I am Alive in Everything I Touch is the 8th studio album from Toronto’s Silverstein. It is the story of a man on tour surrounded by excitement, yet feels extreme loneliness. The story is told in 4 chapters: North, South, East and West. The story behind the album works because vocalist/lyricist Shane Told, who has always been very open and vulnerable with his lyrics, takes it to the next level and convinces you that the feelings he is having may in fact be your own. Another addition to the mix that makes it work is genuine recordings of street noise taken from major cities across North America. These sounds help to reinforce the idea that even though the world around the main character is full of life and activity, our main character is not. It is by far the band’s best work to date and is sure to fully immerse you.
Chapter I: Borealis
Toronto (Abridged): an instrumental that opens the album with street noises and the sounds of a TTC (Toronto’s public transit) street car followed by a bus that takes the main character, who we will call Shane away to start the tour.
A Midwestern State of Emergency: Some of Told’s best work to date. The marbling between screams and catchy clean vocals will have you singing along. The lyrics deal with taking a moment to be alone but inevitably being brought back to the surrounding action. The location for the start of our tour is Detroit, Michigan as referenced by a line pertaining to the space between Woodward and Cass. This area is known as the historic Cass Corridor. There is a possible reference to the “Pure Michigan “ travel advertisements as Told includes the lyrics “Innocence in a state so pure.” Once again we hear street noises in the song this time fading out into static.
Face of the Earth: great vocal marbling again as fantastic screams lead into a seriously catchy hook. This song also features some of the album’s best guitar work from lead guitarist, Paul Marc Rousseau, who does some top-notch riffing during the chorus. In terms of the journey it is impossible to tell exactly where we are now. The opening line may suggest Los Angeles as the lyrics read “They take our pictures as angels and kings/ we’re all pretending we’re someone/ one percenters or stars to be, jewels of the Midwest.” The sports team and one-percenters references make it seem like L.A. and although L.A. is in the West, it is not a Midwest city so I could be wrong here.
Chapter II: Austeralis
Heaven, Hell and Purgatory: This song is all about having a history somewhere and coming back to it. The location of the tour is now Georgia, as stated in the song’s interlude, which gives us some glassy guitar. Told gets vulnerable and whispers “As I pondered in silence/ motionless in the Georgian heat/ I realized that nothing would ever be the same/ and at that moment I knew I could never replicate that feeling without destroying something I loved.” It is this kind of openness that really makes this album work.
Buried at Sea: A song about finding a place you would like to stay. In this case the Emerald Coast in Florida and meeting someone there who doesn’t exactly want to be there.
Late on 6th: Here is the deep loneliness and the best use of street noise and glassy guitar. The song becomes a sort of midnight stroll through the entertainment district in Austin Texas.
Chapter III: Zephyrus
Milestone: We are definitely in California now thanks to Hollywood references and one to Camp Pendleton. This song is about leaving a lasting mark on the world as Told spits the wisdom “So if you’re listening to this/ you’re listening to me/ I’m speaking right now/ and I’m speaking forever/ My memory lives on through you/ and through everyone who’s ever known you.”
The Continual Condition: Las Vegas baby! Made evident by the opening line “A city drenching me in sin” this song is pretty basic and follows the pattern of feeling love struck in a city.
Desert Nights: Being the last song before the final chapter it sees Shane entertain the idea of longing to go home.
Chapter IV: Eurus
In The Dark: A night out in Brooklyn turns bad when Shane starts to feel most alone.
Je me Souviens: The title makes it obvious that we are in Montreal now and it is one of the last days of the tour. Shane feels that he has come clean and said all that he had to and now discusses the realities of coming home to a life that he hasn’t been a part of in a while.
Toronto (Unabridged): The final song brings us home and brings everything full circle as it starts with a bus ride to Liberty Village. In this song we realize that as much as the last chapter convinced us that Shane wanted to come home, he doesn’t love home as much as he used to. The hatred comes from feeling as if the city is a stranger.
The concept of I am Alive in Everything I Touch is one that is delivered successfully thanks in large part to Shane Told’s fearless ability to make himself completely vulnerable and share his deepest feelings. It helps you to feel that you were beside him on tour. The street noise incorporated in several of the tracks help to convey the idea that it is possible to feel alone despite being surrounded by people and energy. “Late on 6th” is the absolute benchmark for this record as the combination of glassy guitar and street noises found in its interlude are sure to make you feel alone in a crowd. I am Alive in Everything I Touch is a conceptual retelling of what it is like for a musician to pick up and leave home to tour.
Luke Williams grew up a fan of punk and pop punk in a field of cows just outside of Barrie, Ontario. You can follow him on Twitter @musicwithluke