Courtesy: Fuzze-Flex Records
Veteran rock outfit Collective Soul is back on the road, touring in support of its upcoming album Blood. The band’s 10th full-length studio recording, it is scheduled for release June 21 through Fuzze-Flex Records. The record’s 10-song, 34-minute record is a strong new offering from the band thanks to its diverse musical arrangements and lyrical themes, both of which are easily accessible and radio ready. One of the songs that serves to support that statement comes early in the record’s run in the form of ‘Crushed.’ It will be addressed shortly. ‘Good Place To Start,’ which comes a little more than halfway through the album, is another example of what makes this record a positive effort. It will be discussed a little later. The Wallflowers-esque finale that is ‘Porch Swing’ is yet another example of what makes Blood another interesting effort from Collective Soul and will also be addressed later. Each song is important in its own way to the whole of Blood. When they are considered along with the seven other songs not directly noted here, the whole of Blood becomes a new work from Collective Soul that has plenty of heart.
Collective Soul’s 10th full-length studio recording Blood is another positive effort from the band. It is a collection of songs that shows this band still has plenty of heart. That is proven early on in the form of the song ‘Crushed.’ The song’s musical arrangement plays its own important part in helping to support the noted statement. It is a solid, driving work that puts the talents of drummer Johnny Rabb and the guitar duo of Dean Roland and Jessee Triplett on display. Rabb’s time keeping is seamless throughout the song, which clocks in at just under three minutes. In regards to Rabb’s work, the use of the ghost notes in the verses and the driving floor toms in the choruses couple with the seasoning added through the cymbals to make the percussion its own key addition to the song while Triplett and Roland’s pairing creates an easily accessible rock and roll sound that is sure to become a fan favorite. Bassist Will Turpin and front man Ed Roland add their own touches to the song to form a foundation for the song that makes the song an easy candidate for a single if it is not already a single. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. The song’s lyrical content is just as noteworthy as its musical arrangement.
The lyrical theme at the center of ‘Crushed’ comes across as a statement about a woman who seemingly is a bit stuck on herself. That is inferred as [Ed] Roland sings in the song’s lead verse, “Hey little girl/What you living with?/The 90s rocked, but they came and went/You got some heart/But you need more soul/Yeah, dig down deep ‘til you find that gold.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Hey little girl/What you speaking of?/Life is hard/Yeah, life is tough/What’s this? (attitude)/Back it up slow ‘til you catch that groove.” He adds later in the song’s run, “There’s something in your eyes/There’s something with your lies/Something in your eyes/There’s something with your lies.” This is important to note because he sings alongside his band mates in the song’s chorus, “The whole world is your pain/Who’s to blame/Another lover you drained/You crush once again.” This comes across quite blatantly of a woman needs a bit of a reality check; a drama queen of sorts almost. Considering this seeming message, the edge in the song’s musical arrangement makes more sense. That is because if this critic’s interpretation of the song’s lyrics is right, then the energy in the arrangement serves well to illustrate perhaps the frustration that someone might have with such an individual. Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of ‘Crushed’ becomes its own interesting addition to Blood, and just one example of the importance of the record’s musical and lyrical diversity. ‘Good Place To Start,’ which comes a little later in the record’s run, is another example of the musical and lyrical diversity presented in Blood.
‘Good Place To Start’ is a start contrast to ‘Crushed’ both in terms of its musical and lyrical content. The song’s arrangement is upbeat, but is much more subdued than that of ‘Crushed.’ This work is centered more on a keyboard line performed by Ed Roland. Rabb’s solid time keeping couples with Turpin’s low-end and the guitars of Triplett and Dean Roland to make the song’s arrangement even more interesting. The result of the group’s work here is a song that could fit into any Top 40 radio programmer’s list just as well as that of any rock radio programmer. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. Its seeming social commentary plays into its appeal just as much as its musical arrangement.
