Andy Black: “The Shadow Side, The Album Review”

Good morning, Goodnight, or Good evening BVB army/Andy Black Fans.

Before I start the review for Andy Black’s “The Shadow Side”. I want to make a huge note as to why I was gone in the blogger world and why I was on hiatus. I had major left knee surgery last April. That took over a year for me to fully heal for and fully rehab it to a point where I can do my past things I could but in re-learned ways. I had to relearn how to do a lot things again. I still got to do this all over again with my right knee. With this, it brought out my depression more in 2016. Then towards the end of 2016 I lost my grandpa Bly(assuming natural causes) and on my mother’s side my grandpa Hanna(Fuck Cancer). With loosing both grandfathers within months of each others further put my depression into overdrive.

I needed a break to come back to the blogger music world. The crippling depression, chronic pain, and daily life dredgers dealing with my medical woes or whatever I decided it was best to come back when it was right. I paid for the blog to stay up for everyone’s viewing pleasure while I took over a year off to focus on my physical and most importantly my mental health. I am still not 100 percent. But I am back to the best of the person I can. I am trying and I got myself a tattoo to remind myself to stay strong and fight my demons. I am still struggling but we are human. We got thoughts and feelings just like the next person or animal. So I hope you all enjoyed my recent blog posting describing into detail of the tattoo I got. I will provide a link somewhere in this posting to that blog posting about it. November 16, 2016 will be a big memory for me. Its one that I will cherish. I still can’t believe I got Black Veil Brides tattoo. I take great care of it. Put lots of lotion to keep it well moisturized and pretty. The tattoo has been my dream tattoo all my life. It’s just that who would have thought let’s get this straight, a former hater of the band gets their first tattoo of their artwork and lyrics that mean something and world of the former hater. Ha. I would get an Andy Black tattoo BUT I figured I have something much more metal/hardcore, I have actual METAL inside me. I will explain when I review “Ribcage” further along in this review. But its metal as fuck to know that.

I also wanted to let Andy Black’s “The Shadow Side” blossom in my heart and soul until I let my brain do the talking of the review. I am not going to call out names or anything. But I think it’s generally unfair to give bands or artists who spend 6 to a year making a record to have a reviewer of the record put the review out in 24 hours to 2 weeks tops. I like to let records flow and make their own home in my inner being before I dare to review. These are the thoughts and feelings through music from either one to multiple choise units as whole telling you the listener their life story through beats and lyrics. The feelings and vibes we get from music is very omniscient and “Take it to the next level” out of this world. That is why I want to give sloth CD reviews and or song reviews in the future cause people often forget what music was set out there to do instead of the commercial-industrial side. It generally upsets me to see all this happen. So I vow to give my honest opinions and heart to heart about the songs on this record. So no further than I do, let’s get done with small talk about the opening of this review and tell you what it’s really about shall we.

Chronic Potato Queen Writer is going to review Andy Black’s “The Shadow Side”. It was released on May 6, 2016 on Republic Records (co-written and produced by John Feldmann and Ricky Reed, and mixed/co-writes Matt Pauling) with its first single released on March 18, 2016 with “We Don’t Have To Dance” with the video dropping on March 21st, 2016. Other mentionable high-ranking singles from the CD include “Ribcage” with its debut music video released by Dan Sturgess on August 9th,2016, “Stay Alive”, “Paint It Black”, “Homecoming King”, etc. With this side project power house. It has allowed Biersack to tour under the moniker Black all around the world but more prominent in the US with the Vans Warped Tour approaching ahead same with Andy’s hosting gig at Alternative Press’s APAMA’s links down below for the tour and event. Which will be Andy Black’s final “Hooray” to Black for a while as he will focus on the world of Black Veil Brides and the BVBV that is expected to come out soon this year in 2017. There is a Andy Black documentary that was released early to Patreon patrons like myself who support Andy, Joe Flanders, Patrick Fogarty, and Rob Blasko on “The Andy Show” on Patreon for five dollars a month. It was released to viewers on December 27th, 2016, it was a one day late birthday present to me as the ending of the documentary was the icing on the reasoning why I got my tattoo. The documentary was yet again released on my BVB anniversary on January 27,2016 to non-Patreon viewers. So Andy Biersack are you trying to kill me with kindness cause clearly YOU won, I am trying to be professional here and review your record but god damn it you break down my dam, I have to act like a weirdo and show my insurmountable support, devotion, and love to you cause you do your work in all the right ways by being true to self and being yourself. Being Andy. I rather be weird and support you than not. Haha.

