1. Intro (Ngi Ne Themba) [6/10]
I despise intros, and interludes. They don't have a purpose usually. This one however sets up the next song perfectly. For the record "Ngi Ne Themba" translates to I find hope.
2. Great Divide [7/10]
Right off the back these guy are really showing off their maturity by not opening with a cheesy pop number, but with a purely inspirational song. Their voices have really grown and it proves to hold up in this beautiful song. It use the phrase "Ngi Ne Themba" in a strange chorus like effect that I have never seen in pop music before, I hope that more bands start to use this type of style.
3. Been There Before [8/10]
By now when listening to this album you'll wonder where the pop songs are but you won't mind their disappearance. These guys can really sing. Fans of John Mayer are going to like this song a lot. An overall great uptempo song.
4. Georgia [7/10]
I viewed this track as a soulful rock homage to Ray Charles' Georgia but with a twist. Georgia is an actual who the boys can't keep their minds off. This song would have made a great radio single for the band. There's not much modern music I can compare this song to which is a good thing, it shows this band is out for being one of the flock.
5. Watch Over Me [6/10]
I guess this would be the first dud on the album for me. It's not so much that the song isn't good it's placement on the album ruins the song. If it was later on the track list it would blend better. But it starts too slowly to be placed right after one of the best uptempo songs on the album. Despite the setbacks it's another great song no doubt. However the chorus is a bit repetitive and annoying. They were almost in danger of going back into MMMBOP mode until I heard the vocals at about 2:50, nice little breakdown.
6. Running Man [7/10]
The boys say this is a party track, I disagree. It's too good for parties, drunk people can't appreciate this song. It's got a bit of a Maroon 5 vibe to it, I don't know who the band's influences are but if Maroon 5 is one of them their inspiration is very apparent in this cut. Another great thing about this cut is the mixup of vocals, it's unlike anything else you've heard from Hanson before. The backing track is similar to one of the songs you always hear playing in those 60s themed restaurant's , to be more specific it sounds like a Beatles track.
7. Go [9/10]
Yes that's a high score, yes this is really Hanson, and YES they deserve it. This sounds like a track from Coldplay or The Fray. It's got a great melody and the vocals are beautiful. This could easily be the soundtrack to the next summer blockbuster love story movie, Mandy Moore is calling Hanson as I write this.
8. Fire On The Mountain [6/10]
Another Coldplay like track. This one doesn't work as well for the boys though, it comes off sounding like on of those songs recorded for the use on a insurance or herpes commercial.
9. One More [5/10]
I consider this the worst track off the album, everything they had built on was lost with this track. It's a beautiful sounding song but the lyrical content means nothing in my opinion. It's probably one of those songs that come out of a jam session, which isn't so bad since one thing the song doesn't lack is soul.
10.Blue Sky [9/10]
Great song for this album. I love the mini-choir in the background. Great inspirational song.
11.Tearing It Down [10/10]
I love this song, no one is going to believe me but this song is a lot like Fall Out boy, it even sounds like Patrick Stump is lending some background vocals on the chorus. It works great.
12.Something Going Round [7/10]
A great track. I love tracks that start off on a slump and work uphill the whole song. This song has some great melody and again the band showcases some very smooth vocals, and some aggressive one as well. Listen hard to the background for more of those Stump influenced vocals.
13.Your Illusion [10/10]
Another great song, I can't even describe it.
14.The Walk [4/10]
It's not a bad song, it's a boring song and no album no matter how well written a song is needs boring songs.
15.In A way [7/10]
I'm starting to think they put the worst songs last. This one doesn't sound so bad compared to the last one, but this song is just weird. Somehow razors in a bathtub lead to great escapes but it makes sense if you're suicidal I guess. Sadly for Hanson I doubt any of their fan base is interested in songs about suicide and death. The overall message of this song is great though if you take the time to appreciate it. And it's a well written song as well.
16.I Am [7/10]
I wish the closing track was more of a ballad but I can work with what is given. It's not too great of a song but the lyrical content makes up for what it lacks vocally and musically.
Final Verdict - [8/10]
When I said I was only providing unbiased reviews I meant it. When I got the request for this album to be reviewed I jumped on it, not because I am a fan of Hanson but because I always knew these guys could grow into their own skins without the pressure of a label on their backs. Being released from Island Def Jam is probably the best thing for these guys. They finally have the freedom to record songs they want and the way they want. These songs aren't marketable, they aren't too many radio friendly tracks on this album but that's what should make you run out to buy it. The fact that you're not going to hear anything like this on the radio should be reason enough to get your hands on one of the most mature albums on the market right now.
I won't be leaking this album for a number of reason.
- It's an independent release.
- It's very cheap in stores.
- While horrible Rap, R&B, and Pop stars are making millions of endorsements and making ringtone friendly songs, Hanson is staying true to what they love. Music. As a result they were dropped from their label and most likely lost some money, they deserve everything that comes fromt his album.
- It's such a good album you really should just buy it.