Courtesy: Blue Elan Records
Soul Asylum is proof that a band doesn’t have to be a superstar act in order to be successful. The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based indie rock act has, for more than three decades, sold thousands of records worldwide, built a fan base just as large, if not larger, and even seen two of its albums go platinum. For all of that success, the band has remained largely just under the mainstream radar. Now this spring, the little band that could will continue its success when it releases its new album Hurry Up And Wait. Set for release April 17 through Blue Elan Records, the 13-song record will come more than four years after the band released its most recent album, 2016’s Change of Fortune. The band’s 12th album, the 46-minute record proves to be a work that fans will agree was worth the “wait.” That is proven through the album’s musical and lyrical content, as is proven in part through the album’s opener, ‘The Beginning.’ It will be addressed shortly. ‘Got it Pretty Good,’ which also comes early in the album’s run, is another way in which the record’s overall content makes the album work. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Silly Things,’ the album’s closer is one more way in which the album’s collective musical and lyrical content comes together to show why the album is an interesting new offering from Soul Asylum’s latest lineup. When these songs are considered along with other entries featured in the album, such as ‘Social Butterfly,’ ‘Freezer Burn’ and the album’s lead single ‘If I Told You’ and the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole of this record makes it another work that Soul Asylum’s longtime fans will assuredly enjoy
Longtime fans of Soul Aslyum and indie rock fans alike will all agree that it was a good thing Dave Pirner – one of the band’s founding members – and his latest lineup of musicians did not “hurry” to make the band’s 12th full-length studio recording. Coming more than four years after the release of its 11th album Change of Fortune, this latest album from the indie-rock darling gives listeners plenty to appreciate both musically and lyrically. The album’s opener, fittingly titled ‘The Beginning,’ is just one of the songs that serves to support these statements. The song’s guitar-driven, mid-tempo arrangement is an instantly radio-ready work that lends itself to comparisons to some of Foo Fighters’ early works. To another extent, one could even argue comparisons to early works from Smashing Pumpkins, believe it or not. Between the guitar and bass line, which form the song’s foundation and the time keeping, which builds even more on that foundation, the whole of the arrangement gives the album a solid start. The music’s companion lyrical content shows even more, what makes the song such a strong start to the record, and notable entry to the album.
The lyrical content at the center of ‘The Beginning’ is a very positive presentation that any listener will appreciate. Pirner sings in the song’s lead verse, “Everyone’s waiting/To see if you’re coming/Out of your shell for a while/Cupid and Casper are asking about you/You used to be so wild/I know how it is/You’d be drunk at a party/It seems there’s someone you should call/Then the cycle begins/You decide to stay in/You don’t talk to anyone at all/Never know what you might find/You never know what you leave behind/This is the beginning/Of a great adventure/No’s not the time, not the time to step aside.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I’ve had my share of missteps and delusions…Every conclusion/Is better than never/Happily after all/Dig yourself out of the tangled up barbed-wire/Fighting over every wall/Then you get over/And pull yourself/Pull yourself up by the straps of your overalls/Never know what you might find/You never know what you leave behind/This is the beginning of a great adventure/Leaving with you/This is the beginning/Of a great adventure/Now’s not the time, not the time/To leave it behind/I’m right behind you/Behind you all the way/When I find you/We’ll be on our way.” Pirner leaves little doubt as to the central theme of this song with these relatively accessible lyrics. The whole thing comes across as a song that encourages listeners to move forward in life and put the past behind them, thus the phrasing in the song’s chorus about the great adventure and it not being the time to step aside. That positive, uplifting message, coupled with the song’s equally accessible musical arrangement, makes the song in whole both a strong start for Soul Asylum’s new album and just one example of how the album’s collective content makes it so enjoyable for the aforementioned audiences. It is just one of the songs featured in the album that serves to exhibit the album’s appeal. ‘Got It Pretty Good’ is another example of the album’s positive impact.
‘Got It Pretty Good’ is another work whose musical arrangement takes audiences back to the early 1990s with its bluesy-mid-tempo 4/4 construction. The simple, guitar-driven work has plenty of infectious hooks and choruses that will stick in listeners’ minds long after the song (and album) ends. While the song’s arrangement does more than enough to keep listeners engaged and entertained, it is only one part of what makes the song another notable addition to HUAW. The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to its whole.
Pirner sings in this song’s lead verse, “Well I went to the doctor/I was feeling bad/I got it pretty good/I went to the church/Try to see what they had/I got it pretty good/The psychiatrist sent me back to the priest/He just said keep your childhood Christian/Yes I got it/Yes I got it pretty good/I tried being mean/I tried being mean/I tried taking all of your advice/It’s time to shine/A fine time to remind me/I’m just fine/A fine time to unwind/Now’s your time to shine.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I got it/I got it/I got it pretty good/About to choke/I’m on my knees/Yes I got it pretty good/Well I tried being nice/I tried being mean/I live my life just keeping it clean/I got the fever/I got the fever/And I got it pretty good/Well I need a good hammer/And A couple of nails/Gonna build me a boat/Gonna set my sails/My time to shine/It’s a fine time to remind me/I’m doing just fine/If I can find the time/Now’s your time to shine.” Pirner leaves little doubt at this point as to the song’s central lyrical theme. This is a song that centers on people trying to tell us how to live, and that it is more important for us to live our own lives as we see fit. If any doubt was left by now, Pirner eliminates it even more in the song’s third and final verse, singing, “It ain’t good or bad/Ain’t wrong or right/But I got it pretty good/I ain’t giving up/No I stay in the fight/’Cause I got it pretty good/I’m unraveling/I’m gonna unwind/I’m winding down if I can find the time/’Cause I got it pretty good/I tried being mean/I tried being nice/I tried taking all your advice/It’s time to shine/Fine time to remind me/Live your life…now’s your time to shine.” Again, this is a reminder to take life at our own pace and live our lives for us, not based on what others tell us we should do. In other words, it is a work that promotes individuality, a classic theme of so much rock music. When this message is considered alongside the song’s musical arrangement, with its solid energy and positive sound, it becomes even clearer why this song is such an enjoyable addition to the album’s whole. The two elements together do a lot to make the song stand out, and in turn, serve to show that much more why the album in whole is another positive offering from Soul Asylum. While this song is clearly notable in its own way to the whole of HUAW, it is not the last of the album’s most notable entries. ‘Silly Things,’ the album’s closer is one more example of what makes this album a welcome return for Soul Asylum.
