Veteran rock band Collective Soul released its latest album, Vibrating, Friday through Fuzze-Flex Records and in conjunction with its release, launched a nearly two-month long North American tour in support of the album July 30 in Grantville, PA. The tour is set to make its way to Cary, NC Sept. 7 (as a heads up for this critic’s fellow North Carolinians). The album has already produced two singles in the form of ‘All Our Pieces’ and ‘Cut The Cord,’ both of which are engaging and entertaining songs in their own right. They are just two of the notable additions to the record, too. ‘Reason,’ the album’s second entry is also of note. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Rule #1,’ which comes later in the album’s 50-minute run time, is another notable addition to Vibrations. It will be examined a little later. ‘Where Do I Go,’ the record’s finale, is just as much of note as those songs, and as the record’s singles and other tracks. All in all, the overall content featured in this record makes it a record that will appeal just as much to Collective Soul’s established audiences as more casual listeners.
Vibrating, Collective Soul’s latest (its 11th) album, is a presentation that is certain to find appeal among a wide range of audiences. Having come roughly three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Blood, the 10-song record has already shown reason for engagement and entertainment through each of its two singles. They are just a sampling of what makes the record worth hearing. ‘Reason,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another notable addition to the record. The song stands out in part because of its musical arrangement, which is a steady, blues-infused mid-tempo rocker. The stylistic approach taken here what with the sound and feel of the arrangement is something that the band’s established audiences will appreciate. That is because it echoes back to so much of the band’s existing catalog but still somehow manages to remain fresh. Front man/founder Ed Roland’s vocals are just as rich in their simplicity here as in those works, too. The whole makes the song’s musical content reason enough to make this song yet another representative single for the album.
The musical content featured in this song is only one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical content is just as engaging as that musical content. The lyrical content here comes across as being somewhat contemplative in nature. That is of note considering the energy in the song’s musical arrangement. The seeming contemplation comes as Roland sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Sunday school just kicked me out/It’s a Tuesday afternoon/A perfect storm now percolates/With thoughts of new and used/Been chasing after shadows/Chasing what who really knows/Been catching up to nothing/Catching up on TV shows/There’s a reason to explore/There’s a reason to explain/There’s a reason always/So they say/There’s a reason for some lies/There’s a reason for some truth/There’s a reason, babe/For me and you.” Now that final line would seem to hint that this song centers on a relationship, but it is only one line. The bigger picture here, again, comes across as a bigger, more contemplative almost existential commentary. Again, if that is in fact somewhere in the proverbial ballpark, then it is especially interest considering that most contemplative works are far less energetic in their musical arrangements. It makes for that much more interest here. The contemplation continues in the song’s second verse, in which Roland sings, “Head lights beam no/View is clear/It’s a sunny afternoon/The tires they roar and stimulate/My mind’s battered and bruised/Driving in the open/Driving hot to nowhere/Been breaking with my conscience/Been breaking up with joy and fear.” The song returns to its chorus from here. That contemplation, juxtaposed against the energy in the song’s musical arrangement makes for quite the engagement and entertainment. It is certain to get audiences talking, proving further, its engagement and entertainment. It is just one of the many other songs worth examining in this album. ‘Rule #1,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is also of note.
‘Rule #1’ is of note in part because of its musical arrangement. The arrangement here is in direct contrast to that of ‘Reason.’ In the case of this work, it is actually quite contemplative, even with its clear blues-influence. Even with that in note, the band’s familiar 90s rock sound and stylistic approach is just as evident here as in ‘Reason’ and the rest of the album’s entries. The balance of the strings against the more rock-leaning instrumentation makes for its own interest, too. Overall, the musical arrangement featured here gives the composition its own unique identity while still giving audiences something familiar in the sound and style.
Speaking of familiarity, the song’s lyrical theme is just as familiar. In this case, the theme is familiar because it is clearly on the all-too-familiar topic of relationships. This is clear as Roland sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “It’s only love if it hurts/Bow down load/Face in the dirt/Hop that train to God knows where/It’s only love should we change/It’s only love should we choose to stay the same/It’s only love if we feel/It’s only love if we’re real/It’s only real if we cross borders of emotions we know have been lost/It’s only love if we fear happiness as much as the tears.” This is pretty straight forward. This is someone seemingly contemplating if what he or she is feeling is love and not just general feelings. Roland adds in the song’s second verse, “If we’re real down dirty/And life’s still swirling/While God’s out surfing/So we’re left learning to love.” Again, this is that contemplation taking place. When it is considered along with the slightly melancholy mood set through the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes this song stand on its own merits and worth hearing in its own right, too. It is yet one more of the songs that makes Vibrating worth hearing. ‘Where Do I Go,’ the album’s closer, is yet another noteworthy addition to its body.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Where Do I Go’ is interesting because it almost has something of a neo-classic rock approach. It is a composition that is just as unlike the other compositions examined here as they are from each other and from the rest of the album’s other songs. The use of the piano against the guitars and the secondary elements, such as the bells and choral element make the whole such a unique addition that is sure to engage listeners in its own right. Even the use of the strings adds its own touch to the whole that is sure to entertain listeners. Overall, the musical arrangement featured in this song is reason enough to make it stand out. The lyrical content that accompanies the song is of its own interest.
The lyrical theme featured in this song is another work centered on a broken relationship. This is made clear right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, in which Roland sings, “Traveling abroad/Landed here and now/Crawled out to nowhere/To be found/Searched in darkness/Stumbled in the light/Even showed my weakness with my might/Where do I go?/Where do I go without your heart?” The contemplation about that seeming lost love continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Those fast decisions/Some right, some wrong/Caravan keeps moving/Burning on/Driving to the distance/Many miles to roam/All emotions numb/Another show.” Again, what audiences get here is someone mourning that lost love. This is clear. The contemplative mood set through the song’s musical arrangement adds to the impact of these poetic words and make it all the more accessible for audiences. The whole makes the song another notable addition to Vibrations. When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the songs that make up the album’s body, the whole makes Vibrations a record that a wide range of audiences is certain to find worth hearing.
Vibrating, the latest album from Collective Soul, is a largely successful new offering from the veteran rock band. That is proven through its variety of musical arrangements, which themselves are accessible and through its lyrical themes, which will engage listeners in their own right. The songs examined do well to support the noted statements. When they are considered along with the album’s singles and with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes Vibrating a mostly successful new offering from Collective Soul that is worth hearing at least once.
Vibrating is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Collective Soul’s latest news at: