About two and a half months ago a ray of sunshine sent this goodness my way and asked my opinions on it. The band: City and Colour.
I told said Ray that I would go through their albums and review them. I might have failed a little because all I wanted to hear was Amos Lee at that time and instead of reviewing City and Colour’s work an album at a time, I heard all their offerings.
Also, I had my qualms reviewing it because said glistening beam of light confessed she didn’t know Barenaked Ladies which, to me, would be the Canadian equivalent of listening to American folk music and never hearing of Bob Dylan or Arlo Guthrie.
But since she loves Dylan, and she’s three kinds of awesome, I’m giving them their fair due.
Album: Sometimes from 2005 (2009 in US).
Sometimes is City and Color / Dallas Green’s first offering. It is a merging of their first couple independent albums: The Death of Me & Missing.
The track listings are as follows:
- “…Off by Heart”
- “Like Knives”
- “Hello, I’m in Delaware”
- “Save Your Scissors”
- “In the Water I Am Beautiful”
- “Day Old Hate”
- “Sam Malone”
- “Comin’ Home”
- “Casey’s Song”
- “Sometimes (I Wish)”
Upside of City and Colour’s Sometimes:
To be honest, reviewing Sometimes is liking having to eat your vegetables before getting desert because there is some really good tracks in the upcoming albums and part of me just wants to get to the 2011 album Little Hell, because it’s just a damned good album.
As for Sometimes, there’s some good nuggets in here that I might have otherwise missed because as much as I love the depth and complexities of music, sometimes I’m just a simple fan looking for hooks and riffs for which I could identify. For example, I’m still not sure what Save Your Scissors is about but I like the upbeat tempo the went with and the little walkdown riff they use as the melody. I would have found this song anyway. And there’s a layer of complexity within the lyrics (note: I was already warned about them thanks to the Ray of Sunshine) that catches you like a bruising shot to the ribs from an old lady – unexpected:
Save your strength
Save your wasted time
There’s no way that I want you to be left behind
So, somebody’s getting left behind.
But I don’t know if I would have found I am the Water, I am Beautiful because I’m not one for constant strumming and effeminate voices and maudlin tones because I’m not a 14-year-old girl. Though I went wikipediaing and found out the song was titled after Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House so I kept going. I found out it was about being afraid to tell your love how you feel and being forced to deal with the agony of that decision….and all the other mistakes I made so long ago :-).
Any song titled Sam Malone is going to be awesome. Why? “Cheers!” And “Hello, I’m in Delaware,” had me going, “Schwiiiing!” Those Canucks like to stick together.
Favorite song on Sometimes.
Save Your Scissors: It’s about realizing that you need to move on. And the song has an actually inverse in it so I don’t get dulled by the constant strumming that most of the songs on the album.
Downside of City and Colour’s Sometimes.
“It’s not you, it’s me.” When I think of the use of acoustic guitars, I think more along the lines of using the damned guitar the way it was intended. I’m not a fan of constant 6-string strumming. And if you’re going to do it for me, make the lyircs more about the lessons learned instead of being caught in the moment. And if you’re going to go with 6-string strumming and songs that are caught in the moment, do it in a manly voice. But there’s a niche for it. Like I said, it’s not you; it’s me. And given that the lyrics lived up the Ray of Sunshine’s billing, I can see why this album won the first awards.
Would I Continue to Listen to Sometimes?
Oh, absolutely. Like I said in the beginning, I heard their discography already so I know there’s absolutely beautiful songs coming up that are more my style. And I’ll listen to this, again. But to me, Sometimes is the simplest of their offerings.
Where to Get City and Colour’s Sometimes.
What Do You Think of the Album?
I lied my ass off. They sound like an emo ghost of one of the eleven beaten by Dwayne Hoover. Way to go, Kilgore. Way to go.
They just sound like they need Eddie Vedder to pull the stick out of their ass and they’d be alright again.
And Dallas Green should change his name. There’s only one Dallas Green: he was a great baseball man.
It’s amazing how thick the rose-colored glasses can be when you’re trying to sample the interests of one you’re interested in at the time. Sorry, Ray, but they’re the Schafly of pre-hipster emo: watered-down.