What happens when a young, up, and coming band literally shakes the ground with their very first album but can not recreate that same earthquake in their next or later albums? They’re quickly dubbed as one-hit wonders and cannot climb up back the ladder to fame. Lifehouse is one of many bands who have fallen victim to this devastating affliction. When Lifehouse came out with their multi-platinum debut album in 2000, No Name Face, they scored big time. They jumped into the music pool of fame and created a huge tidal wave which awed the teenage world and even conservative adults. Their mixture of alternative rock, catchy melodies, and lyrics which any teenager can relate to, formulates a blend of sound which will appeal to the ears of many.
In No Name Face, their hit song “Hanging by a Moment” was the reason for all this commotion. In this catchy rock prom anthem, Lifehouse’s singer Jason spills out his lovesick heart with lyrics such as, “I’m falling even more in love with you/I’m hanging onto all I’ve held onto/I’m standing here until you make me move/I’m hanging by a moment here with you.” This established the trio into the band scene immediately and provided them great fame and exposure. “Hanging by a Moment” became the #1 Alternative Hit and and was introduced to The Top 40 Most Played Songs list. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said over their next 3 consecutive albums in the past 6-7 years.
This young rocking trio was not able to live up to their hype from their first album. They were quickly added to the list of “one hit wonders” which include Eagle Eye Cherry, Deep Blue Something, Jimmy Ray, and S-Club 7. It’s not to say that their next few albums didn’t consist of phenomenal songs, it is just the fact that they are being beaten by their former selves. In order to gain their old fame, they must be able to create a song which puts “Hanging by a Moment” in the dust. Of course this is no easy feat. None of their newer songs have the catchy melodic harmony going on or the massive creed-like riffs which “Hanging by a Moment” had. Although now it seems as if the band really is hanging by a moment in regards to hanging on to their old fame.
In their second album in 2002, Stanley Climbfall, they attempt to use the same strategy in which they got their success from. The album provides a powerful sound and is very speaker friendly. The hit song of the album, “Spin” is fast-paced and has an aggressive motivation within itself. In the song, Lifehouse sings about how his life can be going the complete wrong way because of a certain someone in his life and that he would have it no other way. He shows how his life is completely going the wrong way when he sings, “And the world keeps spinning around/my world’s upside down.” Lifehouse then states, “I've got nothing else to lose/I lost it all when I found you and I wouldn't change a thing/you and I wouldn't change a thing,” showing that the reason his life is going the wrong way and that he lost it all was when he found that someone. He does not care though because he found this person and he would still do it over again.
This is Lifehouse’s least successful album. They tried to match their first album with the same ideas but really couldn’t regenerate that same sound. Had they not produced that first album, this album would seem a satisfactorily decent one but it just did not live up to the expectations. Their skills were sufficient enough but they were just simply beat by the hype.
Over the next two years, the trio’s third and self-titled album, Lifehouse, has showed that time has passed. The album shows a complete change of style and can be looked as of a kind of “rebirth.” One can tell from the very first song “Come Back Down” that the band’s approach at this album is more melodic and poetic. This album’s hit “You and Me” is much mellower than the other hits and offers an optimistic tone. In “You and Me,” Lifehouse yet again sings about being bummed out over girls and explains how a certain girl makes him go “googly-eyed” and confused. Lifehouse shows this when he sings “All of the things that I want to say just aren't coming out right/I'm tripping on words/You've got my head spinning/I don't know where to go from here.” When he’s trying to speak, he can not properly say what he wants to say because of this girl. This girl has made his head all confused and he can’t think properly enough to figure out what to do.
“You and Me” had the potential to be a classic mellow song but was unluckily dubbed as another song to use on the next teenage drama series such as The O.C. or One Tree Hill. Although many critics believe this album to be a step backwards for the band because it was of a slower tune and nothing like it’s first hit, it’s more of a step in a different direction. But still, because the band decided to take this step, they still weren’t successful in getting themselves out of the predicament that they are in.
Their latest album which came out in 2007, Who We Are, comes back with its upbeat songs but very much different than the first album. It can be viewed as a hybrid between the other three albums because it contains all the elements the other albums had. This album’s hit single “First Time” is a very quick paced song with a catchy rhythm that can compete with “Hanging by a Moment” but just can’t quite beat it. In “First Time”, Lifehouse sings about girls again with his lyrics, “I'm feeling alive all over again/As deep as the scar, under my skin/Like being in love, she says, for the first time/Maybe I'm wrong, I'm feeling right/Where I belong with you tonight/Like being in love to feel for the first time.” The lyrics are about that whenever he is with this girl, he always feels alive and right and it is as if he is in love for the first time again.
This is probably Lifehouse’s closest attempt in reaching their star status and is the best album since No Name Face. Although they still can’t beat their former song in this album, it seems as if Lifehouse has an aura of success. This album shows a more refined type of music and a more mature band. They created a “hybrid album” and utilized styles from their old albums as well as trying out new ideas. “First Time” was a hit and was able to gain some decent exposure.
Over the better part of the decade, Lifehouse have been in a constant war with themselves. In order to gain back the exposure they once had, it is necessary that they defeat “Hanging by a Moment” and finally put it in the grave with newer and superior songs. Don’t take this as the band being a failure though. It is actually quite the opposite. The latest three albums are successful and would have gained lots more fame had the first not existed. They have become a respected veteran rock group, stayed very active in terms of touring and putting out albums, and didn’t fall into the emo, indie, and pop trend in order to gain popularity. They stuck with their original alternative rock ideas to produce a different sound. These guys are only in their mid 20’s currently and still have a lot of gas in them to put out brilliant pieces before their time runs out. If you want to listen to some great alternative rock, make sure Lifehouse is one of your larger priorities, especially Who We Are.