The Wrens are one of those bands that have been on the brink of success for a long time. They've been together since at least 1989 and have produced three critically acclaimed albums in that time. Meadowlands is their latest work, and it seems to demonstrate a bit of frustration and dissatisfaction with the way their careers and lives have gone. The melancholy opening track supports this statement, "Its been so long since you've heard from me/ Got a wife and kid that I never see/ And I'm nowhere near what I dreamed I'd be/ I can't believe what life has done to me." This frustration along with their obvious maturation (since Secaucus in 1996) as a band pushes this album to highly emotional moments that are very touching.
The next track "Happy" is the perfect example. It is one of the best songs on the album, a definite 5/5 that excels in every aspect. The song seems to be about a broken relationship, although that is open to interpretation. The lyrics start out describing the importance of this person, then goes on to show this person leaving the narrator’s life shattered, then the narrator seems to give up, "I’ll be all right/don’t worry about me/aren’t you happy now/you got what you want/I wanted you/but I’m over that now." It’s written so bare and genuine with short phrases that resemble a person going through such a tough time that they cannot collectively explain their feelings. The music matches this intensity by building up accordingly. It starts out lighter with simple base, drums, and the vocals basically being whispered. The vocals gradually get louder to match the increasing frustration in the lyrics. Along with the vocals the intensity is matched with layers of beautiful guitar riffs that increase in pitch as the song progresses. Great song.
One other song on the album matches the quality and intensity of "Happy" and that is "Hopeless." This song revolves around a high pitched, guitar riff that is basically played throughout the whole song. The layers of guitar put on top of that main riff along with the vocals make this song. Once again there are great lyrics too.
The other songs on the album are “poppier,” and this weakens the album because there is such a contrast in the direction of the songs(as compared to the last two). The album is also weakened by many sub par tracks that really seem like they were written by a different band, although there are some more great songs like "This Boy Is Exhausted," "Boys You Won't Remember," "Faster Gun," and "Everyone Chooses Sides."
This album has very high, highs and very low, lows. Those two songs are so great, though, that they pull the album much higher.