For My Friends review by Blind Melon

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  • Released: Apr 22, 2008
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (29 votes)
Blind Melon: For My Friends
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Sound — 8
For a lot of Top 40 radio listeners out there, Blind Melon will probably be that band with a video featuring a girl in a bee suit. It's hard to argue that the bee video, otherwise known as No Rain, gave the band it's lasting place in music history, but those of us who delved deeper found a much more adventurous, creative band lurking underneath. While it seemed that the band was done for good when vocalist Shannon Hoon passed away in 1995 of a cocaine overdose, the remaining members have decided to carry on under the Blind Melon name and it's not quite as blasphemous as it appears. Replacing Hoon on the new album For My Friends is Travis Warren, who sounds uncannily like the original frontman and does successfully create a sense of nostalgia. All ears are obviously on Warren, who proves that he's very nearly the second coming of Hoon from the opening title track. In terms of tone and phrasing, Warren is right on the money. For such a tough task, he does a solid job of recreating the sound of the 90's Blind Melon. Of course, it's impossible to imitate the charisma of Hoon, who just had a natural wit and sense of abandon that came across in every track. While Warren is playing it relatively safe in the way he sings at this point, he should still satisfy most fans, particularly when he puts his whole heart into songs like Hypnotized and Last Laugh. The original members (guitarists Christopher Thorn and Rogers Stevens, bassist Brad Smith, and drummer Glen Graham) pick up exactly where they left off, creating layers upon layers of engaging instrumentation. Thorn and Stevens delivers some of their most impressive work in Last Laugh, which starts out with the same down-home, acoustic vibe that was so prevalent on the Soup album. While they could have sustained the mood in that intro a little longer, there's still a big payoff in the ending with a crescendo of electric work. For My Friends feels much more like the band's self-titled debut than Soup, primarily for the fact there are more possibilities for singles. While I actually prefer Soup's darker sound and unusual, eerie harmonies, it's very possible that the No Rain devotees should find the newest album a very promising step for Blind Melon. You won't get anything like the haunting Mouthful of Cavities or the oddly wonderful Skinned, though, and it's that gustiness that is the main thing that is lacking. There are plenty of highlights, however, including the Beatles-esque Down On The Pharmacy and the organ-driven Sometimes.

Lyrics — 9
Blind Melon always liked to state that the songs were written as one, and For My Friends follows in that tradition. It's hard to say who had the heaviest hand in the lyrical portion, but the album delivers the same colorful vibe heard in earlier recordings. The title track is the perfect example with lyrics like, I remember we used to sit out back and drink until the morning light; Always bummin' smokes and talking trash about the pleasure we had; Summers come and gone; And the winter needs a song. The description of down-home was used earlier in the review, but it's that kind of feel that comes across in several songs.

Overall Impression — 8
Warren has a tough task ahead of him in terms of convincing die-hard Blind Melon fans that he can carry the torch, but he honestly is probably the best choice for the job. His vocal style comes very close to Hoon's, although it's obvious he's still playing it fairly safe. But all in all, For My Friends is a surprising victory for a band that almost seemed like a memory. The musicality has stayed as strong as ever, with ample solo work throughout. While they did take a step back from the darker side they showed on Soup, the 13 new tracks still have plenty of memorable moments that - and a few that deserve to have the same attention as No Rain.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Melonhead2
    1st? Blind Melon is fantastic. I've heard a couple of singles off this album and there pretty damn good. I think now I'll have to buy the whole thing.
    nipplezthemouse
    i was listening to galxie by blind melon just as i clicked on the home page of UG, the new blind melon is great but as everyone says it cant be the same feel as the shannon hoon days.
    Hexagram
    I was just looking into Blind Melon and Hoon's untimely death just yesterday and then I come to the homepage to see the review for this album. Maybe I will be looking more into this band
    shwilly
    Yeah, well I think Warren's great because he's able to sing their old songs live. And judging from some recent bootlegs I've heard he's doing a great job. And he doesn't sound like a complete ripoff either! I'm gonna buy this record as soon as I find it, even if I still haven't heard one single. Who knows it might suck, but these guys have earned my support and I hope they receive the attention they deserve because I alawys considered their breakup to be a complete waste of talent. Hail BM
    mavtx41
    Shannon Hoon can't be replaced but I will still buy the ablbum cause I love the band.
    sardonicgoat
    i absolutley love this band. i am a sucker for good musicianship and these guys had it in spades. Hoon had the perfect voice for the music they played. If he never died i truly believe we'd be talkin about these guys as one of the greatest bands of all time!! having said that i'm anxious to hear the new guy. Hoon's voice is one of those that could never truly be emulated but if the guy is good then the guy is good.
    melonhead1784
    Amazing band! Travis does the old songs justice without stepping on any toes and the new songs deliver as well. I hope to see many more years and albums to come from these guys. Definitely a fresh sound compared to everything else on the radio!
    mousepad2
    travis has cemented himself as a god, fantastic voice, and he does phenomenal on old songs when they do them live. cheetum street is in that pinnacle of melon songs that includes mouthful of cavities and soul one, by the way
    rollingstones
    OMG. I love this album. Every song on it is gold. I defiently think Travis has doen an excellent job considering whos soes he has to fill. No one can replace Hoon but this guy does him justice. Just listen tohis voice on father time, it mezmerises me every time i hear it. It is now like one of my all time favourite songs.
    metal@hart11
    a video of the new singer and the band singing one of the new songs, for my friends, acoustic. AMAZING!!!!! you have to give this guy props. i have seen blind melon twice live with the new singer and he sings all the classics perfect. and this video is proof that even the new stuff will be classics in a few years
    Savage Animal
    holy shit that youtube video is incredible! this is a class band who sound great. i think most fans were worried the new singer would just be a cheap Hoon imitation, but he is actually a great replacement. cant believe this album isnt at least a 9
    guitar00000
    I saw them in Seattle, it was awesome. I'm a big fan of Blind Melon, and I was worried like everyone else that the new singer would blow. He sounded great and they did all of the old songs that I liked. I was bummed when they played "No Rain", he would only sing the first word of each line then let the crowd finish them, which was kindda cool, but after hearing him pull off all the other songs, I really wanted to hear him sing that one. oh well. It was still a great show.