Monday, July 15, 2024

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Collective Soul Offers Audiences One Of 2024’s Best Rock Albums In Its Latest LP

Collective Soul is celebrating a major milestone this year as it marks its 30th anniversary.  In celebration of the occasion, the band is scheduled to kick off an extensive North American tour Thursday in Dallas, TX alongside Hootie and the Blowfish and Edwin McCain.  The tour, dubbed the “Summer Camp With Trucks Tour,” is actually a headlining run for Hootie and the Blowfish and is scheduled to run through Sept. 28 in West Palm Beach, FL. With special guests Barenaked Ladies on select dates.  In addition to being a way for Collective Soul to mark its third decade together, the tour is also in support of Collective Soul’s latest album, the newly released Here To Eternity.  Released May 17 through Fuzze-Flex Records, the 20-song record is a fine way for the band to celebrate its 30th anniversary, too.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike.  One of the strongest examples of how that collective content makes the album successful comes right from the outset of the 69-minute presentation in ‘Mother’s Love.’  This song will be examined shortly.  ‘Who Loves,’ which comes in the record’s second half, is another solid example of how the collective content makes the album work.  It will be addressed a little later.  Even later in the record’s run, the folksy ‘No Man’s Land’ continues to exhibit much the same.  It will also be examined later.  When it is considered along with the other tracks noted here and that trio is considered along the equally diverse likes of ‘Sister And Mary,’ ‘I know You, You Know Me’ and the slightly southern rock style ‘Not The Same’ and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album in whole another step forward for Collective Soul that is also among the best of the year’s top new rock albums overall.

Here To Eternity, the latest album from Collective Soul (the band’s 12th album), is some of the band’s best work to date.  Having come earlier this month less than two years after the band’s then latest album, Vibrating, the record offers listeners so much to appreciate not the least of which being its diverse musical arrangements.  From pop rock to rock to even some southern rock and neo-folk and more, Collective Soul offers so much to like.  The lyrical themes are not as diverse, offering lots and lots of love songs, but still having a little more than that.  One of the moments that exhibits that dual diversity comes right in the album’s opener, ‘Mother’s Love.  In regard to its musical arrangement, the song wastes no time getting things moving.  The gritty, blues-based rock arrangement immediately grabs listeners.  When the song reaches its choruses though, the vibe changes, with the song having more of a poppy sense about it.  The contrast of those vibes and the balance therein makes for such a rich picture.  Add in the production that blends the two sides and the overall richness makes the arrangement all the more immersive.

The two different moods set through the arrangement are clearly intentional when one considers the song’s lyrical theme, which seems to hint at…well…a mother’s love making things always better.  This as front man Ed Roland sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “No tears to cry/No voice to sing/No purpose for you/No reason for me/Guess we’re all misunderstood/Do what we can and what we should/Still, I find above/All my strength from mother’s love.”  That lead verse presents what seems like a sense of frustration, which would explain the heavier sense in the arrangement here.  By contrast, the lighter sense in the chorus, in which the mother figure is praised, makes all the more sense, too.  That contrast continues in the song’s second verse, which finds Roland singing, “No sleep through night/No rest through day/No minutes to talk/No seconds to pray.”  This comes before the chorus’ refrain.  Again, there is that noted sense of frustration and maybe even anger that is countered in the chorus by the reminder of a mother’s love.  That continued back and forth, emotionally speaking, that is enhanced through the song’s arrangement makes that song all the more proof of how much this record has to offer.

The band and album continue to display the album’s positives, musically and lyrically, throughout the album, including in ‘Who Loves.’  Coming late in the album’s run, the song is a notable change of sound and style.  In the case of this song, the steady 4/4/ arrangement harkens back to the pop rock opuses of the 90s that made radio so enjoyable in that bygone era.  Sadly now, radio has become far less enjoyable.  One could easily liken this arrangement to works from other bands that that came up through the ranks alongside Collective Soul in that last great era of rock radio.  It is just that infectious and accessible.

