite song on the album. The next song, another hit single “Still Frame” picks up where “Headstrong” left off.
With heavy bass and driving drums, “Still Frame” doesn’t make you want to fight, but it makes you feel like you’re ready for one. It’s also one of the most relatable songs on the album. The song is about getting older and feeling stuck.
Keep it inside, the image portrayed
As if I couldn't stand losing as if I couldn't be saved, no way
A small confession, I think I'm starting to lose it
I think I'm drifting away from the people I really need
A small reflection on when we were younger
We had it all figured out, 'cause we had everything covered
Now we're older it's getting harder to see
What this future will hold for us, what the fuck are we going to be?
Please forgive the profanity, but given the song is one of desperation at the thought and feeling of aging, and making no progress, it feels genuine and honestly, it just works.
“Still Frame” was not the radio hit “Headstrong” was, but it was definitely a crowd favorite. However, the next song on the album, “Echo" may have become the defining hit single from the album.
Like any good rock album from the 2000’s the 6th song on the album was the ballad. However, this ballad really is unlike most others. From the very beginning, it’s clear this is the ballad. With soft vocals and mellow guitar, the song starts with the pre-chorus leading into a chorus that strikes the perfect balance of hard-rock and sentimental emotions.
Close my eyes, let the whole thing pass me by
There is no time to waste asking why
I'll run away with you by my side
I'll run away with you by my side (I'll run away with you)
(Close my eyes, let the whole thing pass me by) I need to let go, let go, let go, let go of this pride
Until this echo, echo, echo, echo in my mind
Until this echo, echo, echo, echo can subside
It’s a simple but powerful song. Powerful enough to capture the hearts of rock fans, and catapult the songs into the top 30 of four charts upon its release, including mainstream pop music. I’ve met people who didn’t know “Headstrong” or “Still Frame” but absolutely loved “Echo”. It was the perfect ballad of its time and is now considered a classic.
The next three songs on the album, “The Game”, “When All Is Said And Done”, and “Enigma” are all unique and incredible in their own right. At different times, they have each been my favorite song on the album. But the next song, “Stories” has held the position of my favorite the longest.
“Stories” is another ballad, but is altogether different from “Echo”. Sure “Echo” is a softer song, but it’s still a Hard-Rock song whereas “Stories” might actually fall more into the singer-songwriter genre. The guitar is beautiful. The chord progression and strumming pattern would be worth listening to as an instrumental. Lucky for us, the lyrics and melody are just as beautiful.
Verse 1 + Chorus
I found a line and then it grew
I found myself still thinking of you
I felt so empty and now I'm fine
But still it's burning, when will you be mine
Too much of the same stories in our lives
I think it's time for change, don't you?
Too much of the same stories in our lives
I think it's time for us to walk away from here.
Look at me, still in your mind
Our memories, so intertwined
Well you broke through, you found your way
And so did I, no need to stay
In the same old picture, tried and true
We've been through that, let's look for something new
Verse 3 and Bridge
Do you remember lying on the beach so late at night?
Do you remember running through the sprinklers that night?
Do you remember all the songs that I have wrote for you?
All the songs that I have wrote for you
I remember the way you made me feel when I was with you
I remember the smile that always brought me back to you
That look in your eyes
I never thought that this could be untrue
That look in your eyes
I never thought that this could be untrue
This is personal and is going to sound very cheesy, but it’s the truth. When I was a teenager and even a young adult, this became the song I turned to when I started to fall for someone. Whatever girl I happened to be in my feelings about, I would play this song and picture myself singing this to my theoretical beloved. I know, I know. It’s ridiculous. But it’s true. The song has always moved me and gave me sweet visions of the feelings I longed to feel for someone. Thankfully, my wife likes this song despite being disinterested in the rest of the album. So that worked out!
The album closes with the ironically named “New Beginning” which is just as great as every other song on the album and closes with a surprising, interesting instrumental if you’re a patient listener.
You probably noticed several times during this review that I used the phrase “at times, my favorite song on the album”. This should tell you how incredible this album is. Every single song has a case to make as the best. It should also speak volumes that the album is now 21 years old, and I feel so strongly about it that I still decided to write this.
Trapt by Trapt is a monumental album for me. It’s an album that gets me pumped, gets me thinking, and brings me joy veiled in a Hard-Rock exterior. I hope you find some time to listen and enjoy it as much as I do.