Sound — 5
The first thing that you notice when you dive into Uplifter is that Tim Mahoney brought out his A game on this one. His solos are beautifully done and have so much emotion and feeling to them. Don't get me wrong Mahoney has always been an amazing guitarist, its just that in previous albums Mahoney sticks to playing single note solos or very fast speed licks that feel rushed and sloppy. In Uplifter you can tell Mahoney has a much greater control and feel over his speed which results in more consistent notes and better sounding solos. P-nut is no slouch either and returns full force with the pounding bass we all know and love and some amazing riffs. Now lets take a look at this album track by track to get a real feel for it. 01.Hey You: the CD starts off with its hit single "Hey You" and right off the bat I'm not impressed. The song sounds like something recycled off "Don't Tread on Me." The Riffs are boring and nothing new sounding is present. 02.Its Alright: the title for this song is something that you can use to describe the entire album of Uplifter. With that said Its Alright starts off promising with a catchy verse and beat that builds up to a very bland and disappointing chorus. The chorus feels out of place and the chords used here are disappointing and mediocre. The only thing that will make you want to re-listen to this track is P-nuts amazing solo/outro at the end of the song. The bass is so funky and popping you can't help but put a smile on your face. Its like a happy ending to a horrible massage. 03.Mix It Up: it's catchy at certain parts but at the end of the day the song starts to drag on and become boring. The main verse riff is horrible and uninspiring. The only thing that you look forward to in this song is when Nick sings these lines: "I was never too good at math anyway But when you add it up it comes out more I have to say A lot of people looking for what you and me have found And now it seems no one's around, uh" Nicks voice sounds very nice here and catchy. Then again this is the only part of the song that changes up the boring pace. 04.Golden Sunlight: this song has to be one of my favorites off the new album. Its very mellow in the beginning and has this sound that makes you feel like your on beach with fresh sea wind blowing in your face. The chorus is very powerful with strong distorted chords ringing in. The song kicks it up a notch in the end and will have you head banging with a groovy bass and guitar bridge. 05.India Ink: this song is incredibly mediocre. Very lame verse chords but an interesting sound for the chorus. There isn't much more I can really say about this song. 06.Daisy Cutter: I have mixed feelings when it comes to this song. I love the beginning and the verse but the chorus riff feels out of place and the cheesy chorus lyrics kinda ruins the song in my opinion. There is a catchy guitar solo and lick towards the end that I wish was present in the beginning. 07. Too Much Too Fast: This is easily the worst song off the entire album. Words cant even really explain how bad it sucks its like some retro island jam that just doesn't really come together at all. 08.Never Ending Summer: another one of my favorites off the album. The song begins with a cool heavy crowd chant intro. Its a good jam for the most part. The chorus, like most on this album, is a big let down and very lame. A cool bass outro by P-nut is followed by one of Tim Mahoney's greatest solos ever "Or at least greatest on Uplifter." 09.Two Drops In The Ocean: a very poor attempt at trying to make you feel like your on a Caribbean cruise. Its 311 trying to be groovy and romantic and some guy will probably try to make out with his girlfriend to this song. This track is really not my cup of tea. Where previous 311 songs like "Amber" nail the romantic at sea mood this song falls flat on its face. 10.Something Out Of Nothing: the only other song that I like off Uplifter. The verse is hard and you can jump and head bang to it so that's a positive. It feels like the song should be on an older 311 album like "From Chaos." Its hard vibe reminds me of "Sick Tight." The chorus is very similar to Never Ending Summer. Nick even sings almost identical. 11.Jackpot: a good jam to rock out to. Sounds similar to "Hive" and something that should be on the blue self titled album. The only song on the album that really feels attached to 311's roots. Its not flawless but its close. 12.My Heart Sings: a really chill track. The kinda song you could play while sitting out on the porch as the sunsets while enjoying a smoke and a cold one. Its not amazing but its not horrible either. Its about one step above average. All in all Mahoney's head busting solo's and P-nuts funky/forceful bass sound great. However the sound falls short with some lackluster riffs, uninspiring choruses, and just flat boring songs. The solos are not enough to uplift Uplifter from the 5 that it is.
Lyrics — 4
311 has always had a reputation for cheesy lyrics. With old school classics like "Off beat bare ass""Transistor" and the super cheese lyrics of "Other side of things" this album is no different. I love 311 and their cheezyness but I have to say that I felt that some really good songs were ruined by the lyrics. In particular the song Daisy Cutter starts off with great lyrics and a great beat but then gets slaughtered when the chorus comes in with: "My daisy you make me go crazy Forever amaze me Now let's let the day go lazy My daisy you know what im after Your musical laughter A more beautiful disaster" The first track and hit single off the album "Hey You" has very horrible lyrics. The song is about how the power of music saved 311 from drugs but the execution of the song along with the lyrics makes it feel like an anti-drug anthem for middle school kids then the actually powerful "uplifting" song that it should be. The track "Two Drops In The Ocean" has very romantic lyrics. They are well done but once again not my cup of tea. The lyrics on this album are a new low of cheezy that I did not think that 311 could reach.
Overall Impression — 5
If you are a hardcore fan of 311 like me you will probably pick this album up. Its not that great but it has the uncanny ability of getting better "acceptable" with each listen. It has some really great ideas but compared to other albums its just a disaster. It tries to stretch in different musical directions all at once but cant seem to pull it off. I almost was going to give the album a better rating because of its ability of getting better with each listen but then I put in "Don't tread on me" and actually found myself enjoying it more then Uplifter. If you get the album burn the few songs you like onto your computer and then put it with the rest of your CD collection and get ready to watch it collect dust. 311 fans are just going to have to wait for something else to replace "Grassroots" in their car.