First and foremost, if you are a Christian purchasing this album expecting a Christian album, be warned! Although, David Bazaan, the engine of Pedro the Lion, may be a Christian, he certainly doesnt produce Christian albums. This album contains the conroversial use of the word "shit" on the closing song, along with many other controversial lyrics that may be offending to the typical Rich Mullins, DC Talk, and Newsboys audience. Case in point, Bazaan’s comparison of the return of Jesus to a cheating husband achieving an orgasm. "She’s arching her back, she screams for more, oh my sweet rapture I hear Jesus calling me home."
If you are a Christian music listener still reading this review, kudos to you for not hastily branding this album distasteful. And if you are a non-Christian, kudos to you as well; most secular music listeners run at the hint of Christianity. To both I assure you, you will be well rewarded. This album includes boasts a brilliant storyteller, amazing music, and, most important, beautifully delivered lyrics.
If you are familiar with Pedro the Lion, this album will seem a lot more upbeat than the others. It features many harder "rock" songs. PTL’s slow, monotone singing and their sometimes methodical music, however, still peek through on certain tracks. Unlike the earlier CDs though, each song on Control is amazing, and every one could stand alone.
This conceptual album opens to a married couple walking on the beach. They are going through a rocky relationship, revealed by the husband breaking the silence: "I could never divorce you, without a good reason." The song ends with a resolution that seems to be bulging at the seems. The second song opens with the distressed husband engaged in an affair. It vividly describes the sexual act, comparing an orgasm with the rapture, hence the song title. The third song opens cleary into one of the before hidden themes of this album, corporate drudgery, "If it isn’t making dollars, then it isnt making sense, if you aren’t moving units then you’re not worth the expense." The theme continues on the next track: "All the experts say you ought to start them young, that way they’ll naturally love the taste of corporate cum."
"Progress" is actually a remix of a song put out before by PTL. This time it opens with distorted robotic vocals, then falls back into the same sound of its previous release. The next track opens with a great synthsizer intro that seems to perfectly fit with Bazaan’s weathered vocals. This song can really hit home with traditional Christian music listeners, openly attacking them: "On the one side the bad half lives in wickedness, and on the other side, the good half lives in arrogance." It goes on to talk about the materialism of people. The cheating husband returns on "Rehearsal," only this time the tables are turned, and the husband faces his wife’s obvious cheating tactics. This is where the album really takes a step into a much darker sound. In "Second Best," the cheating couple are now together again, both aware of each others infidelities, (I’ll thank my use of that word to Chris and Dashboard Confessional) must face each other. Stuck, the couple falls into what is familiar, and a completely depressing sex scence ensues. In the next song, the wife and husband have gotten into a fight, the husband has been stabbed and dies on the way to the hospital. The vocals here are amazing, it all fits together impeccably with the music. The closing track is slow, haunting, and portrays the deepest depression.
The ending of Control is a little confusing. The character, who supposedly died, is now singing rejoice to God. This could be irony, or a partial resolution. Hopefully we find out on PTL’s next album.