Our Lady Peace
Healthy In Paranoid Times


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
September 1st, 2005 | 34 replies | 10,934 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


Music and politics, politics and music. 2005, like so many years before it, has seen the boundaries between the two temporarily blurred. The big occasion this year was the Live8 concert series, at which a multitude of fat, aging rockers told us what to do while younger, more popular acts concentrated on doing their jobs, i.e. music. The target was global poverty. During the week following the concerts, the leaders of the world�s 8 richest countries were to meet to discuss various world issues, including global poverty. An elite think-tank of political minds met to discuss a course of action with which they could convince the world�s two most powerful men that their way was the right way. They came up with a simple powerful message, �Wristbands For Sale.� The plan worked, Bono and Bob Geldof were delighted. A press conference was called immediately. The concerts which followed featured performances by U2, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, The Who, Green Day, Motley Crue, Brian Wilson, Bon Jovi and among dozens of other bands, Our Lady Peace.

Since 2001 Raine Maida, frontman of Canadian alt-rockers Our Lady Peace, has been heavily involved with the War Child Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation which operates with the objective of helping children affected by war, wherever in the world they may be. Four years ago, he traveled to Baghdad and Karbala and witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by war. Last year he spent time in Khartoum and Darfur, Sudan, highlighting the horror of the civil conflict there. Despite his best efforts, little has been done by the global community to combat the� combat. The band�s sixth studio album, Healthy In Paranoid Times, is Maida�s diary-of-sorts. Here he releases the anger, frustration and heartbreak he�s built up on his travels.

Lead single Where Are You(rhetorically phrased without a question mark) echoes the Killers and Franz Ferdinand while effortlessly surpassing the achievements of each, years of songwriting experience showing the band is adept at many styles. Energetic and exuberant, the single suffers not for its lack of stylistic originality, while deliberately ambiguous lyrics hide behind a confident, Bono-inspired vocal.

�Is it different now? Or did Jesus get it right? Or is the devil behind the light?�

Opening track Angels/Losing/Sleep is the best song the album, simply put. It opens with light acoustic guitar and softly sung vocals before the band kicks in for a track which could almost be an outtake from Happiness Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch save for the rather direct politically-motivated lyrics. Conventional wisdom would declare that a rock song featuring the lyric �Looks like the war was in your head not your heart� to be an attack on that oppressor of arabs and middle-class whites alike, George W. Bush, however in this case one can�t be sure. Given the context of the album, it�s hard to say who�s the subject.

Will The Future Blames Us may provide an answer as it seems to confirm that Raine has declared all-out war against question marks. Punctuative militancy aside, it is in a frankly personal lyric that Raine expresses first frustration with, presumably, his time traveling with War Child and then resignation to his ultimate failure. The chorus simply laments, �I don�t ask why anymore.� Musically, the song is noticeably improved for Jeremy Taggart�s excited drumming which seems to indicate, finally, that the drummer has become a fully contributing member of the band after his near invisibility on the previous album.

Picture seems to be another personal account of his adventures, documenting, perhaps, troubles with his wife as he pleads, �Don�t take my picture down/Don�t erase everything that we had � Please pick up the phone.� Again, what is most notable, aside from the beautiful vocal, is Taggart�s drumming which sounds like that of a different drummer to the one credited on Gravity.

My first real experience of Our Lady Peace was in the summer of 2003 when I saw the band perform a short set at a state fair. One of the two �new� songs they tried out was Wipe That Smile Off Your Face. Introduced as a musical rant against those two-faced people we all have in our lives, the song utilises wartime imagery (spot a theme?) to symbolise a broken friendship, �This is war � The time has come to drop the bomb on all the pain that you�ve been causing.�

Love And Trust and Boy are stark expressions of the hopelessness Raine feels as he seeks a solution to the problems of the world. The former is driven by a pounding rhythm section and takes the form of a son speaking to his parents, �This 21st Century is a mess � The crazy world has lost its mind and it�s out fault.� The latter features Raine�s inner voice, telling him, �Boy/You�ll be running but can�t get anywhere/Don�t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.� Delay-soaked guitars abound on this track which will inevitably draw comparisons with U2.

