Afterwords review by Collective Soul

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  • Released: Aug 27, 2007
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (46 votes)
Collective Soul: Afterwords
2

Sound — 9
Collective Soul are on a roll. After a mid-career crisis with several underperforming and underwhelming albums, the Stockbridge, Georgia, band left Atlantic Records in 2001 to record for their own indie label, El Music Group. Their first album on their own, 2004's Youth, found the band returning to the classic rock meets Southern-alternative sound they popularized with their first hit, 1994's Shine from their debut album Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid and which continued with 1995's December, Gel and The World I Know from their self-titled album. Touring constantly to support Youth, along with the releasing of an acoustic album and a double-CD backed by a symphony orchestra, both featuring some of their greatest hits, Collective Soul rebuilt their fan base and proved the '90s aren't about to fade away.

Collective Soul's latest album, Afterwords, doesn't depart from this sound, which should please fans and help get them a few more. Led by the Roland brothers, Ed on vocals and Dean on rhythm guitar, Collective Soul kick start Afterwords with New Vibration, a track that gives a nod to their past while looking to the future. Ed sings, I'm not running, I'm not chasing. I'm just looking for an old sensation, which he hopes will make for a new vibration. With this goal in mind, Collective Soul strive and succeed in updating their sound throughout Afterwords while never departing too far from what made them popular.

The first single, Hollywood, is actually their biggest departure from this sound. Aiming for mass appeal with this release, it's their most pop-sounding song in their entire discography. With sunny lyrics and a hummable melody, Hollywood may upset many long-time fans who will no doubt cry sell out. But Collective Soul know they need a radio hit to keep playing the game because people will need to seek out this album if they wish to purchase it. Afterwords is available only in physical form at Target retail stores (through an exclusive deal with the band) and digitally on iTunes. An album with limited availability needs all the mass market help it can get and Hollywoods radio appeal could help accomplish that.

Lyrics — 9
As with other Collective Soul albums, Ed Roland's lyrics tend to touch on religious and spiritual issues, while vaguely speaking to some significant other. On paper his lyrics seem pretty ordinary, but his delivery and the band's instantly recognizable sound help elevate them to levels other bands only wish they could reach. The album's worst song, I Don't Need Anymore Friends, featuring lyrics written and sung by lead guitarist Joel Kosche, demonstrates Roland's presence is greatly missed when he's not singing or songwriting.

Even this song's not so bad, and after just several listens to Afterwords, fans will find themselves singing along. Give them credit, because other bands with such a hearty rock and roll vibe, ahem Nickelback, ahem Hinder, ahem the next flavor of the week, could only dream of someday featuring lyrics half as good as Roland's.

