Fallen Empires (album)

Fallen Empires is the sixth studio album by Northern Irish-Scottish rock band Snow Patrol. The album was released on 11 November 2011[1] (10 January 2012 in North America). The album became the first to feature future member Johnny McDaid, who was credited as guest musician and songwriter in the album liner notes, and would officially join the band following the tour.[2] It is also the last album to feature keyboardist Tom Simpson, who would later depart the band in 2013. American singer Lissie provided additional vocals for six songs on the album ("I'll Never Let Go", "The Weight of Love", "The Garden Rules", "Fallen Empires", "Berlin", and "Those Distant Bells").

Fallen Empires
Snow-patrol-fallen-empires.jpg
Studio album by
Released11 November 2011
RecordedOctober 2010 – May 2011
Genre
Length57:17
Label
ProducerJacknife Lee
Snow Patrol chronology
Up to Now
(2009)
Fallen Empires
(2011)
Greatest Hits
(2013)
Singles from Fallen Empires
  1. "Called Out in the Dark"
    Released: 2 September 2011
  2. "This Isn't Everything You Are"
    Released: 14 October 2011
  3. "New York"
    Released: 20 December 2011
  4. "In the End"
    Released: 13 February 2012
  5. "Lifening"
    Released: 5 July 2012

Background and developmentEdit

When asked about the writing process for the album, Gary Lightbody commented by saying "It's the longest album we've ever made by far but also the best. We took our time and I also had some bouts of writer's block. It's the first time it's happened for such a long time. I've had days when I haven't been able to write. Since 2009, I've gone through three writer's blocks but I'm glad because the results are great afterwards. They probably made me write better songs."[3] Snow Patrol planned a "Fallen Empires tour" in 2012 with the first date being at the O2 in Dublin.[4] The song "New York" can be heard at the end of "Suddenly" (Season 8 Episode 10) of Grey's Anatomy.[5][6][7] The song is also played in "After School Special" (Season 4 Episode 10) of The Vampire Diaries.[8][9]

SinglesEdit

  • "Called Out in the Dark" was released as the first single from the album on 2 September 2011 in the UK as an EP.[10] A video was released for the song before its release date on 17 August 2011.[11]
  • "This Isn't Everything You Are" was announced as the second single from the album on Snow Patrol's official site.[12] It was released on 14 October 2011.
  • "New York" was the third single from the album released in America on 20 December 2011.[13]
  • "In the End" was released as the fourth single on 13 February.
  • "Lifening" was the fifth single and was released on 5 July.

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic58/100[14]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [15]
Clash4/10[16]
Entertainment WeeklyB[17]
The Guardian     [18]
The Independent     [19]
Los Angeles Times    [20]
Pitchfork4.8/10[21]
Rolling Stone     [22]
Spin5/10[23]
Toronto Star    [24]

Fallen Empires received mixed reviews from critics.[14] According to the website Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average review score of 58/100, based on 25 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[14]

James Christopher Monger wrote a favorable review for Allmusic, stating that the album "establishes an expansive vista of sound early on, bathing fairly simple melodies in waves of fastidious loops and sparse percussion."[15] Mike Haydock wrote a positive review for BBC Music, analysing that "Best of all are the moments when Snow Patrol blend the two approaches together, combining their own aesthetic with an Achtung Baby adoration."[25] Entertainment Weekly's Melissa Maerz wrote that "For all the sentiment, it's the simplest stuff that rings true."[17] The New York Times's Nate Chinen praised the songwriting, saying that "What makes this all feel reasonably unforced is the abiding earnestness in the songwriting."[26] The A.V. Club wrote that the album "it's comforting at worst and occasionally fantastic."[27]

Dave Simpson wrote an average review, saying that "Although the variation in styles doesn't make for the most cohesive album, the default mood is still downbeat but anthemic--songs for couples to cling tightly to one another while raising mobiles in the air."[18] While Now Magazine found out that "In the first few songs they stretch themselves creatively and come up with promising results, but halfway through it's back to overwrought ballads and middle-of-the-road mid-tempo rock songs."[28] A mixed review came from Rolling Stone's Stacey Anderson, who wrote that "Snow Patrol fall back to the blandly inoffensive safe zone--though at least they sound a little brighter."[22] Pitchfork Media thought that "the results are goofy."[21] The Daily Telegraph criticized the album for "stick[ing] too rigidly to the formula."[14]

