May 12, 2007
It’s hard for me to hear “Aftermath” without getting the sense that the band either deliberately omitted a big catchy chorus, or just didn’t realize that the song desperately needed one. Technically, “Aftermath” does have a chorus (“now you’ve worked it out…”), but it feels more like a bridge or a pre-chorus. I mean, there’s no reason why the song couldn’t have had two choruses — they totally pulled that off on “Turn You Inside-Out” from Green, and it’s a pretty fantastic and relatively underutilized pop trick. As it is, “Aftermath” seems unfinished and overly static, as if it’s just jogging in place for four minutes of our time.
There’s a good chance that the group intended for the song to feel lost in a haze of hesitant okay-ness, but even so, the effort is tripped up by the plodding, thoroughly mediocre percussion on the track. The drumming on “Aftermath” is drab and perfunctory, and more than any other song from the post-Hi-Fi era, it shows just how much Bill Berry brought to the band during his tenure. Even without coming up with a second chorus, I have no doubt that Bill would have figured out some way to subtly adjust the dynamics throughout the song and keep it from sounding so incredibly flat and aimless. I totally respect his desire to retire from touring with the band, but can’t he at least be brought in as a songwriting consultant for things like this?