Citizen’s ‘As You Please’ transitions to a different sound from their usual grunge

By Amelia Shaw

(Citizen/ Facebook)

The Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan based indie-rock band Citizen released their third album, “As You Please,” on Oct. 6, 2017. Citizen signed with the label Run For Cover Records in early 2012 and released their first full album, “Youth,” in 2013.

Since the release of their debut album, the band has been described as emo, grunge, indie and even post-hardcore. They are known for dirty vocals and a mix of heavy,grungy guitar riffs and mellower, softer riffs.

“As You Please” is a big change from the band’s previous albums. “Everybody is Going to Heaven,” their second album, had a much darker, heavier sound to it than the latest release. Much of the grungier sound of the previous albums is not heard on “As You Please.” The overall tone of the album has a mellower, poppier, less intense sound than the band’s previous works.

The opening song, “Jet,” has a very melodic and upbeat sound, while the lyrics are eerie and dark. It’s a very different sound to the second track, “In the Middle of it All,” which had a gospel-sounding quality to it.

At the end of “In the Middle of it All,” the instruments and voices began to cut out, giving the song a sound of disembodiment. This song is a huge change from any of Citizen’s previous work. Both “Jet” and “In the Middle of it All” had strong riffs that repeat throughout the songs.

“Medicine,” the third track, is harsher sounding, much like songs off of “Youth” and “Everybody is Going to Heaven.” It has an eerie and intense feeling to it with dirtier vocals at various points throughout the song. This song, according guitarist Nick Hamm, was actually brought forth by Citizen’s drummer, Ryland Oehlers. Generally, the vocalist Mat Kerekes is the main writer for songs, so this was the first time Oehlers was the main writer for a track.

“Fever Days” starts off with light-hearted guitar and transitions almost immediately into strong, heavy bass. This song is also reminiscent of the band’s older albums. It has a poppier but still intense sound. The bass riff in this song is much like the bass solo of Basement’s latest album’s title track, “Promise Everything.” This song is also similar in sound to the opening track, “Jet.”

Some of the songs appeared to pull inspiration and pay homage to other bands. The chorus of the title song “As You Please” was reminiscent to Nirvana’s famous “Come As You Are.” “Control,” a song later in the album, had a very similar sounding drum pattern as the Wonder Years’ “A Song for Patsy Cline.”

“Ugly Luck” and “Fever Days” have a poppier sound than much of Citizen’s other work. This album mixes that poppier sound with the classic Citizen sound and reaches a good balance between heavier songs and more mellow sounds.

This album has an underlying tone of strong emotion, much like Citizen’s previous albums. Many of these songs have a happier sound to them, which juxtaposes the emotional darkness of the lyrics.While some of the songs on “As You Please” resemble Citizen’s older work, this album is a new sound for the band.

“As You Please” is about love, loss and trying to find your way. Each song is packed with emotion and questions about what comes next. This album is the beginning of a newer sound for Citizen—the only question is if the band will continue with this sound or if the next album will bring the sound of “Youth” back to the foreground.


Amelia Shaw can be reached at [email protected]