One would assume that when rock super group Teenage Time Killers released their debut album, Greatest Hits Vol. 1, it would be a hit, right? Sadly, that’s not the case. Super groups may be an anomaly in of themselves, but what’s certain is that what makes one good, what makes one great, and what makes one bad, depends much more on the way members of the group are able to come together than individual talent, and Greatest Hits Vol. 1 continuously proves this.
Founded in February 2014 by My Ruin guitarist Mick Murphy and Corrosion of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin, the group features an eclectic mix of alternative-rock, punk and metal heavy-hitters, such as: Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God, Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedy’s, and Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio, (just to name a few). Unfortunately, despite the awesome talent in the group, it just doesn’t deliver.
One of the biggest issues with Greatest Hits Vol. 1 is the overall monotony of it. Despite having 28 tracks and lasting almost 48 minutes, there is little variation between songs. Although the the album features artists from a variety of different bands with interesting characteristics, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 primarily attempts to just be very heavy and dark. While a lot of the songs have a very loud sound, the presence isn’t commanding or unique, and is really sort of bland. Songs like “Hung Out to Dry”, featuring Blythe, and “Plank Walk” featuring Pete Stahl of Scream, exemplify the lack of awareness the group had when writing and recording as they come across as overdone and cliché. It’s sounds like a debut album of a new band, not an album that took a year and half to make with some of the greatest musicians of our generation.
The album does redeem itself slightly with “Barrio”, the sixth song on the album, which prominently features Skiba. To be honest, “Barrio”, is a straight up jam, and it’s extremely disappointing that more of the songs on the album aren’t like it. It’s pure punk and features each of its players prominently and well, and is one of those songs that listeners will actually want to repeat over, and over again. “Bleeding to Death”, which features Vic Bondi of Chicago-based Articles of Faith, and “Say Goodnight to The Acolyte”, featuring Phil Rind of Sacred Reich, are also fairly good songs on the album, but don’t stand out as much when sandwiched between the rest of the tracks.
If Greatest Hits Vol. 1 is truly supposed to represent what the title implies,”greatest hits”, then Teenage Time Killers need to really evaluate what they produced. While there are several stand out songs on the album that really are great, a majority of it is rather lackluster, boring, and just not good. There’s no denying that every single member in Teenage Time Killers is incredibly gifted when it comes to music, but collectively Greatest Hits Vol. 1 doesn’t seem to demonstrate that.
There’s an artful chemistry to super groups that make them something that’s larger than life instead of a disorganized chaotic mess, which Teenage Time Killers have yet to master. Greatest Hits Vol. 1 misses the mark repeatedly as it fails to follow through and deliver the conviction a debut album and super group deserve. The entire album, unfortunately, just further reinforces the idea that perhaps too much of anything really is too much. So, until next time, listeners should continue to listen to each artist on their own turf. At least it’ll be enjoyable.