Sound: The songs on "Any Man In America" run the gamut as far as my personal tastes go. There are several songs that I really enjoy and a few that I'm not really feeling. When Blue October announced they were working on a follow up to "Approaching Normal" in mid 2010 I was really excited to hear what they put together. I have since become somewhat soured to the wait, which was over 12 months, and the approximately 3 years between releases. "Any Man In America" mostly makes up for the wait. There is a pretty satisfactory balance of heavier and softer songs on the album.
I like that Blue October seemed to do a lot more with the audio texture on this album, using each song as both a musical and emotional vehicle. The emotional message of the music seemed to have been well thought out and impact-ful. "Any Man In America", while having a continuing lyrical and emotional theme still feels pretty musically diverse and the songs don't become musically motonous. // 7
Lyrics: I'm not a fan of the vocals on a portion of the album. While I really enjoy Justin Furstenfiel's screamed vocals, I'm not a big fan of his regular singing voice something about it is almost a little generic to me. Regardless of that, you have to acknowledge that the lyrics are intensely heartfelt on his part and delivered with passion. I've read that the majority of the lyrics are about Justin's divorce and custody battle for his children and I feel for him. The lyrics remain intensely personal and are hard-hitting, and even the songs that don't exactly move me personally I still respect.
While I don't personally like a lot of the cleaner vocals, they do a great job in creating the appropriate ambience for the theme of each song. I really enjoyed the vocal delivery on the title track, as it seemed to be somewhere between rapping and singing. // 7
Overall Impression: My favorite song on the album would probably be their first single, "The Chills", and my least favorite is "The Feel Again (Stay)". The title track "Any Man In America" is also one of my favorites, mostly due to the lyrical/vocal delivery. I've listened to this album maybe 10 times at this point, and I know I like the album much more than I did after the first listen. I hope that the fact that these songs don't necessarily grab you at first listen (or didn't for me) doesn't affect their album sales too much. From an artistic standpoint, this is a very honest album and that does win through the few slow-moving parts of the album. // 8
- Brandon East (c) 2011