Apology and Walking In Circles are musically pleasing, though lyrically ordinary. The latter, in particular, is worthy of note as it has potential to become a next single. Again echoing the Killers and their ilk, the track simply reiterates Maida�s frustration with his situation.

Don�t Stop is a desperate love song in which Raine expresses his willingness to die for his wife. The lyrics are stark, simple and moving, �No-one will ever compare/Ever be better than you.� The song also features the lyric from which the album title is derived, Everyone�s losing their minds/Healthy in paranoid times.� World On A String sounds like �Annie�s� long-lost cousin, though the lyrics are personal, �When I�m down on my knees/And it hurts to believe/I�m bleeding/You�ll bring me back to life.�

What separates Healthy In Paranoid Times from the glut of self-righteous stadium-rock albums that have been released this past year? Simply, Raine Maida does. The bourgeois arrogance which typifies the �Make Poverty History� campaign of Bono, Geldof, Martin & Co. doesn�t sit here. Maida knows that no amount of wristbands sold will help solve the world�s problems, be they hunger or war. Maida expresses terribly human emotions, like anger and hate, which separates him from the largely cold campaign waged by the Live8 organisers. Perhaps as importantly, Maida doesn�t have to seek out other bands in order to put on a good show. Our Lady Peace aren�t re-inventing the wheel with their latest effort, but they�re not re-inventing better, and with more purpose, than any other band on the scene at the moment.

And so, the haunting Al Genina (Leave The Light On) is a fitting way to finish the album. The anger and frustration, the desperation which pervades throughout the album resolves itself, at least to an extent. The song features Raine�s best vocal on the album which is appropriate as the song is the most personal to be found here.



"Al Genina (Leave The Light On)"

Fell asleep today
North Ontario
Woke up far away
A place I didn't know
A woman smiled at me
She said, welcome to my home
Life is different here she says it's not
Camouflage with gold
And hey leave the light on for me
And hey leave the light on for me, yeah

Might not make it home
I can't leave here tonight
Not afraid to live
Not afraid to die
And hey, leave a light on for me
And hey, leave a light on for me




Recent reviews by this author
And So I Watch You From Afar GangsAll Time Low Dirty Work
Linkin Park A Thousand SunsAdebisi Shank This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called...
AFI Crash Lovefun. Aim and Ignite
user ratings (120)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
RyanStagno (2.5)
Healthy In Paranoid Times is an apparent farewell to the metaphoric lyrics, the consistency of the s...

Mike Stagno EMERITUS (3)
Our Lady Peace slips a little, but still puts forth a decent release....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Cross Out The Eyes
September 1st 2005



42 Comments


this sounds like a good album i think i buy it
that was a great review

Tenfootbrett
September 1st 2005



149 Comments


I'll admit, the length turned me off of it.

but what I read was well informed and well written. And I'm going to give the album a shot. I used to love these guys, until Spiritual Machines came out, which I found to be a load of candyass pop, whereas Clumsy and Naveed were both stylish, heavier rock. (Happiness is not a fish.. was kind of a compromise, which I quite enjoyed).

anyways, thanks for the words, I hope I'll like this as much as you did.

Tenfootbrett
September 1st 2005



149 Comments


sigh... I haven't heard it all yet, but what I have is just more of the same from spiritual machines.

I guess I'll retreat into Clumsy's open arms.

Motleyguy
September 3rd 2005



118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

god I love this album it's amazing, I picked up at 10am on tuesday as soon as the store opened, and thru some crazy contest managed to get an autographed copy and a wristband to an exclusive acoustic performance next week...pretty sweet, considering they are on of my favourite bands...this album shows that OLP has moved out of it's "generic rock" phase that was Gravity and back to the more creative stuff we all love them for...great review, good analysis of the lyrics...for some reason I see OLP becoming the next U2 after this release

Tenfootbrett
September 3rd 2005



149 Comments


god, if you want them to become another U2, all hope for you is lost.

