Crimson (Alkaline Trio album)

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Alkaline Trio - Crimson cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 24, 2005
RecordedLate 2004
StudioConway Studios, Los Angeles, California
GenrePunk rock,[1][2] pop punk[2]
ProducerJerry Finn
Alkaline Trio chronology
BYO Split Series, Vol. 5
Singles from Crimson
  1. "Time to Waste"
    Released: May 24, 2005
  2. "Mercy Me"
    Released: September 27, 2005
  3. "Burn"
    Released: February 19, 2006

Crimson is the fifth studio album by American rock band Alkaline Trio, released on May 24, 2005.


Bassist Dan Andriano notes that:

it was kind of the same as always. We just spent a little more time in all areas of the recording process. We spent a little more time in pre-production, where we worked on the songs with Jerry. Before we started recording, he came out to Chicago and [came to practices] and he was listening to the songs, and we had an opportunity to ask him what he thought. It kind of gave us more time to re-work some stuff that we thought could have been a little better but were a little stumped on, as Jerry had good ideas for the songs. And as far as the actual recording, it was great working with him. It was more like working with a friend. We've known Jerry for a long time, and he's really easy to work with and be around for 12 hours a day. He's got an amazing gear collection. Any kind of guitar you want to use for a song or any kind of amplifier, he probably has it—and he probably has one of the nicest ones of that model. To me, recording was like being in a playground. It's just like, "Let me play this one. Let me try this." Every bass track on the record was recorded with an old Marshall guitar amp.[3]

Recording took place at Conway Studios in Los Angeles, California with producer Jerry Finn at the end of 2004. Ryan Hewitt engineered the sessions with assistance from Seth Waldmann. A few people contributed to the recordings: Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (piano and keyboards), Nolan McGuire (guitar on "Sadie"), Heather Hannoura (spoken word on "Sadie") and Warren Fitzgerald (additional string arrangements). Finn mixed the recordings, while Dave Collins mastered them at Dave Collins Mastering.[4] A tentative title for the album was Church and Destroy.[5]

This album would prove to be the band's final album with Finn involved in any capacity before his death in 2008.


The song "Sadie" is about Susan Atkins (aka Sadie Mae Glutz) a murderer in the Charles Manson family, who took part in the Sharon Tate murders in 1969. The quotation near the end of the song is a quote from Susan's testimony which is spoken by Heather Gabel, the band's merchandise and artwork creator.

The song "Prevent This Tragedy" refers to the West Memphis Three, whose trial and conviction for triple homicide in 1993 is considered controversial.[6]

Skiba on "Sadie":

That song was actually the first song that we wrote for Crimson. We were still touring on our previous record and I wrote it just on tour. We started playing it at soundcheck and we had planned to do this split with One Man Army on BYO. That’s where that song came from originally. But we knew even then that we were probably wanting to re-record it and putting it on an album, which it was on Crimson later. So yeah, I think that came from knowing that we were starting to write a new record and wanting to take a different approach. As I said before, you don’t ever want to write the same record twice. So yeah, I think it was just a fresh start and it just had a different kind of feel and sort of set the tone for Crimson, not that there is other songs like it on the record. But it’s definitely a good thing to get the ball rolling.[7]

Andriano on "Smoke":

It's the last song on the record. I actually wrote that song like two years ago. I knew I liked certain aspects of the song, and those were basically the aspects of the song that made it to the final version. For the two years before we recorded it, I had been kind of toiling over this. It was kind of the bane of my writing existence. It scared me, because I knew I liked parts of it but was really unhappy with other parts. I couldn't make the vibe work. There was a time when that song was really soft, actually. I tried to make it like a loud, mid-tempo rock number, but nothing really worked. That was one that we spent a lot of time on actually, making that groove that we wanted that's there now, almost a ballad [like] kind of song. It gave us a lot of time to think about cool effects, effects we could use on the chorus and string parts that are in the song.[3]


The album's cover art features drummer Derek Grant and Matt Skiba's then fiancée (and now ex-wife), Monica.[8]

According to Matt Skiba, the band were:

"doing the photo shoot and we had a completely different idea of what the record was going to look like. And Monica was there doing our styling; she got a bunch of outfits and she did the styling for pretty much all the new pictures for the record. She was there and the photographer was just doing all these different things and he had her stand in. He was toying with these different ideas with just a small portion of her face in the picture and then, lo and behold, she's our cover star. So we thought it looked cool and the people at the art department are in cahoots with the photographer who is amazing. Everybody who worked on the thing was cool and hands on and saw these pictures of her and were asking “who is that?” I said “that's my girlfriend” and they said “that's perfect, we have to use her." I think it looks very cinematic, and that's what we were going for. Once it was coming together, it was like film noir.[8]


