Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Little Slice

Although I write my reviews in exchange for a chance to check out new music and books, I have a friend who reviews plays and music in exchange for pay. As a result, we each tend to get very different albums. We were discussing our current projects the other night, when I mentioned that I was about to review the new Five For Fighting album Slice.

His response? "I'm so sorry."

We have disparate tastes in music, but I will admit that his comment slightly colored my expectations for the album. I'd never heard anything by Five For Fighting before: would I hate their music?

As it turns out, I needn't have worried. Right from the first track (Slice) I was drawn in by the music. In fact, the eponymous track is my favorite song on the album. Slice blends allusions to some of my favorite older songs with references to current culture, and the music perfectly matches this melding.
There was a time a long, long time ago
Chevys and levees played on the radio
No cell phones, just 20,000 lights
Swaying on a saturday night alright

Can you imagine that slice of time
Rock and roll was young
People stood in line
To hear music that played into their lives
That you could carry till the day you die

Hey man sing me a song
When we were everyone
We were more than just a slice of American Pie

Have you read my blog today
300 million little USA's
Your doorstep is just a click away
We'll get together one of these days

One line I read on the Five For Fighting website kept coming to mind as I enjoyed Slice, and I think it sums up the feeling you get from listening to the album:

If every album provides snapshots of where an artist's mind and heart is at the moment, Slice, the latest offering from John Ondrasik (aka Five for Fighting), is a collection of digital jpegs and faded Polaroids.

This description works so well because, throughout Slice, I appreciated the balance between "new" and "old" sounds - many of the tracks evoke older music that I love, but without sounding like a copy. For example, the track Love Can't Change the Weather pays homage to classic R&B music.

If you're interested in the album, there is a moving video of Five For Fighting's Changes on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. John Ondrasik can also be found on Twitter.

Thanks, One2One Network, for sending me this album to review!

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