Sound — 10
Collective Soul is back - and in a huge way! "Youth," their latest CD offering after a four-year hiatus, is nothing short of magical, rip roaring fun mixed with a healthy doseage of emotion and well, let's face it, one word: Soul. Collective Soul, to be exact.
Lyrics — 10
Back in January of 2005, I purchased "Youth." Around February of 2005, my best friend recommended some current popular favorite songs on the radio she felt I should listen to. "I can't," I replied. "I'm listening to this new CD and I just can't stop. I'll get to those songs soon." Fast forward to March 2005. Lather, rinse, repeat fast forward to April 2005: The CD, "Youth" is still in the Number One position in my car's CD player (#2 is "7even Year Itch," #3 is "Dosage," and #4 is "Hints, Allegations And Things Left Unsaid.") My friend, Grace, is now a Collective Soul fanatic (along with me) and she has been to two major shows in the last two months, including the huge Atlanta, Georgia show with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. She now understands what I'm talking about! There have been five CDs which I own, out of my collection of nearly 300 CDs, that I can say I adore every single song on them. I am proud to announce "Youth" is one of those five. With its popish-upbeat lyrics and upbeat good-for-your-karma infused guitar riffs (provided by the newly-installed Joel Kosche), Ed Roland puts the world on official notice: "Let the word out - I've got to get out: Oh, I'm feeling better now!" And mind you, this announcement doesn't come in a sweet, tea party type announcement, but a "wrapped to be seen," thirty/forty-something, down and dirty romp through many emotions we all recognize. So, stand up and take notice - and that's not a request! This is your "Youth:" You are hereby ordered to attend! The CD's first single, "Better Now" lets you know that Ed Roland and the boys are back, and they won't be sneaking in like guilty school boys. They arrive in full force, kicking it and taking names. No holds barred, no prisoners taken. Stand back and bring it on! As a guitar nerd myself, I can appreciate the AC/DC-esque hard-driving rock. Collective Soul shows once again they are a definitive force to be reckoned with! The highlights of "Youth" include: "Home" with a killer guitar riff by Joel, and a hard-driving, bass-thumping chorus, and crowd-pleasing sing along part ("Woo hoo!"); the beautiful, yet bittersweet ballad "How Do You Love," in which Ed Roland is possibly at his vocal best. Mr. Roland commands such presence and attention and shakes you to your core on this one. By the time he's done, all you can say is "Wow!" in amazement. Flawlessly executed by a true master; "Perfect To Stay," a catchy, straight pop-oriented favorite (I rank this one as an "I can't do without it!" selection on this CD). Ed Roland takes an ordinary situation and turns it into an experience of such depth: "She said 'Good day, boy. Are you ready to shake?' I said 'I love noise and this life that it makes.'" Sweetly written and hooked. Sure to be a pop favorite; "Counting the Days" a hard rocking, down and dirty "Guess what? We're back, for all of you who missed it!" number. You gotta love these guys! A current Nascar favorite song, you can hear "Counting The Days" on TV - various Nascar events as commercial lead ins or lead outs use it regularly. This song rocks in the first degree! "Under Heaven's Skies," my personal favorite sentimental ballad. It's honest, sweet, and romantic beyond belief. "You're beautiful, My Love, when I close my eyes: You're beautiful, My Love, Under Heaven's Skies" Ed Roland delivers the stunning, flowing vocals with gorgeous and awe-inspiring passion. Joel Kosche and Dean Roland deliver the guitar fills with dead-on precision and feeling. The guitar fills have been compared to U2's "With Or Without You," which I can see, and it so works and builds the song so nicely! Sometimes less is more: this is one of those times. That's what makes "Under Heaven's Skies" so wonderful. It's simplistic: you don't need an analyst to help you decipher. "Black And White" is plain as day. As a guitarist, I have often been quoted as saying I would rather hear something appropriate, more than something overly ornate and fancy. You want to impress me? Play me something appropriate. Doesn't have to have a lot of frilly words or 1000 notes a minute (that sort of thing does not impress me). "Under Heaven's Skies" is a basic human response to romance, sure to be a favorite with the ladies everywhere, and hopefully Collective Soul's next single from "Youth." For the record, my friend likes "How Do You Love" better and my favorite is this one, "Under Heaven's Skies." I seem to find there are the two schools of opinion - people's opinions are equally divided as to the favorite ballad on this CD. "General Attitude!" I love this song! Lyrically clever, driving rock and roll! The song is what its title says it is, and you really couldn't ask for more. "Satellite," Ed Roland's composition for his young son, is a fitting end to this CD. Beautifully sculpted and honed, "Satellite" is Ed Roland's very emotional, straight forward demonstration of a dedicated father's love for his son.
Overall Impression — 10
There are three CDs I could not live without: "Youth" is one. If anyone steals my copy of "Youth," yes, I would beat the proverbial crap out of them (preferably while listening to another recently purchased copy of "Better Now"). As a general rule, I do not recommend CDs, nor do I write CD reviews, and I have never been so intensely fanatical about anything in my musical life. I cannot recommend "Youth" enough. In fact, if you're a friend of mine, guess what you guys are getting for Christmas this year? Fans of Collective Soul will love this CD. Those who have never had an opportunity to experience Collective Soul will also love this CD. I would put this CD up against anything put out today, anytime, anywhere. "Youth" never goes out of style!