On April 17, 2005, Crimson was announced for release the following month; in the same post, the album's track listing was revealed.[9] Crimson was made available for streaming through MTV2 on May 18,[10] before being released on May 24 through Vagrant Records. "Time to Waste" was released to radio on the same day.[11] "Mercy Me" was released to radio on September 27.[11] The band went on a fall tour with My Chemical Romance.[12] A two-disc deluxe edition was released on December 6 through Vagrant. The second disc features demo recordings, acoustic versions of songs on the album and music videos.[13] It is presented in a color slipcase based on original artwork. From March to May 2006, the group went on The Occult Roots of Alkaline Trio: Early Songs for Eerie People tour, on which the group played material from their back catalog.[12] They were supported by Against Me!.[12] The group went on a brief tour of the west coast in late May and early June, with support from the Lawrence Arms and the Draft.[14] Following performances at the London Astoria and the Reading and Leeds Festivals, "Burn" was released as a single in September.[15]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars [1]
Chart AttackFavorable[16]
Drowned in Sound8/10 [2]
IGN7.5/10 [17]
LAS Magazine8/10 [18]
Melodic3.5/5 stars [19]
PopMatters8/10 [20]
Punknews.org4/5 stars [21]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars [22]
StylusB+ [23]

The album sold 42,624 copies,[15] charting at number 25 on the Billboard 200. By August 2008, the album sold 204,000 copies.[24] BuzzFeed included the album at number 25 on their "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F——ing Die" list.[25]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Alkaline Trio.[4]

1."Time to Waste"4:11
2."The Poison"2:04
4."Mercy Me"2:49
6."Settle for Satin"3:49
8."Fall Victim"3:18
9."I Was a Prayer"2:36
10."Prevent This Tragedy"3:06
11."Back to Hell"2:54
12."Your Neck"3:15
Deluxe edition bonus disc
  1. "Time to Waste" (demo) – 3:24
  2. "The Poison" (demo) – 1:34
  3. "Burn" (Matt's home demo) – 2:57
  4. "Mercy Me" (acoustic) – 3:12
  5. "Dethbed" (demo) – 2:56
  6. "Settle for Satin" (demo) – 3:31
  7. "Sadie" (acoustic) – 3:19
  8. "Fall Victim" (demo) – 3:04
  9. "I Was a Prayer" (acoustic) – 2:54
  10. "Prevent This Tragedy" (demo) – 3:40
  11. "Back to Hell" (Matt's home demo) – 2:56
  12. "Your Neck" (demo) – 3:14
  13. "Smoke" (demo) – 3:07
  14. "Time to Waste" (acoustic) – 4:21
  15. "Time to Waste" (video)
  16. "Mercy Me" (video)
  17. "Burn" (video)


Personnel per booklet.[4]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Silver 60,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.



  1. ^ a b Loftus, Johnny. Crimson at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b c Drowned in Sound review
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-21. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c Crimson (Booklet). Alkaline Trio. Vagrant/Hassle Records. 2006. VRUK012CDX.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  5. ^ Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba: 'Satanism's Fun' - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News
  6. ^ McMahon ed. 2015, p. 25
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-05. Retrieved 2014-02-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ Roth, Kaj (April 17, 2005). "New Album With Alkaline Trio Out May 24". Melodic. Retrieved March 10, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Roth, Kaj (May 18, 2005). "Stream The Entire New Album With Alkaline Trio". Melodic. Retrieved March 10, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b "FMQB Airplay Archive: Modern Rock". Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Incorporated. Archived from the original on March 22, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ a b c "Second batch of Alkaline Trio/Against Me! dates announced". Alternative Press. January 27, 2006. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Crimson II: Electric Boogaloo". Alternative Press. October 20, 2005. Retrieved June 24, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Alkaline Trio/The Lawrence Arms/The Draft West Coast tour". Alternative Press. February 12, 2006. Retrieved June 28, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ a b "". AbsolutePunk. SpinMedia. Archived from the original on November 13, 2002. Retrieved August 2, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ English, Steve (May 24, 2005). "CD Releases: Gorillaz, Audioslave, Wallflowers, Alkaline Trio, Sleater-Kinney And More!!!". Chart Attack. Channel Zero. Retrieved April 4, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ JR (May 31, 2005). "Alkaline Trio - Crimson". IGN. Archived from the original on August 19, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "LAS Magazine review". Archived from the original on 2017-09-10. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  19. ^ Roth, Kaj (June 8, 2005). "Alkaline Trio - Crimson". Melodic. Retrieved July 17, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ PopMatters review
  21. ^ review
  22. ^ Hoard, Christian (June 2, 2005). "Alkaline Trio: Crimson : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on May 21, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ Stylus review
  24. ^ Caulfield, Keith (August 1, 2008). "Ask Billboard: Robin Sparkles, Garbage, Alkaline Trio, Bayside". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ Sherman, Maria; Broderick, Ryan (July 2, 2013). "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F----ing Die". BuzzFeed. Retrieved July 29, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ "British album certifications – Alkaline Trio – Crimson". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Crimson in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.


  • McMahon, James, ed. (August 8, 2015). "Secrets Behind the Songs". Kerrang!. No. 1580. London: Bauer Media Group. ISSN 0262-6624.

External links[edit]