I should have posted about this weeks ago, but Waterdeep’s new album Pink & Blue is awesome. I got an advance copy a while back, but I’ve just been too busy to review it until now. I only hope the world will not stop spinning because of my tardiness. God help us all.
Moving on… The album is amazing. Don and Lori continue to astound me with every offering. Whether it’s Don’s weird alt-folk Khrusty Brothers, or their worship stuff on albums like You Are So Good to Me, or their best offer to date (in my opinion) Heart Attack Time Machine, Waterdeep is a band that knows what it’s doing and does a great job of it.
When I heard about Pink & Blue a month or so ago, I was excited. But then when I heard early opinions that the album “rocks harder than anything from the band in recent years,” I got nervous. The soft-spoken acoustic jive of Heart Attack Time Machine seemed to be the perfect direction for the band – why would they get all rock-n-roll on us?
Don’t worry. The feel is a little harder rocking on a few of the songs, but it’s still completely awesome in almost every way.
Pink & Blue is one of those rare albums that I liked instantly. I guess it didn’t hurt that “Life of the Party,” one of the most singable songs I’ve heard in a while, came up right away.
The main idea behind the album is that it consists of 2 EPs: “The Pink CD” containing Lori’s songs and “The Blue CD” containing Don’s. In Don’s own words:
Our last Waterdeep album, Heart Attack Time Machine, had been made during Lori’s pregnancy with Ruby, our daughter and second child. We made the album at home, just the two of us without any other band members. All the “drums” were toys, and almost all the instruments were acoustic. And we were almost done with it when Ruby was born. So we put off the album’s last week worth of work for a long time, spending the next phase of life lost in the sleepless routine common to hard-working parents of an infant and a two-year-old. By the time we finally got back to recording, and released the finished album, Ruby was almost a year old.
Somewhere during that year I read a book about U2 in which they state that one of their band credos has always been, “domesticity is the enemy of rock-n-roll.” I love U2, but I hate that statement. Partly, it’s because I don’t like the idea that rock-n-roll is forever behind me. I love rock-n-roll. Put another dime in the jukebox, baby – that kind of thing. But the other reason I hate that statement is because I think rock-n-roll has been subjected to too many unfair limitations. Born of “rebellion and immorality,” people say that rock-n-roll can’t be spiritual. It can’t be innocent. It can’t be anything but loud and mean. Whatever. The nightly “dance parties” at my house with my wife and two kids, those are rockin’ parties. I defy you to prove otherwise. So, when Lori and I launched into the making of Pink & Blue, we had an itch to scratch, and our toddling children were unconsciuosly pushing us to write stuff that rocked a little harder.
If Heart Attack Time Machine was our just-us-two-in-our-basement-with-acoustic-instruments album, this album is our let’s-have-a-party-and-whoop-it-up album.
Lori’s voice is, as always, perfect. I’ve said it before, but she’s my favorite female vocalist out there. There’s a raw intensity to her voice that lacks some of the “prettiness” you hear among too many top-40 pop singers but has all the bluesy energy you could want.
The writing is creative, interesting, and catchy, as with most Waterdeep albums. I confess I haven’t paid enough attention to the lyrics to tell you what they’re singing about on any of the songs, but I think it’d be a worthwhile endeavor. You should do it. Yeah, you.
Songs on the album range from fun, singable, party songs like “Life of the Party,” “Accidents Happen,” “Okay, Okay, Yeah,” and “You’ll Be Fine” to quieter, more intimate songs like “Oh,” “I Rolled Into New Years’ Eve,” and “My Second Try.” Every song seems to be expertly crafted – lyrics, vocals, melodies, and instrument choices all coordinated perfectly. There’s a lot going on in these songs. Just sit back and take it all in.
Since this is sounding like one of those this-is-the-perfect-album fan reviews, I should offer some negatives. I have only 2 critiques that I can think of. 1) I’d like to hear more of Lori. Don’s got a great voice, and he’s a superb writer and musician, but I really can’t get enough of Lori’s vocals. I love ’em. And 2) some of the songs sound oddly similar, especially the more upbeat ones. Listen to “Life of the Party,” “Accidents Happen,” “Okay, Okay, Yeah,” and “You’ll Be Fine” back to back. Weird, isn’t it? I love all those songs a ton, but there’s a certain feel that pervades all of them.
Hope you enjoy these two songs, which were some of my favorites. If you do, buy the whole album:
Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week