Just released to the world today is the second solo album of Kevin Hearn (the first of which was released in 1997). If you don't know, or realize, as I didn't, he was the keyboardist in Barenaked Ladies!! So, how cool will this be?
Each of the songs is supposed to "take you somewhere," according to his website. And this guy has quite a musical background, having contributed to several bands other than BNL, obviously keeping busy and going about music in his own way. I'm ready to see what he's got on his own.
Let's take it to the track-by-track:
"Northland Train" kicks things off... at a total lull. And this isn't the good mellow that James Blunt brings us, it's dragging and dull. And it's sad - all about longing for something. I appreciate the trace-like beat that kicks in at about 2:00, but I've already been lost on this one, personally.
"She Waved" kicks in with some interesting piano and a beat that makes you feel like something will happen. But again, that voice just makes it lag and a little painful. I could absolutely fall asleep to this, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. I'm going to go ahead and keep writing my Christmas cards while this finishes.
Ah, it's over, and "Don't Shuffle Me Back" is pulling things a little more up-beat and variety. This may be the nostalgic in me, but this awkward sound of his is what I think I was missing for some reason. The lyrics are still a little goofy, but not enough to be a fun hang out song like their previous work had been. It's okay though. Maybe I'll have renewed hope for the rest of the CD.
"Grey Garden." Damn you whispery sing-song voice. *sigh* I get it, I have to deal. Ignoring everything I don't like about this song, let alone the album, I want to close my eyes and be in Wonderland for this - Tim Burton's version, mind you. So I'm going to say I like this song. A little. Enough for the "Hard Times" playlist at least.
This has got to be the most depressing piano melody I've ever heard. "Tell Me Tell Me" is not getting much better. It's all about nostalgia for a love's happiness. And it's the point in the album that I'm going to get do my research for the beginning of this review. See yah in a few minutes.
And were back with "The House of Invention." Whoa, was that a different instrument? Is that a jolly beat? Is he not whispering?? FINALLY! Okay, lyrically, there's something lacking big time. But at least we're on the right journey toward something listen-able.
"Always Changing" is most definitely a journey song, but so depressing as hell. It's about going to pay last respects to a friend. Whew, this is actually pretty heavy. It's also got lines about promising to do your best but accepting that things are always changing. I do love the music to this though, and may even enjoy it more without the lyrics. The music itself takes a journey if you can focus in on it alone. I found a live video of this that captures it, in my opinion, a lot better than the album does:
"The City of Love" isn't bad. It's extremely mellow, but at least there's a happy ending to the story. It's very relaxing without having the only voice be breathy and annoying.
And finally, for something completely different. "Monsters Anonymous" has got to be that smart, funny song on the album that has more than meets the eye. We hear the stories and opinions of the different classic monster types, and it makes them pretty real with some rough problems. This could make an awesome video... Someone contact me and let's get on this one.
This is, let me note, a man who fought and survived Leukemia. He can honestly do whatever the hell he wants to musically, and I won't argue with him. I respect his devotion to music and desire to keep doing whatever he wants to do. This album just... didn't strike a chord with me.
Apologies to one of my best friends EM who's a big BNL fan.
It's a really cool cover though!!
Thoughts? Share them!!!