Life in Terms of Music...

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”

-Albert Einstein

I think if we were to really sit down and think about it (and I surely hope we do) we can agree that there is a soundtrack we each have for our lives. I can think back to my adolescence and remember specific moments and even feelings based on the music that played nonstop in my gigantic red Sony Walkman. Romantic crushes-Simple Minds, youthful angst -Dead Kennedys, and the adventures of suburban exploration -Van Halen. All these memories when played back in my head are accompanied by the music of my youth. Music is a unifying language that all people speak, no matter where you go in the world you will find music in one form or another and it not only defines the culture of its origin but it shares the artists’ hopes, dreams, and passions.

So without further ado, here are three new albums that have found there way into my current soundtrack that I think are worth a listen:

  • Artist: The Ravonettes. 
  • Album: Observator

This co-ed Danish indie rock duo (Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo) have crafted, and I don’t use that word lightly, an eclectic album that is both brash and haunting at the same time. At first listen you might be put off by the fact that it sounds like it was recorded in an empty high school gymnasium, but after a few minutes the open and reverberating sound becomes a part of the music itself and adds to the character of the album. Taking turns singing the lead vocals allows you to get to know each of their styles and when their voices join in flowing harmonies in songs like “You Hit Me (I’m Down)” they become more than the sum of their parts. Although many of their lyrics and sound can be dark such as in the second track “Observations”: ‘flowers in the daytime, Lucifer at night...’, there is a strong feeling of innocence and a longing for hope. This album has quickly made its way onto my daily playlist.

Best way to listen: Alone in a comfy chair with a glass of wine, through speakers - avoid earphones as the big empty room sound of the recording clashes when played through your ear buds.

  • Artist: Reel Big Fish. 
  • Album: Candy Coated Fury

Alright, I should start off by saying I have a big, soft, ticklish spot for old school Ska music and very few bands do Ska better then Reel Big Fish (most notably Five Iron Frenzy) and their new album is no exception. Reel Big Fish have been around for years and hit a bit of commercial success back in 1990 with their single “Sell Out” from the album Turn The Radio Off. Now it's 22 years later (holy cow am I really that old?!) and they haven’t missed a beat…pun intended… with their new album Candy Coated Fury. They start off with the same raw, satirical wit that made them one of the genres most notable names with the peppy and innocuously offensive first track “Everyone Else is an A**hole”. Its tongue-in-cheek lyrics: “I try to let love rule, but I feel like such a fool, cause everyone else is an a**hole” demands not to be taken seriously and echoes the frustrated venting of anyone who has ever tried to be the better person - only to be trod upon by someone else’s selfish agenda. As with any album, there are a few misses and some of the lyrics go beyond satire into flat-out whining, but the music that accompanies it is so toe-tapping and finger-snappingly good that you’re willing to look past it. And, if none of this sounds like your cup of tea, at least skip to the last track “The Promise”, a Ska and reggae cover of the classic 1987 hit by When in Rome.

Best way to listen: In a car, with a group of friends, preferably on a long road trip. Or in the shower so no one can see you playing the “air trombone”.

  • Artist: Dave Matthews Band. 
  • Album: Away From the World

This is the Dave Matthews Band’s 8th studio album and the first one since 2009’s Big Whiskey. Without a hiccup they have once again managed to create a slick, poetic and purely Dave Matthews sounding album. All of the songs could be seamlessly slipped into any of their other albums without standing out at all, which is good news for folks who like the sound that made this band so popular to begin with back in 1994. Suffice it to say this is another classic DMB album full of Jazz-infused rock and Matthews signature quick-fire and tempo-hopping lyrics that revolve around the standard themes of romantic love and political-social issues. A couple songs really stand out on Away From the World, the first has to be “Belly Belly Nice” an upbeat and downright bouncy number that is reminiscent of “So much to Say” from Crash with the catchy lyrics that no one but DMB could pull off: “you can’t get too much love, you can feel it in your belly come and get you some.” Then there’s the moving and powerful “Mercy” which is going to have non-profits everywhere fighting for licensing rights to use in their promo videos, and as much as I would love to single out one line of the song to share, it’s almost impossible to pick just one because each line brims with the passion and longing for a positive change in the world; and it’s done almost uncharacteristically by a more kinder, gentler Dave - much different from the slamming, reproachful tone of “Don’t Drink the Water” from Before These Crowded Streets, and yet, is just as persuasive.

Best way to listen: In a dorm room while cramming for finals, or while drinking coffee and reading the morning paper.

***So what are you listening to? Share your soundtrack here in the comments section or on our Facebook page!

-Erik Ewing is a Team Member of The Authenticity Project and Director of the Definition Collective.

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