Overall Impression — 9
A familiar yet not outdated sound combined with good lyrics, Afterwords more than delivers the goods. It's disappointing to know that its limited availability may prevent some potential fans from ever getting their hands on it, but hopefully word about the albums' strengths will spread and people will seek it out. The 10-track album clocks in at only a little more than 36 minutes. Like another band with a familiar sound, AC/DC, a short album length virtually guarantees people won't get sick of the album halfway through listening to it. Instead, they'll just want more.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    |aFoster|
    Nice review.. I'm gonna try and get a hold of this album as soon as possible. I'm looking forward to hearing it.
    genolk
    Zero17 wrote: Collective Soul! If you aren't a fan yet, go on iTunes and listen to the album 7even Year Itch. Awesome songs on there. And then buy Afterwords =D
    I have to disagree... they're not my taste and I think metallicas st anger sounds better even though I thought that a few riffs aside... that that album wasn't very good either. What does everyone else think?
    alcatwize
    Hey, all the albums rock, but if you are new to CS, then buy the Home DVD they made with the Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra. I have seen CS live 6 times and I have to say this DVD is awesome!
    deba90
    CS has been one of my fav bands for a long while-- I just finished watching their live concert with Atlanta symphony orchestra half way through and got tempted to pick up my guitar and play some of those great songs.. a must see for everyone esp CS fans who can lay their hands on a copy of that DVD
    CSRules
    You have to see this band live. If you can't get their DVD. Home with the Atlanta Symphany Youth Orchestra. This is the best concert ever. And this comes from someone that has seen Madonna, Michael, Prince, Bruce and U2 in Concert. Well U2 and Collective Soul have such great Totally Rocking music and Inspirational music it is hard to set them apart except the fact U2 is known everywhere. The thing I love most about CS is alot of their songs differ from one another. So many bands stick to the same formula. CS is kinda like Prince. Always looking for a new sound.
    stevenrdungan
    Afterwords is a great album that seems almost like a continuation of Youth. The similarities between the two are unmistakable. Collective Soul has clearly evolved over time, which you can tell if you compare Collective Soul from 1995 and Afterwords. But they still maintain the basic sound they did when they first got started, which I think the opening track "New Vibrations" is symbolic of. Like nearly every other Collective Soul album (save for Dosage), there are no weak tracks- I strongly disagree that Joel's song is the weakest and I am eagerly anticipating his rumored solo album. In fact, you could argue the hit single Hollywood, the album's plea for commercial recognition, is the worst song on the whole CD. Not Collective Soul's best work, as they set a pretty high bar for themselves early on, but better than anything else out there today. And their best album, to answer the posed question, is either Youth or Disciplined Breakdown.
    rolandfan
    I've been waiting for there new album for a while now and am very pleased with afterwords, definitely one of there best and one of the best albums period in the last couple of years. Its a fresh sound thats both original and upbeat yet has that trademark cs feel to it. Definitely a must buy. As for best cs album, there self titled hands down, and then it would probably be between disciplined breakdown and afterwords.
    |aFoster|
    I have to disagree... they're not my taste and I think metallicas st anger sounds better even though I thought that a few riffs aside... that that album wasn't very good either. What does everyone else think?
    I think comparing Collective Soul to Metallica is pretty pointless.
    jeepthing07
    best album is Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid or the self titled album
    GeetarsAreRock
    Not to knock anyone, I love Collective Soul. But it seems like every review on here tends to be quite positive overall.
    kornival
    when is this album coming out? i been waiting forever for CS new stuff
    Zero17
    Collective Soul! If you aren't a fan yet, go on iTunes and listen to the album 7even Year Itch . Awesome songs on there. And then buy Afterwords =D
    breakingglass27
    Dosage is one of my all-time favorite albums, but Blender is one of my least favorite ever. That's why I was pumped when Youth turned out to be incredible, and they're obviously still running on some creative fumes because Afterwords is almost as good as Youth. I just saw Collective Soul with Live and Counting Crows, but they were just the opening band. I can't wait until they go on a full-scale tour again!
    rockfanatik00
    i love collective soul its just that after their original guitar player left the band (ross childress) they went downhill b/c none of their songs really appealed to me after doseage
    ynofaee12909121
    ithinkfloyd wrote: What is their best album? I've loved the stuff I've heard so far.
    7even year itch is really good. Get Youth too its the fu*kin bomb
    Metro2Lucid
    Fuckin' LOVE Collective Soul!! I love songs off each album. Youth and Afterwords are definitely two of my favorites. I'm dying to see them live sometime! Such a great band and completely underrated.
    |aFoster|
    Not to knock anyone, I love Collective Soul. But it seems like every review on here tends to be quite positive overall.
    Heh, yeah. I've noticed that as well. I think the thing is, people mainly review albums of the bands that they like. Not many people are gonna write a review of a band that they can't stand.
    What is their best album? I've loved the stuff I've heard so far.
    Check out their greatest hits, '7even Year Itch', if you don't already have it
    staind_dust87
    I've always thought of C Soul as the biggest band that know one has ever heard of, lol. Everyone know's Shine, World I know, December, or Heavy, but know one knows who sings it. There such a great band, they've been putting out great album after album, but never get the respect they deserve. I think C soul or one of the best rock groups of our decade, keep the rock comming guys!
    radioplay
    geetarsarerock ive noticed that...the only way to tell if an album is really,really bad is if it gets under an 8 but ill probably buy this...i love Collective Soul
    guitar_hero543
    i thought all of the chorus's sounded the same for the most part on this album, but still an amazing cd nonetheless