**Links will be provided at the bottom of this review for The Andy Show Patreon to subscribe to his Patreon, YouTube links to “We Don’t Have To Dance”, “Ribcage”, and “The Andy Black Documentary” for everyone’s pleasure and information. Go to google and type in “The Shadow Side” it will take you to place where to buy the album or stream on your mobile. tablet, or computer.

There will be a new Black song released this year, yet again Andy up to his ole kill them with kindness tricks, will separately review this one when it gets released but like I said. Sloth reviews are who I am. I like to give artists a true and respectful record review. Fair warning, you may need tissues for this review. Some songs I will review are going to hit you the reader with feels. Plus this is my own story interpreted into Andy Black’s beautiful laid out composited music with all the collaborations he did with on the record such as the producer of this record John Feldmann(Goldfinger), Matt Pauling(Ex-Confessions), Mickey Way(Ex- MCR, Solo), Gerard Way(Ex-MCR, Solo), Zakk Cervini(Mixer/Producer), Matt Skiba(Alkaline Trio/Blink 182), Patrick Stump(Fall Out Boy), Rian Dawson(All Time Low), Quinn Allman(Ex-The Used/Producer/Independent Musician), Ashton Irwin(5 Seconds Of Summer), Juliet Simms-Biersack(Automatic Loveletter and Solo), and Benji and Joel Madden(Good Charlotte) with other notable song writers on the record. This record deserves a whole lot of praise than it did. People may be critical on this record, it’s there own opinion and they are entitled to it(As long as it’s not on blog or the ban hammer will be given. I have banned a lot of horrible unnecessary comments so pleases keep your comments respectful and kind). But beings though it has helped me through thee toughest shit of my life. I am giving this record my 7 out of 5 golden russet potato approval points of the layers, lyrical content, and musical notes from start to finish is very well done.

Lets get to tears jerking, feels, and praising musicianship shall we.

“Homecoming King”

Homecoming King is one of those hero song’s. It gives you the reader the inter workings in your brain to imagine what life would be like with your past school mates growing up or your ever-changing town. The lyrical content is a “Fuck You” of sorts to either school yard bullies, jocks, preppy girls, etc. Life after high school is peachy. You get dealt with a whole new reality. Slowly these people who thought they were “ High and Mighty” are just like peons like the rest of folk who pays taxes, works there usual, etc. This song means a lot to me. It’s funny how I see class mates in my town thinking they will hit big. Only to find out they either get pregnant, get into drugs, or get locked up in my towns state prison or mental hospital. Life is so full of choices. It’s up to you the reader to choose wisely. Biersack achieves the prowl by nonetheless saying “Fuck the Homecoming King” in the song. This can be unisexed towards the “Homecoming Queen” too. LOL. The lyrics to the song tell a story of how very much so school drama is still a huge issue these days as in terms of bullying, cliques, being popular, etc. My main advice would be. Is to enjoy your kid years. Don’t give a potato in the moment and enjoy being young and the worries of being an adult. YOU just enjoy being you. Who cares about being popular. YOU are amazing and kick ass the way you are. This is the main reason for the song’s message. This can go to young and old adults to needing a boost of inspiration.

“We Don’t Have To Dance”

This song is about Biersack’s social anxiety and the lyrical content supports the things he hates and struggles in his daily life. He tells his listener to interpret the song into whatever means it helps the person get through their daily struggles in life. In my own defense. I applaud and support this songs message of want to help a person overcome their social anxiety by people just understanding and respecting people s boundaries. I had social anxiety growing up cause of my disabilities and I was loner in school. This songs meaning is to tell the vast majority of listeners its okay to be who you are. But it’s also okay to work on yourself and get the help you deserve in mental health. Social anxiety is real. Don’t let someone tell you otherwise. Even though you can be hazard to yourself, don’t let be your literal hell, literal hell. Did I just make a Andy Black lyric quote there. Yes I did.

