4. Brian Vander Ark – Resurrection
Brian Vander Ark is the lead singer of The Verve Pipe. As you might recall they made the other list, and I like them a lot. Well this album came out, and I listened to it, and I really, really liked it. It’s a bit more mellow than the Verve Pipe albums, stripped down a bit (think “Unplugged”), but still has a number of “rocking” songs. What really struck me was how open and honest the lyrics were. This is not your typical “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” and “Love is great” pop album. These songs have real substance to them… They describe betrayal, remorse, loss, anger, and hope in up front and painfully realistic ways.. You can tell these lyrics aren’t just hypotheticals… Check out these lyrics from And then You Went Away‘Cause there’s a photograph that you had put up on display
Then you went away…and then you went away
And there’s a box of letters that had me thinking you would stay
Then you went away…and then you went away
And there’s a coffee table you said would not be in the way
Then you went away, and then you went away
And in the window garden the leaves are falling in decay
Since you went away…and then you went away
So the songs can be split into a couple of categories: You’ve got your songs about a relationship that ended:
- And then You Went Away – A song about a person who is constantly reminded of the person who left by all the things around the house that used to be “theirs”.
- A Million Things – A song about the end of the relationship, where things are bad, and nothing seems to be getting better, but the singer is trying to hold in the anger/complaints in the hope that they can ride it out… but the other person doesn’t:
There’s a million things i wish you were,
but what’s for sure is one thing i wish you were not
i wish you weren’t the one to leave me stranded
here empty handed with a head full of wishes.
- 1229 Sheffield – A song that goes from the couple meeting, through their relationship, and ends with this very sad line: i can’t make you love me, cause i don’t have the strength anymore.
Then you’ve got your songs about hope and love and freedom and other optimistic things:
- Mileage – In my reading about Brian Vander Ark, it seems that after Freshmen went big, and then fame kinda went away, he was unhappy, obviously, but then eventually decided to just get rid of most of his stuff, and took off on the road to play around the country at gigs here and there. This song strikes me as describing that idea.. that decision. It begins describing the problems and worries that he must have had, and his wish to have done things different, and desire to get away from it.. and as he drives away, those worries disappear behind him:
“Well known” sits in a cloud of dust on this week day
My cell phone is in about a million pieces on the highway
Speed down the highway, rack up the miles (121…122…)
Roll down the window, roll out the miles (123…124…)
And straight down the highway, the road offers no guarantees (1021…1022…)
Drive through the morning, drive into the sun and I’m free (1023…1024…) I really, really like this song.
- Resurrection – Surviving the good and the bad, and returning stronger… from pretty much anything.
- Second Hand – Similar in feel, about someone who is feeling down and discarded, and the promise that they’ll be returned to their proper status.
- To the Front Row Junkies – This song is at the end of the album, and it’s fantastic. It’s a song to the faithful fans who some to see him perform… and how they share something special together.
- Someone Like You – An unabashed love song.
- When I’m Gone – This song doesn’t quite fit in any of the other categories, but it’s neither pessimistic nor optimistic, really. It’s a simple question: Will I be missed when I’m gone. I really like this song as well. It seems to take one of the biggest questions we’re faced with in life “Why am I here, and what am I supposed to be accomplishing with my life?” and whittles it down to that one idea: “When I’m gone, will people miss me?”
- Hollywood Ending – I have to admit, I’m still not quite sure about this song [Not whether I like it or not.. I do like it… but I’m not quite sure what it’s about..] I tend to choose the obvious in this case, and just think it’s about how he used to be rather famous, and now isn’t so much, and there’s no grand Hollywood Ending where everything magically works out, and he’s super famous/ [or successful, yada?] again. It could be some cryptic song about a relationship dying as well, I’m not sure.
- Written and Erased – If you liked Verve Pipe a lot before they became famous (I did) and then were upset with how they were suddenly really big, then instantly tossed away (I was), then this song you’ll prolly like. Here are some clips:
- As soon as something’s popular it’s written and erased
- Where imitation is just limitation in disguise
- Do you wanna be famous, wanna get a taste,
do you wanna be written and erased?
Do you wanna be faded like the scene in a one hit wonder magazine
It’s a good hit. I like the way the songs were written. I give it 5 stars.