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Joshua Radin is a relatively unheard of name in the UK and one that I hadnt come across until very recently. Hes an American acoustic songwriter with the majority of his songs falling within the mellow genres of music. His sound is most similar to Damien Rice in the sense that his music is heavily melodic, slow and soothing. He first shot to fame when his close friend Zach Braff asked for his song Winter to be featured on the hit US show Scrubs. Since then his music has also featured in Greys Anatomy and also the film The Last Kiss. This is his first album and was released in February 2006 in America. Its currently only available in the UK by import.
Sundrenched World is the first track up and is a slow, eerie sounding ballad which is beautifully sung and written. The song itself is sung in a low, whisper almost with some of the best and most varied backing music Ive heard in a while which includes a string quartet at times. It would be easy to say that this song never really gets going in that theres no real crescendo or increase in speed at all throughout it but if you listen to the lyrics youll begin to appreciate the true beauty of the track. Its about the end of a relationship and has some truly heartfelt lyrics, Im talking to you, but youre not listening, I dont know what to do, my heart is blistering, writing this song, tell me Im not wrong.
Star Mile has a magical quality to it and is sung in the same whispered sounding voice which adds an almost folk sounding element to this country-ish ballad. The majority of this track is sung as a duet with a female voice which really does add to the track itself. It sounds quite similar in a way to the previous track although it is a little bit faster, I dont think this music would suit every occasion as you may find yourself wanting to speed up the track at times. It would suit anyone who has listened to Damien Rice in the past as its got that same sort of hollow, melodic and slow feel. Again its about the end of a relationship and the hollow, slightly pessimistic feel of the song suits this well, You had and lost the one thing, you kept in a safe place, remember the face, of the girl who made you her own, and how you left her alone.
Everythingll Be Alright is the third track on the album and has quite a Jack Johnson feel to it, its soothing throughout and makes for very easy listening. The mood to this track is slightly more optimistic than the previous tracks which is hinted at by the title. The backing music, as with all the tracks, is minimal and theres no real sense of progression throughout the track itself. The best word that I can think of to describe this album as a whole is soothing and this song is indeed no exception, it almost wraps you up in a cocoon as you listen to it. In contrast to the previous tracks this song seems to have a little more hope in it, But I look at you, warm in your dream and I think to myself, its a beautiful night, and I know everything is gonna be alright.
These Photographs is considerably more upbeat than the previous tracks and theres much more backing music from the percussion genre of music. Joshua Radins voice has that same smooth, soothing quality that seems to flow effortlessly over the music. Its the sort of song that will have you tapping your foot along in time to the music without even noticing. The actual meaning behind the song it quite a nice one, how photographs can keep you alive in a sense, just by remembering moments in time through photographs you feel more alive just by feeling the emotions that the photos evoke, And I wanna know what you know, and I wanna go where you go, these things remind me of you.
Closer brings that somewhat pessimistic feel back to the album but is such a beautiful ballad with mild crescendos that really do bring feelings inside you when you listen to it. The chorus part of this track has quite a melodic, poetic feel to it which Ive found myself singing along to without even realising. Again the mood behind this track is undoubtably about the moments that lead to end of a relationship and the feelings that seem to come with it, So were alone again, I wish it were over, we seem to never end, only get closer, to the point where I can take no more.
Today is the sixth track on the album and opens with guitar chords that give quite a country feel to the opening of this track. Joshua Radins voice seems somewhat more mature in that it seems to have lowered at the opening of this song, before it effortlessly sores over the higher notes of the track. This again is quite an upbeat track compared to the previous couple and its something that reminds me of John Mayer or a similar artist. It definitely sounds much more mainstream than the other tracks so far on this album and his voice has a raspy, sex appeal to it as well. In contrast once again, this song seems to be about the start of a relationship which is reflected both in the upbeat music and the lyrics, You are the one Ive been waiting for today, and here comes the sun, its been baiting morn today.
Winter returns to a bleaker feel almost and the same hollow type lyrics flow over the minimal backing music. The backing music consists of lone guitar chords that mean his voice really does shine through on this track and there is certainly an eerie, almost unlived in quality to it yet that same raspy edge that was evident in the previous track is still there. Again this song seems to refer to the more depressing nature of the end of a relationship and although its sung beautifully this does nothing to take away from the pessimistic feel of the lyrics, I couldnve lost myself, in rough blue waters in your eyes, and I miss you still
Someone Elses Life is another beautifully slow ballad that seems to possess a void feeling to it somehow and actually reminds me of one of Snow Patrols slow ballads. The womans voice appears from time to time in this track, presumably she is meant to be the person the relationship has ended with and its interesting to see which lyrics she comes in on. Some of the most heartfelt lyrics are sung by both of them which to me shows that they are both feeling the same thing, no matter how a relationship ends both participants are going to face the same heartbreak and upset regardless of the situation, Somehow, Im leading someone elses life, I cud a star down with my knife, and right now I still see the way the moon plays this tune, though our nights died.
Amys Song is the ninth track on the album and signals that we are nearing the end of the album. The mind does wonder if Amy is the ex relationship that most of this album seems to focus on. Even the album title of We Were Here seems to suggest the end of a relationship, how at one time we were in a relationship and in love. You do wonder if he is singing this song from her points of view or not, Sometimes I want to be, I scream that I want to be, anyone but me, I dont know if I can write about, chosen wars and the things you feel.
What If You is the longest track on the album at just over four minutes long. Without wanting to repeat myself too much in this review the general feel and mood of this track is the same as the majority of songs on this album. The lyrics in this track really struck a chord with me, I think that at the end of a relationship or really in any situation theres always a lot of what if questions that you ask to yourself, what if youd done something differently, would that have made a difference to the outcome sort of thing. The lyrics in this seem to directly echo that idea, What if you could wish me away, what if you spoke those words today, I wonder if youd miss me when Im gone, its come to this.
Only You is the final track on the album and is a remake of the classic and one you cant fail to recognise. His interpretation of it is relatively the same as the original and it works well to bring the album to a close. The lyrics behind the song seem to work well, hes saying all hes even known is this relationship and thats all he really needed to get by in life, All I needed was the love you gave, all I needed for another day, and all I ever knew, only you.
I wouldnt hesitate to recommend this album to anyone who enjoys the sounds of Cary Brothers or Damien Rice as it makes ideal music for relaxing to. Arguably its not going to be suited to everyones tastes and Id definitely say listen to a couple of his songs before taking the plunge and buying the album. With regard to longevity I can see this album becoming a permanent fixture on my ipod for whenever I feel like chilling out. There are some signs of monotony with some of the songs and his sound doesnt really show that much variety. However at the end of the day I really like this album, theres no songs Ive ever really be tempted to skip and Id give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Thanks for reading.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Sundrenched World
2 Star Mile
3 Everything'll Be Alright (Will's Lullaby)
4 These Photographs
8 Someone Else's Life
9 Amy's Song
10 What If You
11 Only You