Album Review :
Above the Golden State - Above the Golden State

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Artist: Above the Golden State
Album: Above the Golden State
Label: Sparrow Records
Release Date: July 22, 2008
Review by: Eric Pettersson

1. Loud and Clear
2. Gaze into Your Eyes
3. Sound of Your Name
4. Streets
5. I’ll Love You So
6. Comeback
7. Love
8. Chapter 13
9. Scared
10. One Thirty-nine
11. The Haunting
12. All My Heart
13. Real to Reel

Last night I went to Gravity, my friend Rob’s music/bookstore in Reading, Pennsylvania, to pick up the new Copeland record and Shane Claiborne’s new book about prayer. As I stepped in, Rob, who was formerly a sales rep for EMI, was getting together a list of albums he wanted to push during the holiday season, the first of which was the album I am now reviewing. A catchy pop-rock band was playing across the store’s sound system.

“Who is this?”
“Above the Golden State.”
“Oh right, I have that sitting in my car. I knew it was someone I was about to review.”
“I like it. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but for some reason I keep playing it in here. So I figure if I have all this to choose from,” says Rob as he motions to the shelves of CDs, “And still end up listening to this album, it must be pretty good.”

This reaction to Above the Golden State has been the standard for me so far. While listening to it last week to get a feel for it, I heard mostly good pop/rock, but like Rob said, there’s nothing really groundbreaking. It had everything there, I guess, but there was nothing that really set it apart either. But as I listened, whenever someone would come into my dorm room, they’d ask about it.

“Who is this?”
“Above the Golden State.”
“I like it.”
“Yeah, they’re pretty good.”

I couldn’t believe the attraction was so universal, because there’s no good reason for it. Yeah, “I’ll Love You So,” is full of smart melodies and has a great hook. Yeah, “Chapter 13” takes lyrics straight from Scripture (1 Corinthians, to be specific) in a relevant and creative way that actually sounds good. Yeah, the artwork is pretty sweet too. But there’s still nothing to put my finger on! Nothing to point to as the reason this band is good or bad. Nothing that makes them unique or especially mentionable.

But still, they’re memorable. And when it really comes down to it, all I can say is that it must be because they just write some good songs. To quote Michael Jordan after winning the game in Space Jam, the greatest sports movie of all time, “Thanks guys, you got a lot of… a lot of… well, whatever it is, you got a lot of it.”


Official Site

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