Monday, January 12, 2015

Between the Stars

Sometimes music just takes a while to absorb. It can take time to listen to new music multiple times and learn the lyrics and ponder everything it's saying. Then when Flyleaf's latest album came out last year, there was also the new singer to get used to.

That's the first time a band I've listened to has changed singers. While I was never sure what I thought of Lacey's voice exactly, I did know that I liked the way she sang, which might be the same thing, anyway; she just has such a specific way of singing with her heart in her throat that really became synonymous with Flyleaf. Kristen sings differently and while I appreciate that she doesn't try to just imitate Lacey (that would never work, anyway, since it would be false or hollow), her voice did take some getting used to. The EP that came out before the album helped me become familiar with her voice, but then I had to get used to the new sound all over again with the album.

For a moment, everything felt different. I listened to the album and it was alright, but it didn't satisfy something that I wanted. So I waited and I listened more and I waited more. And then I recognized Flyleaf, the same as always, behind the one difference. The thing is, I'm not a musical person. So I don't think in terms of bass solos or drum beats . . . but I do really enjoy the sound that Sameer, Jared, Pat, and James put together. And that sound remains the same even with a new singer; that specific sound that is edgy and atmospheric all at once. Like the start to "Head Under Water." Don't even ask me to try describing it, but it's wonderful.  And then once the music drew me back in, I was able to go back to Kristen's voice. She has a powerful voice to be able to match the music, gliding swiftly or slowly, sharply or softly. I accept her now.

I admit that I was a little less than awed at some of the lyrics at first. Memento Mori remains my favorite Flyleaf album, but I suppose not every album needs to go so far and so deep into stories and the symbolic. Between the Stars is closer to the vein of New Horizons. I think the title speaks to that weightless feeling of exploring what different moments in life mean, that atmospheric sound to the music; the stars also can stand for all of the people that you come across and meet and live with. This album is about taking floods and turning them into life, about sprouting growth and goodness from what could keep you down instead.

"Set Me on Fire," "Sober Serenade," "Head Under Water," and "Magnetic" are some of my favorites. "Thread" and "Marionette" are also good. I have mixed feelings about "City Kids" and "Blue Roses."

Given that Flyleaf is one of my favorite bands (Memento Mori is one of my favorite albums ever), it is nice to continue to get new music, new things to add to the mix. There's getting to be rather a variety now.

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