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Blue October - Approaching Normal

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Justin Furstenfeld - Vocals, Guitar

Jeremy Furstenfeld - Drums, Percussion

Ryan Delahoussaye - Violin, Mandolin, Keyboard, Vocals

C.B. Hudson - Guitar, Vocals

Matt Noveskey - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals

             

Blue October is a rock band originally from Houston, Texas. The band was formed in 1995 by brothers Justin and Jeremy as well as Ryan. They were joined by C.B., and Matt shortly after. Managed by the brother’s parents they released their first offering The Answers. They started to gain label attention and was signed to Universal Republic for the second release Consent to Treatment. In 2003 they released History for Sale and then in 2006 their first platinum album was released titled Foiled. The next installment for the Blue October guys comes 3 years after that platinum album dropped. Approaching Normal hit stores in March of 2009, being released from Universal Motown. The album opens with “Weight of the World” which features a very odd, but attention grabbing beginning. It then explodes just for a moment of time as Justin lets everything out that is weighing him down. “Say It” is more of a song than the opening track. The vocals lead the way down the path with a drum beat the skips along. The guitars get into the groove during the chorus and the transition back to the verse. Justin rambles a bit as well as using the stutter tactic. It’s catchy as hell and fans should enjoy this song. “Dirt Room” which is the lead single from the album spins off the record third. It opens with a guitar opening the gates for Justin to come in and give everything he has. This track has a lot to offer fans. The steady drums provide the base for the track throughout the track as the guitars are present through the entire track, but flair up during the chorus. The vocals are very nice, gliding through the song and the present of the violin spices the track up a bit. “Been Down” gave me a sense of deja-vu and I racked my brain about it and couldn’t come up with anything. The track is a slower one with a driving drum beat the lead the track along with very clear vocals. The guitars and piano don’t have huge parts in the track, but glimpses. I think a lot of fans of Blue October will love this track. “My Never” is a very slow track with emotion pouring out of Justin’s vocals. The lyrics are the focal point of this track as you just close your eyes and take in the track with your full attention. “Should Be Loved” gets back to the upbeat pop style of music with a big piano presents, steady drums and good guitars. It almost seems like they have an orchestra behind them during different types as well as adding in some electronics. “Kangaroo Cry” is the longest track on the album stretching nearly 5 minutes. It features some more great vocals and lyrics. The smooth music has its starring moments, but a bit more flair is needed in this track. “Picking Up Pieces” begins with a soft piano opens the door to Justin and his vocals. The track has a great beat and even better lyrics. It’s amazing how well the words flow from Justin’s mouth sometimes singing and sometimes just talking at a perfect pitch. “Jump Rope” has a funky sound to it with a cool violin section and some bongo sounding drums. The vocals go right with the both of those and the chorus is super catchy. I don’t think that there is a point to the track, but sometimes those are the best kind. The kids at the end add some zip to it too. “Blue Skies” has a great punk pop sound with a great big catchy style that can be loved by all fans. The keys add a sweet effect to that track and when they were played by along the guitar it has a killer sound. The track reminds me a bit of some stuff off The Black Parade from My Chemical Romance. I think you will hear that too. “Blue Does” is a slow track that I’m not too fond of. It just doesn’t speak to me, but the end track “The End” gets your attention right from the get go. It has dark sounding guitars, short struck drums and dark vocals. It ends the album perfect with a sick and twisted sounding track. Justin seems like his is going to go nuts in certain times during track as he gives everything he has to really sell the short lived aggression. Overall this is a pretty cool album. It’s not your typical record with all the cookie cutter tracks and/or the mainstream albums that are used just to sell records. Some music you can tell isn’t something that the artist(s) is getting to write as he/she feels, but rather what is going to make the most money. This album lets Blue October write what they want and feel. It’s a unique album that may take a couple times listening to, to fully appreciate the album. The writing on this album is one of the better once this year.

 

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

My favorite tracks:

Dirt Room, Picking Up Pieces, The End

 

Track List:

1.            Weight of the World

2.            Say It

3.            Dirt Room

4.            Been Down

5.            My Never

6.            Should Be Loved

7.            Kangaroo Cry

8.            Picking Up Pieces

9.            Jump Rope

10.        Blue Skies

11.        Blue Does

12.        The End

 

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