If you like: Lifehouse
I couldn’t wait to rip the plastic wrapping off and throw the CD into my player and absorb the musical gold that I knew would be soon be flooding my ears. I had literally been waiting for this album for over two-years now which had progressively sky-rocketed my anticipation as the months and years passed. As you can probably tell, I am an avid Lifehouse fan and have been since the first playing of ‘Hanging by a Moment’ from their freshman release: ‘No Name Face’ in October of 2000. Few bands in my opinion have been able to successfully meld a mid-to-late nineties grunge rock style with a radio friendly sound that includes harder, edgier pieces, emotional ballads, and something you might hear from a worship band.
With their two previous albums to back up my anticipation of their junior (third) release, plus a recently downloaded single off of iTunes (which by the way has already gone gold) I slid the new disk in and began what was to be a musical journey of varying opinions.
Jason’s Wades very recognizable voice opens the album with the track ‘Come Back Down’ which, easily lures the listener into a fresh version of the music that they have come to expect from this great songwriter. Nothing new here, just great Lifehouse music. Great guitar hooks, and amazingly deep layers of music for a three-man band. We are then led into the ever-growingly popular single: ‘You and Me.’ This pop ballad begins with just Jason and his acoustic singing what should become (at least for me) one of this decades great love songs. By the end of ‘You and Me’ I couldn’t wait to here the third track ‘Blind,’ which prevailed to be one of their harder pieces. Jason’s vocals come as close as they will to yelling the lyrics, and the driving guitar hooks, moving from the slower chorus to the fast paced excitable chorus. As I moved to the fourth track, here is where things began to get shaky for me. Jason apparently begins to experiment stylistically, still remaining in whatever genre/category you might put it in, but moving in a direction you might not expect. Lighter tracks are added in this album, where previous albums may have been edgier. As mentioned before, deep layers of B3 organs, strings, Wurlitzer, vibes, and vocal falsetto, took me off guard, and, this new style almost made me write the new album off as average attempt to meet the expected time table of their fans. However, as I listened more as well as deeper into the album, I began to fully appreciate the album for what it was; another great piece of art from some great musicians.
As far as thematically, the album touches on basically all the issues you might expect from Jason. Songs about confrontation, scars from the past, but also a steady theme of hope, that is truly encouraging if you take a moment to read and think over the lyrics. Jason Wade personally confesses that he is not one to be open about his emotions to most/all people, but what he is truly feeling comes out in his writing.
Lifehouse is definitely a gifted group of artists. I had such high expectations for what Lifehouse was going to bring in their new album, already putting them in a box of my choosing. But, what is so great about these guys is they remained outside of that box of expectation, while still remaining true to who they are producing some great music worth listening to over and over again.
Originally Published May 2005