Joshua Radin
The Rock and the Tide


2.5
average

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
October 15th, 2010 | 44 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is a move Radin had to make sooner or later, but this time the results are very average.

Joshua Radin has always been a poor man’s Elliott Smith – from the gently whispered vocals to the lyrical content, his acoustic atmospheres were what you might call Gray’s Anatomy music. That isn’t a bad thing, mind you. Some of his earlier melodies, like “Winter” and “Closer” are absolutely breathtaking. But unfortunately, as Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), John Vesely (Secondhand Serenade), and a number of other exclusively acoustic artists found out, the effect is very difficult to keep fresh. In what appears to be a preemptive strike against becoming stale, Joshua Radin pulls out all the stops with his newest record, The Rock and the Tide.

One thing fans will immediately notice about the album is how Radin introduces an entire array of new instruments. The opening track “Road to Ride On” commences with heavier drums, more electric guitars than acoustic ones, and a bouncy, upbeat atmosphere. It actually sounds more like something that would open a Killers album than a Joshua Radin album, but he still manages to pull it off quite well. He fuses a more energetic sound with optimistic lyrics that serve as a metaphor for the new path his music is taking, “Turn the light on, give us road to ride on / help ensure survival / now there’s a new day, sing with us a new way.” The song sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the album, and many of the tracks that follow attempt to emulate its sound. Unfortunately, most of those efforts are futile.

The majority of the time, Radin’s melodies simply fail to be as interesting as the music. “Here We Go”, for instance, emanates from a style similar to the opener. It features a heavily synthesized drum beat that dictates the song’s tempo, but, like a lot of the album’s attempts to beef things up, it ends up sounding boring, predictable, and contrived. “Nowhere to Go”, “You’re Not as Young”, and “Wanted” all suffer the same fate, with faster, more attractive tempos that lack bottom-line substance. Radin seems content here to settle for marginally intriguing lyrics and half-sung/half-muttered verses that do nothing to make the listener feel any kind of emotion. Considering that melody and lyrics were always his greatest strengths, The Rock and the Tide drops the ball noticeably outside of a couple of standout songs that either (a) feature a delectable chorus or (b) revert to the primarily acoustic atmosphere of his prior works. For instance, “We Are Only Getting Better” succeeds because it possesses a memorable chorus that matches the song’s tempo, and “Think I’ll Go Inside” features intricate acoustic guitar picking that plays to Radin’s greatest strength: his soft, sensitive vocals and lyrics. The rest of the time, one is left to wonder if Radin himself will ever step up to match the instrumental portions of his songs. More often than not, he simply bores the listener.

The Rock and the Tide is by no means a complete failure, though. As I mentioned before, songs like “Road to Ride On” and “We Are Only Getting Better” see Radin successfully combine his trademark soft-rock vocals with greater instrumental variety and a faster tempo. He also has a few instances in which he recreates his vintage, completely acoustic sound. The vast majority of the The Rock and the Tide, however, meanders through run of the mill hooks and pedestrian lyrics. This is a move Radin had to make sooner or later, but this time the results are very average.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
2.4
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Pretty short write up, not much to talk about here.

Kind of a dissappointing album. If you want to hear his best work, listen to "We Were Here"

Digging: Have a Nice Life - The Unnatural World

BigHands
October 15th 2010


338 Comments


Some guy at work rec'd one of his albums to me and I thought it was gayer than aids at first. Grew a little bit. Elliott Smith he is not however.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

he's definitely no elliott smith. his earlier stuff is very good, but here he tries to branch out and basically just fucks up.

BigHands
October 15th 2010


338 Comments


William Fitzsimmons is way better too.

CelestialDust
October 15th 2010


3157 Comments


i really liked what i heard from the 30 second clips on itunes hmmmm

Spec
October 15th 2010


27304 Comments


Really don't like his music.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

We Were Here is amazing. Everything after that has been average or below average, IMO

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

not gonna lie you'd probably hate this lakes

i didnt even like it enough to write one of my long reviews

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

for those interested:

http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/#/6

album stream

CelestialDust
October 15th 2010


3157 Comments


oh cool thanks!

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


7321 Comments


Good review Sowing. That said I found it rather jarring that your final line in the review is the same as the summary lol. We all know you can do better than that =)

Still, big pos to you. I particularly like the way you fillet albums - the penultimate paragraph is particularly good.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thanks irving, i actually do that a lot of the time - i write the review first, then just pick a line from it as the summary. maybe i should change that more often...im actually kinda meh about this review, just wrote what I was thinking as I was thinking it.

anyway, im not sure if you like soft alt-rock like this, but if you do check out radin's debut it is pretty good. much better than this.

ConsiderPhlebas
October 15th 2010


6157 Comments


Grey's anatomy music. God no.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


7321 Comments


Lol, I actually didn't notice that. Maybe I just happen to remember the reviews in which you don't do them? Haha!

Hmmm, I'm actually not entirely sure if I like the genre; but there's one sure-as-hell way to find out - I'll check out Radin's debut if I can! =)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

honestly most people dont like his debut as much as me

but if you want to hear songs that will pique your interest, look up Winter and Closer. If you don't like them, chances are you won't like anything this guy does.

Foxhound
October 16th 2010


4570 Comments


Only reading this cause I like who wrote it. Imo sounds boring as f***. Album cover is buckets of lolz though.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

aw i like you too foxhound. *blushes*

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2010


7321 Comments


Hahahaha dang, couldn't help but lol at the above exchange!

Sorry sorry I'll leave you two lovebirds alone and in private.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2010


17017 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this review sucks

Foxhound
October 16th 2010


4570 Comments


Who the hell is Irving and why does he attempt at communicating with users who are unquestionably more awesome than himself???



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