I remember the exact moment I fell in love with The Monitor. It was in the middle of a Southern California road trip. I’d just finished an intense weekend in Vegas and was heading for San Diego. The drive was deceptively long (being hung over from the night before certainly didn’t help). There was only about an hour to go but I was about to lose it. As I desperately searched my iPod for something to help pass the time, I flipped past Titus Andronicus. Before the road trip I’d listened to The Monitor a few times but hadn’t really taken to it. Normally I avoid listening to “unfamiliar” music while traveling but for some reason I decided to queue it up.
You can probably guess what happened next. After all, I wouldn’t be writing this review if my opinion of the album hadn’t improved markedly. So what caused the change of heart? I’m not exactly sure, I think it was just persistence on my part. The Monitor is a challenging album. Heavy doses of angry noise and abrasive vocals make the first fews listens a little overwhelming (to say the least).
Here’s where persistence comes in. If you can wade through the initial chaos, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in one of the best albums of 2010. You’ll come to view The Monitor not as overwhelming but as epic. You’ll start listening to the lyrics only to realize you should’ve been paying attention all along because they’re fucking brilliant. You’ll begin to appreciate (and love) the way songs change direction often and at breakneck speed. Your favorite track will change with each listen. In other words, you’ll be obsessed.