The story of alt-rock band Soul Asylum is one of the modern music industry’s most interesting stories to date. This Minneapolis, Minnesota-based band has seen its share of highs and lows throughout the course of its now nearly thirty-five year life. Early on in its life the band struggled to make a name for itself. Even with ten albums under its collective belt (two of which went platinum–and one of which went platinum three times over–) thousands of albums sold around the world, and a number of hit singles, the band has never managed to achieve superstar status. Yet it has still maintained a solid fan base around the world and continued to make quality music. The band’s latest album Change of Fortune (its eleventh full-length studio recording) could very well mark the start in a change in the band’s fortunes. That is because this twelve-song record, which is currently slated for release on Friday, March 16th, presents plenty of songs that will appeal to audiences of all ages thanks to the mix of the album’s musical and lyrical content. The album’s opener ‘Supersonic’ proves that. The song’s catchy guitar riffs and driving beat couple with its interesting lyrical content to make for a song that will instantly grab listeners’ ears and have them singing and dancing along. ‘Dealing’ comes later in the album’s run. Its full-on alt-rock groove and insightful lyrical content makes it another good example of what makes this album a potential change of fortune for the band. The album’s title track, which the band saves for much later in the album, is one more good example of what makes this record so surprisingly enjoyable. Its musical content presents an infectious semi-bluesy groove that is sure to impress audiences. Its lyrical content is just as impressive. The combination of both elements makes this song one more piece that is sure to help make this album the start of a change of fortune for the band. And it most assuredly can be said that it isn’t the only remaining song featured in this record that could be cited in this argument either. ‘Cool,’ the album’s closer could just as easily be cited as could ‘Can’t Help It’ and ‘Ladies Man.’ Whether for those songs or the compositions more directly noted here, it can be said of the album in whole that it is an impressive return for Soul Asylum and a return that any Soul Asylum fan should hear at least once.
Soul Asylum’s latest full-length studio recording (it’s eleventh) Change of Fortune could very well be the beginning of a change for the band’s fortunes. That is saying quite a bit considering the band’s history. This twelve-song, thirty-nine minute record presents more than its share of solid offerings for audiences beginning right off the top with its opener ‘Supersonic.’ ‘Supersonic’ is a good start to this record with its catchy guitar riffs and driving backbeat. Both lines couple with Winston Roye’s bass line and Dave Pirner’s vocals to transport listeners right back to the 90s. The song’s lyrical content is just as poppy for lack of better wording. Pirner sings here, “Call me at the office/Call me sad but true/It calms me when you call me/It keeps me in my room/Supersonic/Just how you want it/Gin and tonic she’s always on it/Supersonic, she’s always on the way/Automatic autumn/Left it sound and safe/We are moving onward/Wasting away. Considering such content, one would think that this song wouldn’t be as upbeat as it is in terms of its musical content. But in fact the opposite is the case. Pirner seems to be coming across here as talking about someone that seems to have a certain amount of emotional control over another. That is just this critic’s interpretation. It is hardly gospel. The line in which Pirner sings, “We are moving onward/Wasting away” would seem to contradict that interpretation. That aside, the fact that Pirner could get audiences thinking an discussing so easily says plenty of these lines. The discussions and thoughts don’t end with those lines, either. Pirner goes on later to sing about meeting at a station and telling someone where to go.It is definitely an interesting line in itself. And together with the rest of the song’s lyrical content, the song in whole is sure to keep listeners talking and singing along. The discussions brought on by the song’s lyrical content come together with the discussions on the song’s blatantly 90s sound to show exactly why this song was such a wise choice to open Soul Asylum’s new album and why the song was an equally wise addition to the album in whole. It is just one wise addition to this album, too. ‘Dealing’ is another good addition to this record.