The positive mood set through the song’s catchy, upbeat musical arrangement is fitting in its own right considering the song’s lyrical theme, which is a love song of sorts.  It isn’t one of those sappy saccharine sweet works or one of those cheesy pop love songs, either.  But it is still accessible in its own way.  This is a song about a man who just wants to be with the woman he loves.  This is clear as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Should’ve been a better man/Neither friend nor foe/Now I just wanna hold my girl/And let the love flow/Should have been reality/Or a TV show/Now I just wanna lay my girl/And let the love grow/Who loves?/Who loves?/I tell you/Me and my baby, yeah/That’s who does.”  He continues in ting song’s second verse in similar fashion, realizing he “should’ve been what I could’ve be/I’m growing up to know” before avowing, “Now I just wanna see my girl/and let our love show.”  What is interesting here is that to a point, the lyrical content makes it seem like this is just another breakup song, considering the whole matter of “coulda, shoulda, woulda in the verses.”  But there is something in the general delivery that points to that not being the case.  That is maybe due to the attestation that he and his baby are the ones who love each other and that he knows regardless, he can be better for her.  Either way, if that is indeed the case, it would have been easy for the band to make this song schmaltzy and add in some overly emotional arrangement.  Instead, the band took the higher, more fun road and went in more of a lighter direction.  It’s almost that Stevie Ray Vaughan ‘Pride and Joy’ sort of approach; just something more upbeat and celebratory.  To that end, the love song of sorts here works with its companion musical arrangement to further show how the diversity in the album’s musical and lyrical content makes the record in whole so fun.

One more example of how that overall diversity and the band’s overall approach makes the album so fun comes even later in the record’s run in the form of ‘No Man’s Land.’  The song here stands out in a large way due to its musical arrangement.  The arrangement is a neo-folksy composition that also blends in some rock leaning for a unique whole.  The who is comparable (to a point) to works from Bruce Springsteen while still boasting its own unique identity.  It is reason enough for audiences to hear this addition to the album.

The contemplative, almost mournful sound and style of this arrangement works just as well with its lyrical theme, which is a protest song of sorts.  As with ‘Bob Dyland (Where Are You),’ another of the album’s entries, the protest in question is sociopolitical in nature.  This as Roland sings, “Brothers, sisters, heed/To these words, I believe/We’re living in no man’s land/Listen for the call/For this kingdom surely will fall/Yeah, we’re living in no man’s land.”  This is a direct warning about how bad things have gotten in this world.  As Roland puts it, the world has become a “no man’s land.”  What is interesting here is the cynicism exuded in these words, yet the sense of the song’s arrangement is more mournful and subdued than the angry sense that it could have been.  That consideration makes for all the more interest here.  The commentary continues in the song’s second verse with Roland singing, “Every time our heart beats/Every breath we do breathe/We’re living in no man’s land/This life dulls away/Like a rusting razor blade/’Cause we’re living in no man’s land.”  Roland closes the song in quite cynical fashion, singing, “Jesus prayed a lot/Though he too soon forgot/He was living in no man’s land.”  That is a pretty strong statement.  Again considering everything here it would have been so easy for the band to go a much heavier musical route, but going the route it went, it makes for just as much emotional punch.  Keeping this in mind along with the overall content of the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Here To Eternity stand out that much more among its fellow rock counterparts.  It makes the album in whole easily a solid new offering from Collective Soul that is among the best of this year’s new rock albums.

Here To Eternity, the 12th new album from Collective Soul, is a strong new offering from the veteran rock outfit.  Its success is due to the diversity mainly in its musical arrangements.  The arrangements offer a little bit of so much, from pop rock to regular guitar rock, to even some southern rock and folk rock.  The lyrical themes are own rightless diverse but still diverse in their own right, touching on other material, too.  All three of the songs examined here make that clear.  When they are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall a welcome new offering from Collective Soul that will appeal widely among audiences.

Here To Eternity is available now through Fuzze-Flex Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

More information on Collective Soul’s new album and forthcoming tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: