Review Summary: Fusing many styles and instruments History for Sale is a great album that was sadly looked over. It's a must-buy for any rock fan with it's diverse selection of songs that venture from metal to pop.
Back when I lived in Houston, Blue October played at all the big concerts in Houston; Buzzfest, Lollapallooza, etc. Every now and then when I was at one of these concerts I'd venture over to the side stage and end up listening to bands like Blue October or Dexter Freebish, who were all native to Houston and managed to end up on a sidestage at all the big concerts. These bands were huge in Houston; and while Dexter Freebish was rather boring and unoriginal, I always ended up venturing over towards whatever stage Blue October was playing. They didn't get much radio play, our radio station 94.5 The Buzz would promote their concerts, but wouldn't play much of their music; but I couldn't understand why. At the time, Blue October was coming off of their first release, Consent to Treatment
; and I thought their songs were wonderfully unique.
While Consent to Treatment
was good, it was a bit immature and at times winding endlessly. But in 2003, Blue October released History For Sale
; an album full of heavy emotions, dreary memories, and pure creatitivity. This album hit Houston by storm; as Calling You
took Texas radio over. Suddenly, I was a huge Blue October fan.
opens up the album with a creepy, eerie feel of lost hope that is carried with guitars, keyboards, and an occasional xylophone. Clumsy Card House
is a trippy, electronica filled ballad that is portrayed with acoustic guitars and not much else. Razorblade
is the raw, full out anger that Blue October lacks nowadays; the song is hard, loud, filled with strong, noisy guitars, and the lead singer, Justin Furstenfeld manages to top out his vocal range pretty easily.
Then of course there's the pop rock Calling You
; which happens to be a prequel to the hit song off of Foiled
, Hate Me
. And, while Chameleon Boy
tries to be special with it's touching lyrics, the song lacks because, quite frankly; it's boring. Sexual Powership (One Big Lie) Bla Bla
is another powerful anger trip showing Blue October's harder rock side. The next two tracks seem to flow together, and they're not really that special because they're shallow, and boring. Even though the instruments in 3 Weeks, She Sleeps
are varied with violins, xylophones, and keyboards getting equal airtime; the song is just rather forgettable. Inner Glow
is a heartfelt plea that manages to be unique, while sounding remarkably mainstream. I just feel as if i'm in an Alice in Wonderland novel when I listen to it; it's so dreamy and wonderful. The lyrics basically trashing bands who 'sell out'; which is a good thing to hear because I'd be heartbroken if Blue October sold out. Somebody
borders on Metal with it's distorted vocals, fuzzy guitars, and strong drums; and Come In Closer
manages to finish off History for Sale
in style as the piano solos mix well with the keyboards; and Justin's voice is as perfect as ever.
History for Sale
was a masterpiece lost in translation. The poor production, a few weak songs, and all in all it's lack of advertising just pulls away from this album. So many good songs that were just lost. Maybe I'm just lucky I grew up in Houston; but I don't know, all I do know is that any of Blue October's albums are a must-buy because you won't find another band that is as unique, appealing, easy to get into as Blue October.