Collective Soul – Collective Soul

April 11th, 2010  |  Published in CD Reviews

]Released: August 25th, 2009
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska

Collective Soul is one of those bands that isn’t offensive or good enough to get a lot of attention, but they get enough consideration that they’ve just made their eighth studio album. You have to give these guys credit, they sure are tenacious. Times may have changed since the band formed in 1992, but what hasn’t changed is their sound. While songs such as “Shine” made the band famous and were tough to avoid on local radio, that spark seems to be fading for Collective Soul. The songs are adequate and have the same feel as their older work, but the problem is that sort of music just won’t make people as excited as it used to. If you hadn’t realized that the album came out in August 2009, you aren’t alone. This is a band that has left behind their days of making a splash and instead have quietly taken a place among those aging rock acts now better suited for adult contemporary radio.

“Welcome All Again” initially sounds like it will either be more techno-oriented or generally harder than early Collective Soul. However, just short of the one-minute mark, the song moves into a sound that will be very familiar to those acquainted with Collective Soul’s early catalogue.  The song is pretty standard fare, perhaps a little harder than one might find on adult contemporary radio, but there’s still nothing edgy or remotely dangerous about the track.

“Fuzzy” and “Staring Down” are on the lighter side of things and definitely seem geared towards older listeners. “Fuzzy” does manage to have a bit of an indie feel to it, but “Staring Down,” the album’s first single, verges on being a bit stomach-churning with how light and poppy it is. Similarly, “You” may be a bit too saccharine and light for anyone under the age of 30.

“Understanding” fares a bit better than the rest with a crunchy guitar riff opening and a slightly edgier feel. Despite these changes, it still is just a bit too safe, too restrained for it to be interesting. “Lighten Up” shows the band taking a somewhat different direction with a very different vocal sound (almost channeling Elvis Presley), so much so that the song sounds like it could be a completely different band.

Collective Soul isn’t the most exciting album ever written. Like many, it truly has it’s high and low points. However, much of the success of the album is dependent on who the intended audience is. If the band was gearing it towards those listeners who were around and into the band when songs like “World I Know” came out, then the album may offer some success. If they’re looking to re-emerge in the adolsecent market, it may be time to face the fact that ship has long since sailed.

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