|Anthony Green - 2012 - Beautiful Things|
|Anthony Green - 2012 - Beautiful Things|
Alternative rock/indie rock from USA, latest full-length album released in 2012.|
For whatever reason, honesty is surprisingly difficult to come by in modern music. Songwriters agonize over their lyrics, either trying to cloud them with difficult metaphors to hide their personal relevance or dumbing their emotions down to try and appeal to the broadest possible audience. Anthony Green is no stranger to the former; the first two Circa Survive albums are loaded with his esoteric musings. But a series of life events--his marriage, his first child, his newfound independence from mental-health medication--have altered his songwriting style for the better (and hopefully permanently). Beautiful Things, his second solo album, is a perfect representation of who Green is as a person now, and it pulls no punches as he wrestles with the joy, pain and struggle of growing up without necessarily growing old.
Recorded with Green's longtime friends and backing band Good Old War, Beautiful Things doesn't veer too far stylistically from 2008's Avalon. Tracks run from folksy and fragile ("Do It Right," "Lullaby" ) to angular and aggressive ("If I Don't Sing," "Can't Have It All At Once" ). Green recruits some friends to add their talents to the proceedings, too: Circa bandmate Colin Frangicetto sings along with Green on "How It Goes;" Canadian electro-popper LIGHTS shows up on "Just To Feel Alive"; Maps And Atlases' guitar virtuoso Dave Davison adds some extra licks to first single "Get Yours While You Can"; and Ida Maria duets with Green on the fiesty rock 'n' roll number "Can't Be Satisfied," available as a bonus track. But Green and Good Old War don't really need the help; they're adept at everything from improvised a cappella numbers ("Do It Right" ) to electro-dub ("When I'm On Pills" ). Frankly, one of Beautiful Things' few faults is the lack of more Good Old War; their impeccable vocal harmonies only creep up on a few tracks.
Really, though, the music is just a backdrop for Green to share his innermost thoughts, from his realization that "I'll always be unhappy if I don't sing" ("If I Don't Sing" ) to the self-reminder to "get your life together" ("Do It Right" ) to the numerous tracks written for and dedicated to his one-year-old son, James ("Love You No Matter What," "Lullaby" and the most poignant, "James' Song, which finds Green singing, "He laughs at everything/Unknowing the joy that he brings/There is this light in his eyes/So bright no one can deny." ) It's inspiring to see someone who has publicly struggled with so much throughout the past decade finally get to the point where he finds his true meaning and fearlessly explores it, no matter who may be listening. Green finds time to deviate from this opening of his diary with "Blood Song." Inspired by the 2007 film There Will Be Blood, the track tells the story of the wife of an oil rigger who dies in an onsite explosion (seen in the movie). It's an odd place from which to draw inspiration, but it works surprisingly well lyrically. Unfortunately, the song suffers from a bouncy, faux-country arrangement that comes across as hokey instead of sincere.
Still, the amount of truly magical moments on Beautiful Things significantly outweigh any missteps along the way, making this an incredibly strong entry in Anthony Green's catalog--and one of the most honest albums we've heard in quite some time.
Anthony Green At MySpace
Anthony Green has always had a hyper, if not eccentric, sense of honesty and sincerity to him. Whether it was a personal highlight or lowlight, it has always been present in his various forms of musical output, even if it would come across in the vaguest of metaphors. But that was before marriage, before he turned his life around, before he had his first child. Now armed with the realest of real life experiences, Green has unveiled his most personal collection of tracks yet on his second solo effort, the appropriately titled Beautiful Things.
Green doesn't shy away from anything throughout the album's thirteen tracks. He doesn't mind revealing details about his personal life or his family (the nearly naked woman that graces the cover of Beautiful Things is his wife), which is crucial since it's those topics that generate the intense passion behind each track. The first two tracks on Beautiful Things seem to be reminders of what he needs to do to continue the positivity in his life. The sizzling opener "If I Don't Sing” has Green's vocals soaring over a brash alt-country tempo. It also doesn't hurt when your backing band is the fellas from Good Old War, who all join in on the very fun a cappella track "Do It Right.” Good Old War isn't the only friend who joins Green on Beautiful Things. Circa Survive bandmate Colin Frangicetto offers some vocal back-up on the folky "How It Goes,” while LIGHTS adds a subtle harmony to the up-beat jam "Just To Feel Alive” (the album's bonus tracks feature contributions from Ida Maria, Chino Moreno, and Nate Ruess; make sure to seek these out).
Musically, Beautiful Things has something for everyone. Good Old War drummer Tim Arnold gives each track some great grooves and rhythms, while Maps And Atlases' guitarist Dave Davison lays down some delicious riffs on "Get Yours While You Can.” Green mellows out on the sleepy synth of "When I'm On Pills,” while toe-tapping "Blood Song” draws its narrative from the film There Will Be Blood.
With the flow of the album fluctuating from one genre to the next, Green's smooth croon remains the one constant on Beautiful Things. His voice adds an extra layer of warmth to tracks like the chaotic "Moon Song” and the twangy "Big Mistake.” The sweetest of moments emerge during the songs dedicated to his first born song, James. There's a tenderness in Green's vocals that really impacts the gentle "James' Song,” as well as on the closing track "Lullaby.”
There's a certain nakedness to this album that makes it so endearing. The sincerity displayed by Green throughout just makes it very easy for any listener to be fully transfixed by Beautiful Things. Green's second solo effort is a huge step up from 2008's Avalon, showcasing a versatility and cohesiveness its predecessor lacked. Fans have always had a secondhand look into the mind and pathos of the Circa Survive front man, but with Beautiful Things things don't seem so bleak anymore, as we've been invited in to share the new found joy in Anthony Green's life.
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