This November, it’ll be 10 years since Angels & Airwaves released their sophomore album, ‘I-Empire’.
Angels & Airwaves was formed by former blink-182 co-frontman Tom DeLonge during his first ugly public divorce from fellow blink-182 co-frontman Mark Hoppus in 2005. In the following months, DeLonge began recording new music, which would end up as the band’s, somewhat lacklustre, debut album ‘We Don’t Need To Whisper’, released in 2006 via Geffen.
A year later, the band recorded and released their s second album ‘I-Empire’ via Geffen to significantly better fanfare. Though this album lacks the amount of singles its predecessor produced – releasing just one single (‘Everything’s Magic’) compared to ‘We Don’t Need To Whisper’s four (‘The Adventure’, ‘It Hurts’, ‘Do It For Me Now’ and ‘The War) – the track listing is solid as a rock. The album continues DeLonge’s voyage away from comedic and angsty pop punk lyricism, incorporating more themes of space rock songwriting, synthesisers and storytelling lyricism; effectively continuing to establish and further his relatively newfound maturity away from lyrics about having sex with animals and girl problems.
From track one, to track 12, the songs provide a consistent, smooth and logical listening experience and it’s easy to tell that the song listing has been calculated by DeLonge to remain as such. This album doesn’t present itself as a novel but rather a series of short stories (that are heavily open to interpretation) – with track one, ‘Call To Arms’ telling the story of a man being in love, but being scared of the uncertainties of relationships and track 12 ‘Heaven’ telling a story of love between two people being wonderful.
It’d be almost a spoiler to say more about the lyrics, as each track will certainly resonate differently with any listener, providing a unique audio journey. Aside from the clever and poetic lyricism it’s easy to tell DeLonge was careful with this album. It’s radio rock – but it’s good radio rock. 10 years on this album is still as great as it always has been, and it has fantastically – showing that from ‘Dude Ranch’ to blink-182‘s self-titled album, to ‘I-Empire’, Tom DeLonge is incredible at writing albums that have a long-lasting impact with listeners.
‘I-Empire’ goes down as some of Angels and Airwave‘s best work, and will probably continue to do so until 2027. If you haven’t heard this album, definitely go and do it now. You won’t regret it.