The seeming social commentary presented in this song is inferred as Ed Roland sings in the song’s lead verse, “There’s a guy with a gun/He swears he’s the chosen one/I think his pride is swollen with inflammation/We got weed we can’t smoke/But the prescriptions are afloat/My temple can’t take all this inflammation.” The reference of a “chosen one” with a gun seems to hint at David Koresh while the mention of the “weed we can’t smoke” and “prescriptions” seems to address the ongoing debates over the legalization of marijuana and the cost of health care in America. Roland continues in the song’s second verse, “There’s tourists in flux/I think we killed lady luck/Or at least that’s what they say/There’s moments I’m involved/And there’s moments I can’t solve/But I take all these moments day-by-day.” The band in whole joins in during the chorus, singing, “Let’s love where we’ve been/And let’s love where we are/Yeah, that’s a good place to start/A good place to start.” Simply put, the song in whole comes across as a message of appreciating and making the best of our lives because of all the bad that is going on. It is a seeming message that is definitely welcome, especially considering the current sociopolitical state of the world, which, again, Roland seems to be addressing. This is not the first time that any band has ever addressed the state of the world. That goes back decades, obviously. Even despite that, it is still a good new delivery of said message (again, if that is indeed the song’s message). Keeping this in mind, the combination of the song’s lyrical and musical content make ‘Good Place To Start’ yet another positive addition to Blood that shows even more why this new record is another positive effort from Collective Soul. It still is not the last of the songs that most serve to support that statement. The album’s finale is yet another example of the album’s strength.
‘Porch Swing,’ the finale for Collective Soul’s latest LP, is yet another example of the strength of Blood through its musical and lyrical diversity in part because of its musical arrangement. It is even more of a stark contrast for the album’s opener (and the rest of the album’s works) as they are from one another. The bongos, organ and gentle, flowing guitar line join together with the Roland’s own vocal delivery and that of his band mates in the chorus to make the song so similar to the best works from The Wallflowers. That is not a bad thing, either. Again, it is that much more musical contrast and diversity exhibited in the record, showing that much more what makes the album such a strong new offering from the band. Of course the song’s musical side is just one of its sides. The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to its whole.
Roland sings in the song’s lead verse, “Everybody swears/They care/They share/Opinions I don’t want to hear/Everybody lies/They try/To hide/Underneath their social fears/I am made of simple thread/A common man/wanting peace for one and all/I am just a comedy/In life’s symphony/Listening for some resolve/So I won’t mind when you’re gone/No I won’t mind/When you’re gone/I’ll just be here on my porch swing/Rockin’ all day long.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Everybody’s bruised/From news/the views/That work to further their own cause/everybody needs/To bleed/To see/We’re all human after all/I am made of simple thread/A common man/Wanting peace for one and all/I am just a comedy/In life’s symphony/Listening for some resolve/So I won’t mind when you’re gone/No I won’t mind/When you’re gone/I’ll just be here on my porch swing/Rockin’ all day long.” Roland further adds in the song’s third verse, “Let the summer breeze/Cool our knees/Right or wrong/Let tomorrow bring/Love to move us on/Til then I’ll be here on my porch swing/Rockin’ all day long/Till I rock the next song.” This is another song of unity. It preaches a message of coming together and overcoming the division that has so torn our nation (and world) apart. What is really interesting here is the subdued nature in the overall nature of that delivery. This is a message that could have come across as quite strong. Roland and company took another road that, while maybe not less traveled, was still powerful in its subtlety. That subtlety, coupled with the song’s equally subdued musical arrangement, makes the song in whole a work that is certain to become another fan favorite while also proving even more how the diversity in Blood’s musical and lyrical content makes the record such a strong effort from the band. When this song in whole is considered along with the other two songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, that diversity is put on full display. It in turn, shows fully why Blood is another successful effort from Collective Soul.
Collective Soul’s 10th full-length studio recording Blood is a strong, positive new effort from the veteran rock band. That is thanks to the diversity in the record’s musical and lyrical content exhibited throughout the album’s 10 total songs. The songs discussed here are just a sample of that diversity. When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s songs not directly noted here, that diversity is put on full display. The noted display will lead listeners to agree that this record proves Collective Soul still has a certain amount of heart. Blood is scheduled for release June 21. More information on Blood is available online now along with all of Collective Soul’s current tour dates, news and more at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.