18 March, 2008

Delicious Piano

Coincidences seem to pile up in my life, and I have quite a few friends who would say that they aren't coincidences. I tend to buy into the idea that the energy you create pushes situations and people towards you. It sounds kind of corny, right? Well, listen to the second part: I also think that if you think about someone and that person is tied to a strong emotion, they can feel it. Haven't you ever wondered why you won't think of a friend for years, and then suddenly you'll start thinking of them again and you happen to run into them or hear about them? This is not just a random event.

Well, lo and behold, I woke up this morning pretty sniffly for a number of reasons, opened my iTunes folder, and voila: Goodbye Blues by the Hush Sound was the first album that caught my attention. I didn't even notice the title until after I had previewed almost all of the tracks. Spooky!

First things first, you can say what you want about trashy Pete Wentz and his Fall Out Boys, but I happen to be a bit of a closet fan and I find nothing wrong with unabashed emo music. Fueled By Ramen is only tangentially connected to Wentz through his imprint, Decaydance Records. Therefore, the Hush Sound is practically separated by six degrees from Fall Out Boy, and what you hear on their latest album sounds like it could be separated by entire continents.

Goodbye Blues does something pretty stellar. The album succeeds in finding that piano-pop niche that made the other Hush Sound albums so much fun, but also breaks out of the mold a bit with a stronger sound and a little musical stretching. This time, the third time is charming and this album is the perfect peppy punch to soundtrack a rough goodbye.

"Intro" winds and whispers away behind the piano, but is followed by "Honey", a jangley tune that sets the send-off mood for the rest of the album. "Medicine Man" rumbles, but then breaks into pop hallelujahs during the chorus. Greta Salpeter, the main voice of the Hush Sound, sings "I don't just want to be your regret" and you feel exactly where she's coming from. Her voice lacks any bitterness, in fact it is just bursting with full-bodied sweetness. "The Boys Are Too Refined" combines lo-fi guitar wailing with a piano roll that makes the song sound a bit chaotic, but the Hush Sound are back on top with "Hurricane", a lullaby to weather systems that are sexy and dangerous. "As You Cry" sounds like it should be an unbearably sad Dashboard Confessional breakup song, but actually it patterns itself after the Beatles' early music, and uses heavy melodies to channel regret rather than whiney vocals.

"Six" is the mid-album piano interlude, and then the album begins again with "Molasses" (I wonder if that was planned, that the counterpart to "Honey" on the second half of the album is called "Molasses"?). "That's Okay" is gentle and lolling, and makes me wish that I owned this album right now. "Not Your Concern" follows with super-powered boy rock, and '80s-esque percussion precision (the precision was in the drum machines back then, I know). The final three songs keep up the energy, but the best of the bunch is the grand finale: "Break the Sky". It sticks to the same simple formula as the rest of the album, showcase the melodies and the strength of Greta's voice while delivering a swift punch to the stomach with the too-true lyrics.

Goodbye Blues is a great album, and one that should have any broken-hearted individual whistling along in no time. There's very little negativity, and - in fact - a deep positivity that strengthens your resolve to move on towards the next big adventure and off down the highway of life.

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