Today is the Day – No Good to Anyone Review

Steve Austin personifies the definition of the word “driven.” For 30 years, as the vocalist, guitarist, and mastermind of Maine’s Today is the Day, Austin had to deal with homelessness, abandonment, and the ever-changing and fickle nature of the music business. In doing so, he’s crafted such amazing albums like In the Eyes of God and Yer Metal is Olde inductee Temple of the Morning Star, becoming one of underground noise-rock and metal’s endearing and enduring heroes. “Enduring” is a mild understatement. In short, between 2014’s Animal Mother and today, Austin suffered from a severe accident where his van flipped upside down and slid for 120 yards, causing multiple injuries. He also dealt with a massive inflammatory issue that was misdiagnosed, and was given medicine that could have killed him. Finally, his dog of three years had to be put down due to Lyme Disease, which Austin later discovered he also contracted.

So you would figure No Good to Anyone would be more acidic and downtrodden than your usual Today is the Day affair, and you would be partly correct. The opening title track possesses one hell of a slow burn, but whereas most slow burns build to a hefty climax, “No Good to Anyone” somehow keeps the flame at a steady yet intense burn throughout, with only a frantic flourish here and there to knock you for a loop. Austin’s proven to come out of the gate and bulldoze people with insane riffs and freakish howls in the past, so to see him go the slow-and-steady approach on here is a great way to set up an intense album.

With all that’s happened to him over the last six years, it’s no wonder Austin’s spitting vitriol whenever necessary. Whether it’s directed at people who leech off of others (“Son of Man”), the government (“OJ Kush”), or getting mad at the rock and roll lifestyle and how it ends up killing people (“Burn in Hell”), there’s no shortage of anger and disappointment hurled from the throat and fingertips of Austin. What’s surprising, though, is just how Austin conveys the feeling of loss, especially on the song “Callie,” named and dedicated to Austin’s aforementioned dog. Here, Austin sounds like a modern-day Neil Young, paying bittersweet tribute to someone who gave him unconditional love until the end. If you’ve ever lost a pet or someone you loved, this song will resonate with you, and is easily one of the most heartbreaking songs I’ve ever heard. In fact, I wouldn’t mind hearing a full album of acoustic music by Austin, should he ever go that route.

On the flip side, while I respect the honesty and anger that went into them, some of the songs on No Good to Anyone don’t hit that visceral nerve as well. The biggest case lies with “Mercy,” a song that’s a stream-of-conscious “Fuck you” that comes across as a bit edgy with lines like “Who do you think you are/You drive me fucking nuts.” And while “Orland” and closer “Rockets & Dreams” pack an emotional punch due to Austin’s son playing keyboards on both, “Agate” could have been tacked on at the end of preceding track “Cocobolo” with no consequence. But even with these complaints, fans of Today is the Day will have no problem connecting with the message and themes Austin has presented here, and there’s no denying the sincerity and passion on display.

And at the end of the day, that’s what truly matters here. In the past, Austin’s been dealt some serious blows and he’s come back to give his detractors the finger. On No Good to Anyone, Austin’s now a family man who’s suffered some serious physical and emotional setbacks that would destroy anyone else, and yet he’s doing his best to bring a bit of hope. I always had a tremendous amount of respect for Steve Austin, but that’s only amplified with No Good to Anyone, an album that stands proudly among Austin’s (and Today is the Day’s) best work. With that, I’m hoping for nothing but happiness for Austin and his family.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 71 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: BMG
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 28th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Range was between DR5 and DR13.
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