Sound — 10
It's astounding that this record is so overlooked. Travis Meeks, the de facto leader of Days Of The New, had really come to fruition as a songwriter on the third, and what would be final Days Of The New record. When Days Of The New came out with their first album, their music was a simple four-piece acoustic rock outing, as if a group of teenagers saw Alice In Chains Unplugged and said "Hey dude, lets start a band..." But, a tour with Metallica, a couple years gone by and Meeks had already dropped his bandmates before the second album, so this was his second time in the studio with session musicians. This record there was a definite shift in the overall tone of the music. It is likely that it's his most ambitious work. Instead of simplicity on it's own, this album is simplistically complex. It's still acoustic rock, but blended seamlessly with orchestral instruments that really add to the grandiosity of the album as a whole. The production is very clear and fits well for the music. Every thing is well balanced, nothing seems to be buried in the mix. It's hard to imagine a reason why someone might want to nitpick on some minor imperfection. I've listened to this CD a hundred times at least and never found myself thinking of a flaw in the sound.
Lyrics — 10
One of the main things that characterized the first and second Days Of The New records was Travis' lyrics. The angsty, born-in-a-small-town, pain-ridden-but-music-is-therapy certainly had somewhat of an appeal, yet the most refreshing part of this album is the amount of uplifting and positive energy. When I was introduced to the album at 16 years old I had some trouble listening to some of the songs, as I was absorbed by Alice In Chains doomy dirges of despair. The song titled "Best Of Life" is in no way ironic, it's really about feeling great. What is sadly ironic is how Travis would later end up battling addiction, which is contradictory to the man singing. However, there are some great moments, like when he sings "I am the dirt, the dust, the stain, the rust that's on your fingers/You're here to get inside the place/To hide the fear that lingers/If we never drown, we never know how well it tastes." The closing track, "Dancing In The Wind" is an epic masterpiece unto itself and if I had to convince you to listen to the whole album based on one song, that would be it.
Overall Impression — 10
If you've read this far, you can probably tell I think pretty highly of this record. I give this record all 10's based on a couple of deciding factors. One of those is the phenomenal growth in songwriting from first to third album. Significant gains were made in composition and layering of instruments. The feelings the album invokes in me is much different than the other music I listen to more frequently. It's a great album to listen to in the morning while drinking some coffee or making breakfast. I find it'll usually motivate me to do something artistic and creative, often, picking up an acoustic. All great pieces of music will inspire... To me, this is one of those albums. Beside "Dancing In The Wind", I think the highlight songs are "Dirty Road", "Never Drown" and "Giving In". Most people who've heard of the band will be shocked to find that they have a 3rd album, but anyone who liked the "Green" album will probably like "Red" as well.