Review Summary: Even with shady marketing tactics and crummy pop-influenced production, Afterwords manages to show that Collective Soul still can deliver the goods.
I'm not running, I'm not chasing, I'm just looking for that old sensation.
I'm not cooling, I'm not craving, I'm just looking for some new vibrations.
These lines of lyrics are self-explanatory of what Afterwords
actually is. Arguably Collective Soul's 'return to form' album, this album is what Ed Roland has wanted to do for years, and that is to bring the fans good, heavy, hard-edged alternative rock that is a throwback to Collective Soul's former magnum opus, 1995's self-titled album, while having some of the more melodic, poppy charm of their later releases like Blender
. Comeback of the Year? Definately.
I'm pretty shocked and surprised at the actual quality of the album-as in the weeks leading up to the release, I figured Collective Soul would continue ride the downward slide the big alternative rock bands of the 90s had been on lately (a la Live, Everclear, Fuel, etc.), but Collective Soul may have single-handedly pulled themselves out of the gutter and kept themselves as a legitamate alternative rock bands in today's society, even though, most likely Afterwords
won't get much public exposure outside of a few moderately popular radio singles. In fact, this album is so good, you can put it side-by-side with 1995's self-titled, and you'll find a much matured, older-brother of the 1995 classic. What's not to like?
Wait, well let's stop for a second. The album isn't as heavy as their self-titled, nor is it as over-zealous and desperate as Blender
. There's some heavy riffage, especially found in songs like the awe-inspiring New Vibration
, or the dancefloor-like beats and riffs of Persuasion of You
. You can't describe what this album actually is until you listen to it and make your own decision-because it doesn't fit in with any other of their albums, really at all. Afterwords
has its own identity, as its a bit softer than previous efforts, which is shown in songs like the epic Breaking Witness
or the heart-felt love ballad Georgia Girl
, while keeping the heavyness and strangeness that made Collective Soul so different than every other alternative rock band around in the 90s.
From start to finish, the album really never drags or shows any signs of imperfections outside of the lackluster production. The songs kind of sparkle with insignficance, and a bright, gleeful sheen that is reminescent of pop albums that are released across the country. The only other relative issue with Afterwords
is the Target-only gimmick deal Collective Soul signed with the French chain that helps only to alienate the record stores across the country that are slowly dying. Honestly, I really don't know what Ed Roland was thinking by signing this deal, which will only end up hurting Afterwords
sales in the first place. But, hey, I guess when you've sold as many albums as Collective Soul has, and you've had as many #1 singles as Collective Soul has, your record sales really don't matter anymore.
Despite a few marketing and production issues, Afterwords
shines bright with its cheerful themes, solemn anthems, and Ed Roland's signature uplifting and thought-provoking lyrics. And, while this isn't the same Collective Soul that dominated radiowaves for so many years in the 90s with their massive hits Shine
, The World I Know
, and Why (Part 2)
, this band is still at heart, the strange alternative rock group they've always been filled with loud, noisy guitars mixed with in a few radio-friendly love ballads and classic slow anthems. Afterwords
is proof that Ed Roland and Co. hasn't lost a bit through the years, and they still have the ability to be legitamate alternative rockers, and Afterwords
may just go down in history as Collective Soul's best work.
Persuasion of You