“Ribcage”

As many of you all know Andy’s incident that involved with his three of his ribs get broken or shattered at a free concert event in LA/Hollywood that BVB attended and performed on in 2011(by the Andy you are trooper for going through that even though I learned via Loudwire the extra thing you had to go through. I feel you so bad. I had to go through a colonoscopy the humiliation of it is terrible.),

“Take you out, never bring you back again”

I remember listening to this song for the first time a while back ago. This is the first song that made me fall in love with Andy Biersack’s musical talents and what he brings to the table every time. I haven’t had the best years of my life ever. Everything has gone down hill medically for me. But in 2013-2015 I was VERY sick. Food rejected me. I became allergic permanently to gluten. I had three major operations. Which in return they left metal clips inside me. My appendix was the size of a golf ball and my gallbladder was dead rotting inside my digestive tract. Which resulted in me getting metal clips placed inside me. I got a total of 8 inside me when they removed my dead and dying organs. It made me glad that I found BVB’s music during a time of pure darkness. I am still in the darkness. Andy Black’s music has helped immensely during times I thought I couldn’t do it. But I did. I survived thee worst knee surgery anyone could go through for my age I got two metal rods drilled diagonally underneath my left knee cap to support my IT band. The band that support your knee cap and other ligaments in place. My knee was birth defected and was very fucked up. So surgery was the ONLY option to repair the major damage.  This song has helped me internally heal and let go of the darkness and anger I have inside me of the medical disadvantages I go through. I thought about getting the lyrics tattooed on me. But I already got metal inside me that signifies that I am METAL. Even though BVB is rock and roll. ;). You got to be metal as fuck to go through what I did.

“Stay Alive”

When I first heard this song. I was still struggling to get through my recovery of my knee surgery. I heard the lyrics “Stay alive for the good times, stay alive for the bad” I couldn’t help but cry. Have one of those good cries a person needs. It’s like Andy Biersack writes music about my life story without even knowing me or what the circumstances I go through being disabled with 15 medical conditions. But in reality Biersack writes music about his own experiences and life happenings. It makes me appreciate and respect him even more as a person that he would even write such healing music. There are musicians out there who write similar empowerment songs like Andy does. But Andy’s is very genuine and has a very special spark of reality and magical power behind it which is why he I declare him an enigma musician cause I can try my best to decipher his music but deep down only he knows what it’s truly about. With his vernacular I am very cherished to NEVER take for grant both creations he has given the world. BVB and Andy Black are awesome things for the world next to the potato. You got yourself a potato party. But don’t harm that small child and mash it with garlic mash, Biersack. “Stay Alive” is an Anthem for us underdogs who are in dire need of pick me up when the good times are bad and the bad times are good. It also features a dude named Matt Skiba on there from Alkaline Trio and Blink 182. He did a stellar job with making teenage Andy’s dreams come true with this power anthem for the masses.

“Love Was Made To Break”

This song is a sorrowful filled with woes of telling its audience that love is a facade. People come and go through relationships get divorced. Go through major life changes, etc. But it tells the audience to stop the bullshit before shit get worse. This reminds me of my break up with gluten. hahahaha. “Fade in, fade in out. check in out. We are strangers now. Now we are enemies” Its been 3 years since I had real wheat bread or any products with gluten in it. That’s all I can compare the song to. God damn it Celiac disease. Whatever your personal preference is to the song is. It’s very sorrowful. It’s very one of a kind to help people get through their relationship woes or call it quits. Nice one Andy.

“Beautiful Pain”

The toughest song on the record to review. 2016 saw its hardest year in losses. The song that this is memorialized to Chris Holley(Died in June of 2015). I lost my last two grandfather in 2016 due to old age and cancer. My grandfather Hanna fought long and hard. He died of terminal liver cancer. Plus I lost my senior dog,Hunter, last year who has been with through my heaviest of medical bullshit with me to pancreatic cancer in January 2016. The whole song has deeply touched, healed ever tear I cried or will cry, and will help me deal with the pain of just dealing with their deaths. It’s never easy to go through loosing some dear and near to you. Especially if it’s a grandpa, grandma, friend, mom, dad, aunt uncle, sidling, or pet, etc. It’s never easy. “Beautiful Pain” is a song for those who need a hug or shoulder to cry on in a song. It’s very special. Its universal and can be dedicated to anyone whom has died but the sole inspiration of the song is for the late Chris Holley. He was BVB’s, AA’s, and MIW’s guitar tech. He was a crazy lad. He will be sorely missed. I enjoyed his posts on IG. I hope he is up there partying it up with all three of my grandfathers.  May Holley RIP and my prayers go out to the Holley family.

