This album actually came out on my birthday (Ringo was far more important to my world though). This is twelve albums in for Leonard, and was all over NPR during release time.
To follow along via Spotify, check out this link. Otherwise, enjoy the ramblings.
I know it's not spoken word, but that's the only description I can give to things as we start off with "Going Home." The lyrics, I have a feeling, are where it's really at here. I love the subtleness of the background, with the voices and the slight beat. There is an ABAB sort of structure, and the chorus is prevalent, and actually quite beautiful. There's a story of returning. The singers take over for a little bit singing the melody for that spoken chorus that's hit too hard already. Very self-reflective.
"Amen" has a little more to it instrumentally, but we're not without out deep-voiced Leonard. It's a very depressing song as it rolls, especially once the trumpet, a usually bright instrument, plays out this sad melody that just makes you want to lay back and die.
The piano that starts this almost made me hopeful for real singing, but "Show Me The Place" is ever as deep. Oh, wait, there's a little bit of singing going on. It's oddly beautiful actually, with a violin that makes the song completely. It's just incredibly sad again, which could be the whole point of the album, I don't know. There's a lot to the lyrics, don't get me wrong. They've got a depth unlike anything else we've reviewed in quite some time. It's just so tough to be okay with really hearing them when the tone has got you feeling so much like this.
"Had to go crazy to love you. You were never the one." "Crazy to Love You." Ahhh this is one of those that's going to drive me into the arms of pop music again, isn't it. Sorry, it's not a bad album by any stretch, but we're yet again presented with something that's very down trodden and maybe even a little too honest.
"Come Healing" begins with a very sweet chorus of ladies singing of healing from pain, and it's almost got an Irish theme throughout. Leonard only comes in for a little while, and allows the song to mostly takes its own shape. There's beauty in this, as if singing up to something much higher than ourselves. There's a sense of asking for something better. It's almost like being in a holy place again.
Oh banjo. No, really, the song's name is "Banjo." It's a folk-ish tune with an actual movement to it that makes you want to amble along that ol' country road. It's a quite decent song, if only I could get into it lyrically. I like how Leonard plays a little with his voice here though, hitting words in an awkward but cool way. Definitely plays in a different way off of the wonderful backing soulful voices.
"Lullaby" takes a cool turn with that bass line and a harmonica. The harmonic's actually what's carrying the lullaby portion of the song. The other elements have an old-west feeling and even would work for a ride along the range in a wagon. I'm not trying to be cute here. If not for the drums, I would think this was made for the Oregon Trail.
We end with an interesting sounding song in "Different Sides." Classic split decision issues going on between them. They don't agree, but the way he puts it it just entirely fascinating. The positions are different, but they're explained in this twisted little way that makes you see them both for each. They may even be the same thing sometimes. I don't know - like I said, lyrically, this is an extremely album.
Added To My Playlist:
- "Going Home"
- "Come Healing"