A Twist In My Story review by Secondhand Serenade

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  • Released: Feb 5, 2008
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 9.5 (54 votes)
Secondhand Serenade: A Twist In My Story
2

Sound — 7
A Twist In My Story is the sophomore album of Secondhand Serenade and the debut of its frontman John Vesely with the full band. Vesely is an example of a new-age musician -- after spending night and day on myspace he collected 27 million plays, recorded an acoustic album and was lucky enough to be noticed by a record label. Here the typical story finished and the story of Secondhand Serenade starts. Vesely won a lucky ticket when signing for the Glassnote Records, the new record label of Daniel Glass. As this was the first project of the label, they gave the band a lot of support in all possible ways. Secondhand Serenade got more promotion than a similar band of this level. Some tracks on a new album were borrowed from the first record (like Maybe and Your Call) with the difference that John Vesely is now playing with a full band. Though there are still a lot of quiet moment on the album with many songs starting acoustic -- like the first single Fall For You and then grow into almost orchestral composition. Other tracks follow a similar scenario starting peaceful and growing bigger towards the middle of the song. The title song is a little bit more original than the rest of the tracks. Acoustic songs are definitely what Vesely can do best. The CD ends with a powerful ballad featuring large choruses and Vesely's strained singing. The song is trivially called Goodbye. Guitar lovers would very disappointed with this album. Guitar hooks are too generic and there is not a single guitar solo on the entire record. I would say this is all too radio-friendly, as if the band is afraid to make any single move that is not proved by some hit record of another artist.

Lyrics — 8
Vesely's lyrics are not something extraordinary and they don't fill the songs with some deep meaning, but they are quite good. Rhythms like Stranger-danger-angel sound nice. Of course all them are about love, which is no wonder -- Vesely started to play guitar when his wife asked him to serenade for her (he was playing bass before that, bit it doesn't count). Vesely's voice on the record is buried under loud guitars, rock drums and numerous strings. Not that he started to sing worse comparing to his debut album, but that special sensuality is lost. Though there are a few good moments on the album when the music gets softer.

Overall Impression — 7
Listening to the record you keep wishing for more action, the name of the band quite explains what they are playing as the guys are serenading love songs all through the album. Songs differ from ballads to mid-tempo tracks (which probably are ballads being speeded up). At its most annoying moments the album reminds you of a bubble-gum -- as flat and boring. Even the famous producers (Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails) and Butch Walker (All-American Rejects, Avril Lavigne) didn't save the situation or maybe only made it worse. Aiming to create the album that would sell, the guys almost killed Vesely's individuality and made most songs sound cliche instead. Unfortunately the majority of the songs sound like a hundred other pop-rock tracks played on the radio today.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    stradivari310
    I like his solo acoustic album much better.. something was definitely lost in the transition to a whole band.
    Curt Orris
    fastlanestoner wrote: it's just TOO emo.
    Ok... I am annoyed... After you define what "emo" is to me, then you can call it emo. Just because it is love songs, doesn't mean its "emo". Now, if it was about depression and how the world hates him and he wants to die, then you could call it that, but apparently, you don't know what emo is. That ticks me off. Emo has been turned into a stereotype... I'm a metal head and all, and you probably will dis me for this, but I stick up for people, especially emo kids, because you cant "un-emo" them or help them with people like you constantly telling them to "cut their wrists and die"... This album is not emo, it is "loving". If you consider loving to be emo, then... I just might as well have forgot about posting this and just called you an *****... lol. All in all, I agree that John Vesely has lost his originality, feeling, and meaning since "Awake". But I have noticed that happen a lot when it comes to record labels. Only it usually doesn't happen with Indie labels, only Major ones because they seem to be controlling, but this case is different. I don't think it was so much the 'Label' with this though, as much as it was that he got put with a band. The orchestral stuff is good, but if he would have kept to acoustic guitar with solo vocals and just added the orchestral stuff, it would have been so much better. I quote Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park/Fort Minor, when in one of the songs in Fort Minor's album, "The Rising Tide", in which he states: "...they signed us on an act of what we sound like..." So, now I must ask, "Did Vesely decide to do this on his own, or was it Glass Note that suggested... *caugh caugh* made him *caugh caugh* do it?" Feel free to comment on this, because I don't know what the situation on this was. If I am wrong, please tell me.
    seyrine
    I think that this effort from Secondhand Serenade is neither fish nor foul. Some tracks definitely benefited from having the full band, others were not as such. As usual, his vocals is as raw as ever although there was improvement. The best part of this album was acoustic songs like the title track. Also, some of the songs on the previous album, specifically Your Call, improved with a full band. Overall, it's not the best sophomore album, but it is worth a second listen.
    unoriginalmind
    Curt Orris
    His voice is VERY generic and is extremely similar to many other bands that are considered emo, so that's why many will label him as such. That's why I called it that anyways.
    J-rich777
    fastlanestoner wrote: he definitely has talent but i don't see what all the hype is about. it's just TOO emo.
    Man your name says fastlanestoner... heh you might want to lay that stoner part off since you think this is emo! How much weed you smoking?
    akcbd
    [quote]Curt Orris wrote: Ok... I am annoyed... After you define what "emo" is to me, then you can call it emo. Just because it is love songs, doesn't mean its "emo". Now, if it was about depression and how the world hates him and he wants to die, then you could call it that, but apparently, you don't know what emo is. That ticks me off. Firstly, i do agree with you in the way that 'emo' is a very bad stereotype, but people like you make it worse in a way by saying this isnt emo. this album and his first one are "emo" as emo is short for emotional! and this album is very emotional. yes, its not gonna have people slitting there writsts or whatever but it is still very "emo" none the less.
    electric rocker
    Ok... I am annoyed... After you define what "emo" is to me, then you can call it emo. Just because it is love songs, doesn't mean its "emo". Now, if it was about depression and how the world hates him and he wants to die, then you could call it that, but apparently, you don't know what emo is. That ticks me off. Emo has been turned into a stereotype... I'm a metal head and all, and you probably will dis me for this, but I stick up for people, especially emo kids, because you cant "un-emo" them or help them with people like you constantly telling them to "cut their wrists and die"... This album is not emo, it is "loving". If you consider loving to be emo, then... I just might as well have forgot about posting this and just called you an *****... lol.
    there actually are a few songs on this album where it does say things like that he isnt living his life so that makes it "emo" in the stereotypical way. and what akcbd said- it is very emotional
    icantbuyafender
    okay. Secondhand Serenade. Our look on what he is singing to a girl. therefore being secondhand. This album is nothing but panty-dropper ballads that you could totally get laid if you had the nerve to waltz up to your girl and actually pull it off. Thats all. Musically, the orchestra saves it from being a 3-chord bullshit rock album. His voice harmonizes so well its retarded. Did he use it to its potential? NO! Lets hope he gets his ducks in a row on the next one. I'm out.