“Put The Gun Down”

I am really proud of this song’s meaning. It makes me appreciate and respect Biersack as musician as whole. If you ever dabbled into the world of suicide or suicide thoughts it’s not a fun world to be in. I have gone down that world 5 times myself. I have dealt with suicidal thoughts and thoughts about killing myself because I thought I was worthless, waste of space, had possible cancer, was sexually assaulted and couldn’t do anything about it, and is in chronic pain 24/7; 365. This song has helped me fight my inner demons of telling the suicidal thoughts to back down. It has helped me also with my addiction to prescription narcotics and over the counter pain killers. The power and healing qualities the song posses with Andy just being himself in this song and telling his audience in his own way to just “Put The Gun Down” and telling everyone that there is a life to live out there instead of ending it. Is thee beautifuliest life forms of a song you can get to. The pure genuineness of the artist to listener from the raw inter workings of his heart to us is what music was set out to do.

* See About page for Suicide prevention hotlines and American Foundation For Suicide Prevention.

“Drown Me Out”

Biersack is telling the listener or audience to let their dam break, rise, and scream it out on top of the plateau. But don’t let people get in the way of your dreams and aspirations. Don’t let the dam breakers get to you. Don’t let the naysayers who dislike what you do dwindle what fun your having and stomp on your parade. It’s not their parade to begin with. Learn from my life lesson. I once hated BVB. Now I am in love with BVB. if you can’t win. Join them. It’s not hard. Best decision I ever did. Who ever knew that the former hater would get a BVB tattoo. Ha.

“Paint It Black”

This song I feel is dedicated to his spouse, Juliet. But I feel that this song can be universal and can give the listener grounds to feel and feel what the songs message is about. Relationships and marriages have their hardships. But at the end of the day you have each other. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff such as arguing and accusing the other party of such and such things. I may have never been in any relationship ever cause in reality I live in area where no one wants to date a permanently disabled person(which I am fine with, I don’t like anyone here anyways unless your elderly). But I do know as my years of adulthood has progressed on me and the things I have seen. Love is greater than hating the people you let yourself come to known as a family. Love blossoms many possibilities to come forth in that right. Love over rules hate. Hate is just a masked bimbo with its pants on the ground. No matter if you are in a relationship, marriage, have family values, etc this song has values to respect life while you can. Don’t sweat the small the stuff. Love and let hate pout in corner with the rest of sorry lads.

“Break Your Halo”

A song like this comes around once a blue moon and makes me have mega goosebumps. The lyrics to this song is key to all the people in my life who bully me cause I am disabled. But all I do is care about helping people. Sometimes I don’t believe my dreams will come true but then again I snap out of my depression “Get my shit together”. I get burned on social media A LOT. cause I am suicide crisis responder. This song has helped me heal that pain I go through when people are unreachable to my help. I remind myself that sometimes  people can’t be helped and its a lost cause. Its sad. But in the moment this song has helped me a lot cause I got a big heart for helping people through the toughest part of there lives. Suicide isn’t the way to go. It only gives the pain to someone else after you depart from this world. Biersack’s side of wanting to help people and getting burned too nonetheless is disheartening cause I feel his pain through this song. The fact that this song  has an angry “Never give in. Never back down” banter makes me laugh but sigh in sadness at Andy’s heartbreak for people trying to nonetheless be an asshole to him. Don’t be an asshole to Andy or anybody. Use the lesson in “Paint It Black” Love. Love makes the world go round.

*Suicide Prevention is in my About section of my blog.

“Louder Than Your Lover”

This song gives me empowerment vibes. Biersack’s onslaught to always setting what is right with out his quote on quote “Pandering” in the song’s lyrics to kids, young adults, and older adults. His stand on always wanting his fans dreams and aspirations to come true in a musical manner has transfixed this guy as a one of kind spokesman for the outsiders and outcasts. It makes me happy that this song has California vibes within song but targeted to his audience to go conquer their dreams and aspirations. Is a person I will support and praise forever. Plus I just went through a long ass winter. The song gives me Summer vibes. It gives me positive vibes while wanting my vitamin D fix. lol.

“Broken Pieces”

This song Is an underrated Andy Black tract but its a goody. A BIG goody. Like “Louder Than Your Love” were its all happy vibes and wanting your dreams and aspirations to come true. This song is this dark side of the moon of the song. It’s a song that gives the listener a sense of hope but a sense of sorrow cause of the struggles of how dreams and aspirations come true. This song means a lot to me. My dreams are my drug. It’s all I have keeping me going. I am disabled with 15 medical conditions. The state here in Idaho can’t give me regular 9-5 work due to my severity of my disabilities. I have to live at home with parents. My entire body is falling apart. But the thing that is holding the glue together now is my new-found sense of self and inner strength. A song like this and all of its lyrics is very healing to someone who goes through daily hardships. Biersack’s love and devotion he has for every single one of his fans is insurmountable. Its one of a kind. I am very fortunate to have met him once in 2014 on the Blackmass tour with BVB. The amount of positivity and care no matter how dark in scale or light his poetic in nature his lyrics can get on Andy Black or any BVB song is a testament of who a person he is. “Broken Pieces” is an anthem to those who struggle everyday and need a “Hug”. Encouragement to get back out there, kick ass, “Never give in, and Never back down”

