Our Music Year No. 47: Tim Armstrong, ‘A Poet’s Life’

By From page A7 | February 16, 2013

Artist: Tim Armstrong
Title: “A Poet’s Life”
Year: 2007
Format: Spotify
Grade: C+

Bay Area punk rock legend Tim Armstrong recruits Los Angeles reggae/ska band The Aggrolites as his backing group on “A Poet’s Life,” his solo debut effort that brings to the surface the ska and reggae influences that were always present in his work.

It’s a platter that passes inoffensively, but simultaneously, doesn’t make much of a lasting impression. Lacking the snarling hooks of Rancid, Operation Ivy or The Transplants, Armstrong drops into a lower gear and makes a record that sounds like more of a passion project than a masterpiece.

The result is a product that is fun. “Translator” rides a groovy reggae beat. “I only wanted what was best for you,” sings Armstrong and a chorus of horns sigh in response to the line.

There are other references Bay Area residents will recognize, as when he notes that the East Bay is “cold as hell in the middle of the summer” during “Among the Dead.”

It’s a little jarring to hear alongside a genre so commonly associated with tropical climates, but given Armstrong’s past dalliances in the genre, it isn’t such a stretch.

Ultimately, if you’re not a devoted fan, this isn’t an essential purchase.

Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.

Discussion | 1 comment

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  • RobertFebruary 16, 2013 - 7:32 am

    Would've been good to mention that all the songs on this album were given out as free downloads. Wasn't a great album but if interested in some different stuff check out his new collection of over 90 songs under the name Tim Timebomb and Friends.

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