The Monitor is the second studio album by American Punk Rock band Titus Andronicus that was released on the 9th of March, 2010. As both the cover and the title allude to, The Monitor revolves around themes from the American Civil War and modern-day New Jersey. The album's release date, the 9th of March, is also the anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads, a naval battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. Along with this are references to Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen, the latter also a New Jersey native who hated the place.
Featuring the band as well as an extensive list of guest musicians, The Monitor received rave reviews from critics for its lyricism and songwriting. It topped many lists for "Best Album of 2010", and is still widely praised to this day.
- "A More Perfect Union" (7:09)
- "Titus Andronicus Forever" (1:55)
- "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future" (5:16)
- "Richard II or Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Responsible Hate Anthem)" (5:06)
- "A Pot in Which to Piss" (8:53)
- "Four Score and Seven" (8:38)
- "Theme From 'Cheers'" (5:01)
- "To Old Friends and New" (7:00)
- " And Ever" (2:24)
- "The Battle of Hampton Roads" (14:02)
Principle members:Titus Andronicus:
- Patrick Stickles Guitar, harmonica, piano, synthesizer, tape operator, electronics, engineer, vocals
- Liam Betson - Guitar, vocals
- Ian Graetzer Bass
- Eric Harm Drums, percussion, vocals
- Julian Veronesi Vocals
- Dan McGee Vocals
- Matt Miller Vocals
- Brendan Stickles Vocals
- Ryan Walsh Vocals
- Andrew Cedermark Guitar
- Pete Feigenbaum Guitar
- Kevin McMahon Guitar, mixing, percussion, producer, recording, vocals
- Ian O'Neil Guitar, vocals
- Jenn Wasner Guitar, vocals
- Dustin Wong Guitar
- David Bentley Cello
- Brett Bondar Highland bagpipes, Scottish small pipes
- Peter Buettner Tenor saxophone
- Elio DeLuca Piano, organ, electric piano, engineer, vocals
- Ian Dykstra Bass drums, sleigh bells, tambourine
- Greg Farley Fiddle
- Dean Jones Trombone
- Brian Rutledge Trumpet
- Alex Tretiak Snare drums, research assistant, vocals
- Andy Stack Engineer
- Dustin Miller Vocal recording
At the end of these tropes:
- American Civil War: One of the concepts behind this album.
- Broken Record: "You'll always be a loser" at the end of "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future".
- Concept Album: The Monitor uses the American Civil War as a metaphor for the struggles of a young man in modern New Jersey.
- Dark Reprise: "...And Ever" serves as this for "Titus Andronicus Forever".
- Driven to Suicide: "A Pot in Which to Piss":And I know it won't do much good
Getting drunk and sad and singing
But I'm at the end of my rope
And I feel like swinging
- Epic Rocking: Almost the entirety of the album, but "The Battle of Hampton Roads" stands out at over 14 minutes.
- Ode to Intoxication: Both the sarcastic and non-sarcastic variety.
- Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: If Conor Oberst had become a punk rocker, he would be Patrick Stickles.
- Spoken Word in Music: The Monitor contains readings of speeches and writings by Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman, among others, performed by fellow indie rock artists such as Craig Finn of The Hold Steady and Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak.
- Straw Nihilist/The Anti-Nihilist: A common thread throughout Stickles' lyrics is his own indecision between falling into nihilism completely or finding his own purpose in life.