Commercial performanceEdit

In 2011, Fallen Empires sold 269,000 copies in the UK.[29] The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 31,000 copies. It became the band's highest debut on the Billboard chart and the second album to reach the top-ten.[30]

Track listingEdit

All lyrics are written by Gary Lightbody; all music is composed by Snow Patrol and Jacknife Lee, except "New York" by Snow Patrol, Lee and Johnny McDaid.

Fallen Empires track listing
No.TitleLength
1."I'll Never Let Go"4:44
2."Called Out in the Dark"4:01
3."The Weight of Love"4:16
4."This Isn't Everything You Are"4:58
5."The Garden Rules"4:29
6."Fallen Empires"5:20
7."Berlin"2:05
8."Lifening"3:53
9."New York"4:01
10."In the End"4:00
11."Those Distant Bells"3:17
12."The Symphony"6:07
13."The President"4:35
14."Broken Bottles Form a Star (Prelude)"1:30

There was also a special digipak version of the album showing highlights of the band playing live at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 November 2009 on their 'Reworked' tour. The track listing is as follows:

First half highlights:

No.TitleLength
1."Finish Line" 
2."An Olive Grove Facing the Sea" 
3."Give Me Strength" 
4."You Could Be Happy" 
5."Take Back the City" 

Second half highlights:

No.TitleLength
1."Dark Roman Wine" 
2."Spitting Games" 
3."Run" 
4."Lifeboats" 
5."The Planets Bend Between Us" 
6."Chasing Cars" 

PersonnelEdit

Snow Patrol

Other personnel

Charts and certificationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "iTunes - Music - Fallen Empires by Snow Patrol". Itunes.apple.com. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Johnny McDaid". Threee. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Snow Patrol: 'We've already written our next album'". NME. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  4. ^ "Snow Patrol announce opening dates of Fallen Empires tour". metro.co.uk. 17 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  5. ^ See occurrences on Google Search.
  6. ^ "Grey's Anatomy - Snow Patrol 'New York' S08E10". Retrieved 2 September 2013 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "Grey's Anatomy 8x10 'Suddenly' Final Scene". Retrieved 2 September 2013 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ See occurrences on Google Search.
  9. ^ "Vampire Diaries 4x10 'After School Special'". Retrieved 2 September 2013 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "Called Out in the Dark - EP". iTunes. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Snow Patrol - 'Called Out in the Dark'". 17 August 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "FIRST PLAY OF 'THIS ISN'T EVERYTHING YOU ARE' TONIGHT". Snow Patrol. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  13. ^ "New York - Single". iTunes.
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  15. ^ a b James Christopher Monger. "Fallen Empires - Snow Patrol - Allmusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires". Clash Magazine. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  17. ^ a b Melissa Maerz (10 November 2011). "Fallen Empires review - Snow Patrol Review - Music Reviews and News - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly.
  18. ^ a b Dave Simpson (10 November 2011). "Snow Patrol, 'Fallen Empires'; The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  19. ^ Andy Gill (11 November 2011). "Snow Patrol, 'Fallen Empires'; The Independent". The Independent.
  20. ^ Wood, Mikael (9 January 2012). "Album Review: Snow Patrol's 'Fallen Empires'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  21. ^ a b Ashurst, Hari (19 January 2012). "Snow Patrol: Fallen Empires". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  22. ^ a b Stacey Anderson (10 November 2011). "Fallen Empires - Album Reviews - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone.
  23. ^ Young, Jon. "Snow Patrol: 'Fallen Empires'". Spin. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  24. ^ Rayner, Ben (10 January 2012). "Albums: Sissy is coldly thrilling, and more". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  25. ^ Mike Haydock (10 November 2011). "BBC - Music - Review of Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires". BBC.
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