‘Supersonic,’ with its mix of 90s-influenced musical content and discussion-invoking lyrical content proves in the end to be a wise opener for Soul Asylum’s latest full-length studio recording. It proves to be just as wise of an addition to the album in whole. As with the album’s opener the main reason for this is the song’s musical content. The song’s musical content boasts a full-on 90s alt-rock groove that is sure to get audiences moving. It might come across as an odd comparison to some, but in this critic’s own view, the groove in question actually conjures thoughts of King’s X. Audiences that are familiar with King’s X will likely agree when they hear this song for themselves. In regards to the song’s lyrical content, it is just as interesting. The song comes across as a social commentary of sorts as Pirner sings, “Everybody knows/Anything goes/We were only trying to have a good time/Livin’ while you learn/You’ll get your turn/We were only living with the one line/When you point the finger/Do you often find it pointed back at you/When you look at the mirror/Do you wonder who is looking back at you?” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus “This is what we’re dealing/This is what we’re dealing with.” As if that isn’t enough proof of that interpretation, Pirner sings in the song’s second verse, “Every move you make/Is like a slitherin’ snake/Winding up the coil/Wastin’ your time/I don’t know what you heard/This is absurd/Trying to set yourself up for the last time.” Pirner comes across, in considering both verses, and the song’s short, simple chorus, as making a statement about someone that is not the best type of person by any means. It’s as if he is commenting on those people who act one way in a situation but in reality are rather quick to blame others anytime something bad happens and who refuse to accept responsibility for anything. Again, that is just this critic’s own take on this song. So it is not meant to be taken as the only interpretation. It is just the starting point for discussions on the song’s lyrical content. Regardless of wrong or right, Pirner has once again presented a song in its lyrical content alone that proves to be another good addition to Soul Asylum’s new album. And together with ‘Supersonic’ both songs together strengthen this album in whole even more. Of course the two songs together are not the album’s only songs nor are they the only good additions to this record. The album’s title track, which comes late in the album’s run, is just as impressive of an addition to the album as those songs.
Both ‘Supersonic’ and ‘Dealing’ are prime examples of what makes Change of Fortune a solid return for Soul Asylum and a record that any of the band’s fans should hear at least once. As impressive as both songs are in the overall picture of the album, they are not the only good examples of what makes this record worth hearing. The album’s title track, which serves as the album’s penultimate composition, is another piece that proves the album’s worth. Its musical content is a good starting point in the discussion as to why. ‘Change of Fortune’s’ musical makeup presents a semi-bluesy groove a la Lenny Kravitz that will have listeners moving just as easily as any of the album’s other songs, including those already noted here. The song’s lyrical content adds a whole other element to the song that when coupled with that infectious groove makes the song in whole a piece that is one of the album’s most standout moments. What makes the song’s lyrical content so notable is the ways that it can be interpreted. There is some material that makes it come across as a song centered on a couple’s meeting and relationship issues. At another point it seems to have something of a social commentary turn once again. Yet the song’s chorus segments seem to hint otherwise. Considering this it is sure to have audiences listening perhaps closer than at any other point in this record. Together with ‘Supersonic’ and ‘Dealing,’ all three songs are equally certain to have audiences listening and talking. And they are hardly the only pieces from this album that could be cited as examples of what makes this record worth hearing, too. Every one of the songs not noted here will each have listeners talking just as much. All things considered, the fact that Change of Fortune could have listeners so closely engaged shows that it could very well be the turning point in the band’s fortunes in its decades-long history.
Soul Asylum’s eleventh full-length studio recording is a welcome new return for the veteran alt-rock band. Fans old and new alike will agree with that sentiment when they hear this record for themselves. That is thanks to the mix of the album’s classic 90s sound in its musical content and the equally interesting lyrical content in each of the album’s songs. The combination of both elements together over the course of the album’s twelve songs and thirty-nine minutes will keep listeners completely engaged from beginning to end. That is evident not just in the songs noted here but in every one of the album’s songs. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Soul Asylum’s body of work, every listener will agree to all of this in hearing this record. In doing so, they will also agree that this record is not just a welcome return for the band but a record that every Soul Asylum fan should hear at least once. It will be available Friday, March 18th in stores and online. More information on Change of Fortune is available online now along with all of Soul Asylum’s latest news and tour updates at:
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