“The Void”

A song about self proclamation. But letting go things or toxic people in your life that don’t want any part of your betterment of your life. But there is always that hurt you have when you let them or things go. But as the lyrics go “Got to face another day” but its sad when the ending of the song ends with “How can I carry on without you?” Whether you have gone through a toxic friendship, marriage, relationship, addiction, etc. Its hard life style change to go through. Whether it will be ending toxic relations or addictions. But not having the support system to back you up even sucks worse. This song has helped me in my final tidbits of recovery of my severe prescription narcotic’s and over the counter pain-killer addiction. Its taught me that its okay to feel human and know that its okay to feel what I am feeling. But still carry on with out you. Finding self-worth and inner strength is very much a huge thing any human can do for themselves. But it sucks not having some friends or family there to help through positive reinforcement to fight the addiction or not go back to the toxic situation. This song is a great tool to help those who are lost in finding the air to breath in this. It’s okay to feel about it cause your human. But my advice is to “Let it go for good” and “Never give in.”

All I can say is that this record was a wild ride of healing, gave me tools, gave my new insight on Biersack’s lyrical writing, etc Either if you are not a Black Veil fan or a Black Veil fan give this record a chance. A full listen to start to finish has nooks and crannies any music can love from synthesizers from the 80’s and the feels from the era like groups I grew up on like Pet Shop Boys, Billy Idol, Culture Club, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, George Michael, etc. to a modern-day alternative pop punk rock vibes you can clash, dance your ass off, clean your house too, homework, etc to.

It took me over a year to digest this record. No not eat and poop it out a year later for comedic value. There is too much emotional value and intrinsic composited layers within each song that with each new listen there is always something new about the song or the feel depending the mood I am in.

I was going to go see Andy Black this year in concert. But due to flooding and road displacements here in the Pacific Northwest due to one of thee worst winters in more than a decade. I was going to also do a concert review but that go shot down in blog heaven. So I decided to dedicate more time and love to the Andy Black: The Shadow Side record review project. It has taken my mind off a lot of bullshit that’s going on in my life right now. Its put inspiration back into my soul to want to write on this blog again and give it more supported content instead of people reading a dead blog of past content.

I dearly want to thank each and every one of you that read this. Your not just a statistic in my blogs views. You mean something to me. Your my rebirth. I had this closed for over a year cause I was highly depressed and I didn’t know how to start my passion again right without fucking it up. Now I know. Its cause of Andy and his lyrics that I really let speak to me during a months and months of time that I didn’t let my online friends know I was depressed as fuck and I tell them EVERYTHING. Going through so much death and medical turmoil prompted that. But I couldn’t thank Andy Biersack any more than I could. Inserted is my tattoo I got last November symbolizing my rebirth of finding myself again and to “Never give in, Never back down” no matter what. It’s okay it be in the moment and cry. But pick up the pieces and soar like an eagle. Rising from the ashes is only the first step to getting you back to your road to recovery and I will quote the man himself “I believe in you”. If you fall. “Rise back up and fight on again”. YOU are all you have and make god damn sure its kick ass life. Long live Andy Black and “The Shadow Side”!

My tattoo: wp-1482140071084.jpg

Tattoo done by: Shannon Blinn in Lewiston, Idaho at Skin Deep tattoo and designs.

Written By: Mariah L. Hanna *@PotatoBVBQueen   Copyright:4/2/2017

*See About page for inquires of sharing my articles or use buttons on my blog to share to your social media with @PotatoBVBQueen cited as my property to link. Also for Suicide prevention hotlines contacts and suicide prevention resources(Never feel worthless or guilty of wanting help, it’s there for your taking, NEVER lose hope)

** Links :  Subscribe to The Andy Show here

Andy Black’s Official Music Video to “We Don’t Have To Dance”

Andy Black’s Official Music Video for “Ribcage”

The Andy Black Documentary: A MUST WATCH

Vans Warped Tour: Dates and Tickets here

Early Bird tickets to APMA’s or regular admission

Blog post about tattoo.