‘Silly Things’ stands out from the previously discussed songs in that its musical arrangement is much more reserved. It isn’t the album’s only reserved arrangement, but still maintains its own unique identity. The simplicity of the semi-acoustic work, is its real draw. Audiences get here, Pirner’s vocals alongside a very simple percussion line and equally simple guitar and bass, the whole lending itself to comparisons to so many classic honky-tonk country music from the late 80s and early 90s. That semi-country sensibility couples with the song’s lyrical theme of life and love to make the whole that much more accessible to listeners.
Pirner sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve done a lot of silly things/I’ve found out just what trouble brings/You used to wear my silly ring/While I listened to my ears ring/I’ve done a lot of silly things/I used to think that I was cool/Break each and every rule/Now all the rules are just the same/It’s just a silly game/I used to do a lot of things/And when I fail/I will fail without you/And my mistakes/I’ll always answer to…I’ve done a lot of silly things/I know just what trouble brings/I’ve done a lot of silly things.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I used to like the way you walked/You used to like the way I talked/I used to do a lot of things/I used to think that I could see/I’ve done a lot of silly things/You used to like the way I move/You used to think that I was smooth/And if I ever had a chance/I would ask you out again/I’ve done a lot of stupid things/And when I fail/I will fail without you/I’ve been let down/Lord, so many times/No one to blame/But myself/To keep from getting down/I’ve done a lot of stupid thing/And I know just what trouble brings/I’ve done a lot of silly things.” Here is someone who obviously is at the end of a relationship and is looking back at that relationship, even admitting that perhaps he was the one who has lost, as he notes he would ask out the woman again. The story is furthered in the song’s third and final verse, in which Pirner sings, “When I play/I will play without you/It’s every man and woman for themselves/I feel I’ve learned the hard way/To put you before myself/I’ve done a lot of silly things/I’ve done a lot of stupid s***/I’m still trying to deal with this.” Once again, here listeners have a person who is looking back at a broken relationship, realizing it is his fault that the relationship ended. The thing is that to a point, he wishes he had that second chance. Of course this is nothing new to the music industry, but Pirner and company have delivered a unique take on such a theme, both musically and lyrically here. It is quite the contrast, both musically and lyrically, to the album’s opener, but still is an interesting work nonetheless. When the song is considered along with ‘The Beginning,’ ‘Got It Pretty Good’ and other songs featured in the album, such as ‘Social Butterfly,’ ‘Freezer Burn’ and the album’s lead single ‘If I Told You’ and the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole of this record makes it another work that Soul Asylum’s longtime fans will assuredly enjoy.
Soul Asylum’s 12th full-length studio recording Hurry Up And Wait is another positive offering from the band. That is due to the musical and lyrical content presented throughout the course of its 46-minute run time. All three of the songs examined here do their own share to support that statement. The same can be said of any of the album’s other featured works. From start to finish, the musical arrangements will take listeners back to the 90s while the songs’ lyrical themes will reach plenty of listeners, too. All things considered, the record’s combined musical and lyrical content makes Hurry Up And Wait a record that listeners will agree was worth the “wait.”
Soul Asylum launched a tour in support of the forthcoming record on Feb. 11. The tour is scheduled to run through March 20 in Austin, TX and to feature performances in cities, such as Nashville, TN; Phoenix, AZ and Portland, ME. The tour’s schedule is noted below.
SOUL ASYLUM ON TOUR – Local H supports all dates except where noted:
2/17 – Boston MA – Paradise
2/18 – Portland ME – Port City Music
2/19 – New York NY – Bowery Ballroom
2/21 – Philadelphia PA – TLA
2/22 – Leesburg, VA – Tally Ho Theatre
2/24 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage
2/25 – Nashville, TN – The Cowan
2/26 – Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom
2/28 – Kansas City, MO – The Madrid
2/29 – Colorado Springs, CO – Sunshine Studios Live
3/01 – Denver, CO – The Bluebird
3/03 – Billings, MT – Pub Station
3/05 – Salt Lake City, UT – Metro
3/07 – Reno, NV – Boomtown Casino *
3/08 – San Francisco, CA – Slims
3/11 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
3/13 – San Diego, CA – Belly UP
3/14 – Las Vegas, NV – Silverton Casino *
3/15 – Phoenix, AZ – Marquee
3/16 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine
3/18 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom
3/20 – Austin, TX – SXSW official showcase *
*Local H not appearing on these dates
More information on Soul Asylum’s new album, tour and more is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
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