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REVIEW – I will start this review by addressing the obvious question most fans have. What direction is this band going in this year? This band seems to have two sides to itself. The one side which was aggressive with the lyrics and felt like a therapy session unfolding. This side was shown in the early releases. Justin had something to say and demanded to be heard. Songs like “Razorblade” and “Hate Me”, were both haunting with their lyrics and intoxicating with the musicianship. It seems that after they went platinum with Foiled, the band was just all of a sudden cheerful and happy? Approaching Normal was such a matter of fact title. This band seemed to find the perfect bridge to go from their hungry and desperate lyrics to a more mainstream catchy ground. I understand most bands have to grow and move forward. But, at what cost? Today, this band seems like a truly different band. I am not saying the band is horrible. Justin Furstenfeld is a good lead singer. He has a great vocal delivery and knows how to write lyrics that capture attention. I am just saying that when you hit the promised land in music, it does not mean you have to change completely overnight and alienate your die hard fans. I think the crutch term is “selling out”. I do not blame the band. They were pouring their hearts out for close to a decade and then they found the formula song and went platinum. The hard work paid off. So, why not try to recreate it? The difference is that recreating this formula has caused this band to lose it’s identity and feel like they were that “one big record” band. Which for some is good. Others it is a insult. Blue October has put out a few cds in the last few years that were forgotten and fans went back to play History for Sale and Foiled and tried to forgive them. This new cd is fair. Justin tries to channel an inner Peter Gabriel and relive the So album in his own way. I am a fan of the band, but this growth is not the band that I remember. This is a band that seems to be clutching at straws as to what could get them back in the mainstream talk again. The lyrics on this cd are really poetic and creates such a creative story each song, but the problem is that the band seems to want to play it safe musically. This band needs go to back to their moody pissed off vibe, it makes the lyrics more impactful. Today, it is like Justin says..” Ok, this is not going my way..fuck it, I will sing politely and quietly”. When in the past, he would grab the attention and say” Fuck this, I want it back and if you are not coming back, I will burn your shit down and then scream on top of the ashes”. Well, maybe not that dramatic but you get the message. The title track is from The Cure and Smiths library of making a lullaby that makes you feel happy and sing-a-long. “ King” he wants to us to look forward while not forgetting what we been thru to get there. I will say right now, the lyrics on this cd are outstanding. Justin really captures such passion and sorrow. These songs live are going to get the crowd emotional. This cd is fair. I hate to down on Blue October so much. The cd is really trying to bridge the past lyrics with today’s mellowness. This cd just seems to want to go slowly from point A to point B. I feel after 2 decades on the scene that this band deserves so much more fame. They have worked hard on tour and put out great videos. I just feel that records like this are more of a “ look at us now” statement than what is truly in their hearts. I know people will dig this upbeat approach, I mean the record is very well produced and the sound comes across as mature and experienced. I am just not sure if this is what I wanted yet again from this band. I feel that with repeat listens and seeing the songs live, they may grow more on me. After two listens, this record is just average and fair. The songs are decent yet in a hour forgotten. This cd makes me feel that this band is content in their place in music, when in the past they wanted to fight and work harder than others to get to the top. The land of platnium and honey is misleading. Do not fall in love with it, unless you know it will stay. For this band, they fell in love with it so much that they had forgot what brought them there. Justin look down off your stool, your fans are begging you to come back from this bullshit haze you are currently in. Join us?