Review Summary: John Ondrasik decides to equally spend his time on all of the tracks this time around.
Mentioning "Five For Fighting" to the average music listener may cause them to conjure up memories of the band's past songs, “100 Years” and “Superman (It’s Not Easy)”. These songs blew up in the mainstream when they were released roughly half a decade ago respectively, as they combined John Ondrasik’s perfectly-pitched radio voice and a soaring melody sung over a memorable piano performance. Creating an album of forgettable piano tunes seems to have been John Ondrasik's tactic in the music business up this point. But suffice it to say, he has always included a defining key track that is primarily responsible for the majority of the album sales.
This year marks the fourth studio release from the singer-songwriter in the simply titled, Slice
. As it turns out, things are slightly more balanced in terms of song quality this time around, and the album keeps a fairly consistent flow because of it. For example, lead single “Chances” is not a homerun of a track as previous lead singles were, however, a listen to the other tracks will actually prove that there are many songs here that could have been the lead single in its place. This in turn actually lifts the album slightly above John’s past efforts as while once there was an abundance of filler, there is now a more equal distribution of pop quality.
Piano and string orchestrations are the main rule for the day on Slice
, and for the artist’s commercial benefit, things are played rather safe. “Slice”, “Tuesday”, “This Dance”, “Chances”, and “Story Of Your Life” are all pinpoint shots at middle-aged woman looking for nostalgic outputs for memories of their younger lives. Elsewhere, John delivers a pretentious and awkward ode to a soldier with second track, “Note To The Unknown Soldier”, from which he goes on to offer the listener a track about love
in the aptly titled, “Love Can’t Chance the Weather”. The latter effort isn’t really all that convincing given John’s vocal delivery coupled with blunt imagery within the lyrics. Furthermore, the song might have been more suitable for inclusion during a lesson on Sesame Street
. “Transfer” is a highlight and interesting track as the hook lies within the verses instead of the chorus and positively carries the listener through the tale of the song.
In summary, Five For Fighting’s Slice
offers more of a consistent album of piano tunes in comparison to past efforts, but at the same time, lacks a defining track that listeners have come to expect from John Ondrasik. Most of the melodies here are sugary sweet, the lyrics blunt and to the point, and the instrumentation of the tracks (while equally fitting) tends to come across as simplistic. Taking this combination of elements and Slice
makes for a suitable combination of consistent and ambiguious radio tunes that just so happen to be perfectly inoffensive and ironically enough, perfectly average as well.