U2 is BAD. BAD POP ROCK. BAD. BAD. BAD. AWFUL. And Clumsy is way better than the new album. technically, and in terms of lyrics. (the new stuff is way too feel-good and "there's so much suffering in the world, let's help people!". One Man Army, Automatic Flowers, Naveed, Story of 1000 Aisles, Big Dumb Rocket will always be their best.

incubus62086
September 8th 2005



147 Comments


good review, great album. a very different direction but still kickin.

sucubusforallofus
September 15th 2005



8 Comments


i agree, very different direction. i like this tho, but it is one of their weakest albums IMO. World On A String is sooooo good however

El_Goodo
September 22nd 2005



1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It looks like Im the only one who thinks this ablum isnt very good. I like Angels/Losing/Sleep and a few other songs, but the single and the majority of the songs are no where close to all of there previous albums. (Hapiness and Spiritual being my favourite).

Rudd13
September 22nd 2005



952 Comments


Not a five, but I'd say at most a 3.5 from me.

I prefer Clumsy. Superman's dead will never get old

Tenfootbrett
September 23rd 2005



149 Comments


Clumsy was brilliant. I've been listening to it alot lately.

Motleyguy
October 4th 2005



118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I find this album and OLP amazing. Spiritual Machines is by far my favourite album by them, it's the album that got me into rock music...but this is my new second favourite, the music just has a nice vibe.

Tenfootbrett
October 4th 2005



149 Comments


dude, the songwriting in Clumsy is UNIQUE and stylish in it's own right. The albums released since have been formulaic and uplifting in a really, insanely trite manner. They still make good music, but they've dropped their uniqueness and their ability to genuinely ROCK AND FRICKIN' ROLL for a happy, floaty, pop feel.

Captain_HumpYourFace
October 4th 2005



119 Comments


I think Raine is getting up their with Bono for the title of the most self rightious egomaniacal asshole in rock today. I've pretty much despised everything this band has put out since Clumsy.

Still I need to give this album some credit, it's definatly the best OLP album to come out since Clumsy. Lyrically I still find it bland and annoying. The songwriting always seems forced to me, like he's trying as hard as he can to sound deep but is really just saying the same things about the world every band is these days.

Captain_HumpYourFace
October 5th 2005



119 Comments


"Personally, I find him far more sincere. Unlike Bono, he actually goes to places like Sudan and Iraq, instead of preaching from his mansion."

Yeah, I'll give him a lot of respect for that and I think my earlier comment was too harsh. My problems really are more from the songwriting then the man's personality he really does care about the world and continues to visit places that need help throughout his life.

Not like Bono who always pops up and starts telling us who we should be helping with out tax dollars every time U2 puts out another recycled sh!t album and then disappears once the tour starts. I really hate Bono.

I think I need to give this album a few more listens, gotta borrow it off my friend again and listen to it a little more open-mindedly this time. I'm sure there's something good in there it's just hard for me to find.

Motleyguy
October 5th 2005



118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I find Happiness..., Spiritual Machines and Healthy in Paranoid Times all extremely unique. Gravity not so much, but that was because they rushed it and just wanted to get something out, but the others are all extremely unique.

Two-Headed Boy
October 30th 2005



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review,excellent album i didn't like Gravity too much though ...

Music_Is_My_Life
January 24th 2006



100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

IMO This album is definitely not up to par with OLP's older stuff. That said, it was somewhat redeemed in my eyes when I saw them perform some of these songs live as they sounded amazing. Of course, all their songs sound amazing live. Good review, good album, amazing band.

JustForgetDecember
January 30th 2006



2 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I still think happiness is not a fish that you can catch is the best cd by them.


Two-Headed Boy
March 12th 2006



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Got tickets to see them in May with Neverending White Lights.... :o

Music_Is_My_Life
April 4th 2006



100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

/ Lucky bastard. :P
Yeah I think Happiness... was their best so far. I really miss Mike Turner. His guitar work and style are, no disrespect to Steve Mazur, better suited to OLP and their sound IMO.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy