Blue October - 'I Hope You're Happy' Album Review


Tracklist:

1. Daylight

2. Your Love Is Like A Car Crash

3. I Want To Come Back Home

4. I'll Do Me, You Do You

5. I Hope You're Happy

6. Colors Collide

7. Remission in Cmaj

8. How To Dance In Time

9. King

10. Let Forever Mean Forever

11. All That We Are

12. Further Dive (The House That Dylan Built)

I suppose I should start by saying that Blue October truly mean the world to me. Like many if not all of the fans that the band have accumilated over the years, I owe them a lot. They have been there with me through some of the hardest moments of my life but also some of the happiest. They have very much become a soundtrack for my life.

You see Blue October to so many is so much more than a band, think instead of a family. A family united as one through the beautiful soundscape of a band that wear their hearts on their sleeve. More specifically the heart of the man himself, Justin Furstenfeld. Justin has built the band from the ground up and worked hard over the years to win the hearts of many. With his deeply personal yet ever so relatable lyrics he and the rest of the band have continued to deliver quality album after quality album all whilst dealing with addiction, public break downs, divorce and a custody battle all of which have been on a very open and public forum.

The band have visited the darker sides of the human disposition but now find themselves sitting comfortably on the lighter side of life. The album 'Sway' saw the beginning of the their departure both lyrically and musically from the darker depths of Justin's mind. For me is was a step in the right direction and 'Home' continued that trend.

Now with their new album 'I Hope You're Happy' soon to be reaching its release date, where do the band stand? and are they onto another winner?

Now even though I am the one stating the question above, I find myself struggling to answer. This is Blue October but possibly not as you know them.

In recent years bands have found themselves experimenting with their sound to points that render them almost unrecognisable from the sound that created their following to begin with. Blue October haven't quite reached that point but they're not far off. The change began on 'Home' and whilst notable wasn't jarring enough to distract from the overall 'Blue October' style.

Here though 'I Hope You're Happy' doesn't quite know what it wants to be. Songs like 'Daylight', 'Your Love Is Like A Car Crash', 'I Want To Come Back Home' whilst lyrically on point, musically just don't feel like Blue October songs. It isn't until half way into the album and the self titled lead single kicks in, that I feel like I am reconnecting with my old friends. Though still different in its approach to previous releases that sound that is instantly recognisable is there hidden in its layers. Throughout the rest of the album there are other songs which carry these traits, most notably 'How To Dance In Time' and 'Let Forever Mean Forever' which are Blue October songs through and through.

As I sit here, going through what must be my 7th or 8th listen through, I can't but help feeling disappointed. A feeling I never would of thought I would associate with the band. Then kicks in my inner fan that screams, 'Be thankful they're still here making music, the music that they want to make. And that they're able share it with the world'.

And I suppose isn't that really what it is all about. 'Foiled' is the pinnacle Blue October album for me, because it was the album that welcomed me into the fold. I have heard other fans name other albums as 'the' album. I imagine that 'I Hope You're Happy' might become that album for some and while it won't for me it is still great to see Blue October producing and releasing music and it is by no means a bad album, as there are certainly some stand out tracks on the release. It just doesn't quite feel like the Blue October I know.

So to answer my question, the band are standing proud, continuing on despite the hardships that have befell them over the years. Justin is in a great place and lyrically that continues to show. They're experimenting with their sound and that will work for some and not for others. Is it a great album in my eyes? no. I don't see it as a winner but these are the opinions of one and ultimately the court of public opinion in the end will triumph.

Website - www.blueoctober.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/blueoctober/

Review - Sean Friswell

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