Sound — 7
bush was originally formed in 1992, and became internationally famous in 1994 with the release of their debut album, "Sixteen Stone," which featured such mainstays of MTV as "Everything Zen," "Comedown," "Glycerine" and "Machinehead." The band's next album, "Razorblade Suitcase" didn't do anywhere near as well as their debut effort. The band's third release, "The Science of Things," seemed to almost bring the band back to the level of success they were chasing with the single "The Chemicals Between Us." The band went on hiatus after their fourth album, "Golden State," was their poorest selling release to date. The band reformed in 2010, though Nigel Pulsford (founding lead guitarist) and Dave Parsons (founding bass player) both opted not to rejoin the band. Gavin replaced them with Chris Traynor on guitar and Corey Britz on bass and keyboards, and released the album "The Sea of Memories," and performed live including going on the Here and Now tour with Nickelback. "Man on the Run" is the band's sixth full-length studio album, and was preceded by the lead single "The Only Way Out." The album has 11 tracks with an approximate runtime of 50 minutes.
The album opens up with "Just Like My Other Sins," which is a strong song to open the album with, using both interesting vocal processing and a catch little guitar part. Next is the title track and second single from the album, "Man on the Run," which has a fairly minimalistic approach to it, finding a balance between post-grunge and pop rock. "The Only Way Out" is the lead single from the album, and is another track that is a clear reminder that Bush is clearly routed in grunge and the post-grunge genres, with heavy drumming accompanying catchy pop rock riffs in ratty distortion. "The Gift" is another straightforward song, with the lead guitar adding some serious and much needed character to the track. "This House Is on Fire" reminds me of what I think of as "classic '90s Bush" in a way that the rest of the album doesn't for some reason. "Loneliness Is a Killer" is next up, and is the third single from the album, and has a riff that runs through much of the track and helps set it apart from the rest of the album, especially as the riff shines through on the bass when Gavin is doing the "quiet" half of the quiet/loud dynamics common in grunge and post-grunge vocals. "Bodies in Motion" starts out with a pushing groove, but has a more melancholy verse. "Broken in Paradise" kind of builds up into a catchy little song with a simple riff carrying the chorus. "Surrender" has a cool progression and use of quiet/loud dynamics, and to me it is one of the stronger tracks on the album. "Dangerous Love" is probably one of the higher points on the album for me - or at least, the songwriting seems more honest than a lot of the rest of the album. The album closes out with "Eye of the Storm," which has an almost epic thing going on in the opening and then as a second high point of the track, a nice guitar solo later on.
Lyrics — 7
Gavin Rossdale probably has one of the most iconic voices in the world of grunge and post-grunge, or maybe better described as post-Cobain '90s music. While Gavin uses the quiet/loud dynamics made popular by band's in the '90s who were copying Nirvana, who had copied bands like Pixies and Sonic Youth, Gavin doesn't get as "loud" with his loud side of those volume dynamics in his singing. The lyrics are mostly made of bits and pieces of lyrics that Gavin has written in little snippets according to recent interviews where he has talked about his songwriting process, some of the songs seem to capture more honesty than is standard in Bush songs. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the lead single, "The Only Way Out": "Follow me down to the water/ through the tripwires in your head/ through the seven layers/ of your holy bed/ where there is no one god/ but a series of systems/ I wanna be your savior/ I wanna be your seasons/ the only way out is through/ lost my mind over you/ the only way out is through/ lost my mind over you."
Overall Impression — 7
I have flip-flopped on the way I feel about this album to some extent. At my most pessimistic I feel like this album existing or not doesn't make any different to me - like the album doesn't bring anything of true value to the table. The more optimistic side of me feels like this is an album full of decent post-grunge songs, they are just simple and straightforward rocking tracks. So, it is hard to say how I feel about this album at the end of the day - except, even at my most pessimistic, I don't think that any of this album is hard to listen to - it is enjoyable, just not necessarily impressing me throughout. The two strongest points in the album for me was the opening track "Just Like My Other Sins" and the lead guitar part and the opening from "Eye of the Storm."