Review : Blue October - Approaching Normal
RollingstoneBlue October continue their post–grunge whinefest on Approaching Normal, which actually approaches intolerable. Singer Justin Furstenfeld packs enough melodrama into "Weight of the World" to shame Bono and Meat Loaf combined. Over a spare martial beat, Furstenfeld's clenched–teeth vocals might make for decent tragicomedy if not for self–indulgent pathos like "I stole the pillowcase to clean this mess I've made of someone's dream." He growls out a torture fantasy in "Dirt Room" and gets sensitive on "My Never." But even Furstenfeld's pleas for redemption in "Blue Skies" can't stop this downward spiral....full text
Ultimate-guitarSound: For those of you concerned that Blue October’s latest album Approaching Normal is filled songs that focus on vocalist Justin Furstenfeld’s new, more positive outlook on life, don’t worry too much yet. While there are songs that were obviously written after the birth of his daughter, Blue, the glimpses at happiness and peace of mind are still few and far between. If you’ve been a fan of Blue October since they formed in 1995, you probably already know what this means: Furstenfeld still has plenty of demons to exorcise.
Approaching Normal is an album with many ups and downs, both musically and lyrically. From the opening track “Weight Of The World, ” it’s evident that there is still plenty of passion within Furstenfeld. The slow, musical build-up in the beginning is highly effective, particularly when out of nowhere you get an explosion of distortion and Furstenfeld bellows. A little more than halfway through, the broken side of Furstenfeld appears in all of it's glory. It gets slightly overdramatic in those moments thanks to some over-the-top shouting, but if you like that no-holds-barred candor in Blue October, you’ll love “Weight Of The World.”
The first single “Dirt Room” is welcomed with open arms, particularly because it’s not necessarily the typical autobiographical track. Dealing with the general topic of “not playing the victim, ” it’s one of the few songs on the album that could rely on musical content alone. “Dirt Floor” features an instantly memorable chorus, and is actually one of the most energetic, rock-oriented songs on the album. The themes on the album don’t always necessitate Blue October to go in a harder, riff-driven direction, and “Dirt Floor” provides a much-needed change of pace from the low-key content on Approaching Normal....full text
ConsequenceofsoundIf you come into a Blue October album expecting anything other than pure emotion being poured out of the mouth of lead singer Justin Furstenfeld, you’re in the wrong place.
This “emo” style of writing and singing has caused the band to be received awfully by many in the music business, but has also gained them a fan base of extremely devoted followers. With their new LP, Approaching Normal, the Houston rockers have put nothing new on the table to convince the naysayers otherwise, but they’ve also done nothing to alienate their fans. Essentially, they’re in the same place they were before the release, which in this business is almost always a negative. Furstenfeld does have moments of nearing “normal” on the album; however, some tracks take us to a very dark first person fiction that shows those times in the mental institution have not quite yet left him behind....full text
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