24 June 2006

hot off the charts

into the ocean : blue october
click here or on the image below to listen

This song is well on its way to becoming one of the Top 25 most played songs in my iPod. Blue October is a Texas band that has been around for a few years, signing with, being dropped by, and then signing again with a major record label. They finally found commercial success with the release of their latest album, Foiled. The first single, Hate Me, is currently #6 after peaking at #2 in the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks. This is not usually the genre I listen to, but after sampling the CD at a record store, I was immediately hooked. Blue October certainly knows the power of the chorus, making it quite distinct from and more infectious than any other part of the song. Into The Ocean, a song about failing, is a great example. The emotive cry of the chorus is introduced by scratches of electric guitar and a bit of a pause at the tail of the refrain. The tone of voice used is different; the chorus is strong yet desperate, but the rest is near falsetto, effectively effecting weakness without being effete. The best part of the song, however, is the lyrics. The words are very visual – drowning as a metaphor for being left behind – which makes it easy to empathize with vocalist Justin Furstenfeld. I can imagine myself in distress when he sings: I keep looking each direction for a spotlight, give me something, I need something for protection, Maybe flotsam junk will do just fine. These guys are sharp – almost smart. Congratulations is another pop masterpiece in the album. Featuring the breezy backing vocals of Imogen Heap, it is a passive take on the old story of a best friend's betrayal. There is no bitter anger or sarcasm, just a sad surrender to something he no longer has the strength to pursue. I can't change this, I can never take it back, But now I can't change your mind. Furstenfeld easily gets you on his side.

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