Fireworks
Oh, Common Life


5.0
classic

Review

by Mark A. CONTRIBUTOR (73 Reviews)
August 21st, 2014 | 20 replies


Release Date: 03/25/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Common life.

It's difficult describing exactly how hard Oh, Common Life hit me. It was subtle at first; only after the first few listens did it begin to resonate with me. I consistently look for albums that speak to me about the difficult emotional journeys that we all go through; that personal connection to an album that just makes you want to curl into a ball and leave the rest of the world behind. Oh, Common Life came to me at a time when I needed it desperately, and it was something that I didn't even know I was missing. Vocalist Dave Mackinder lost his father prior to the recording of the album, and it truly shows in the honest lyricism present on the album. When he isn't utilizing his unique vocals to recall heartbreakingly fond memories of his father, he's providing lyrical gems about fighting depression and fears of getting older. The lyrics often feel more like internal dialogue turned poetic than things anyone would feel comfortable spewing out through a microphone. And that is what makes this record so special; Mackinder is letting the listener into his world in a very personal way. The music switches from a jaunty pop punk sound to an energetic indie rock that swings from one end to the other to complement the vocals perfectly.

On a superficial level, it is easy to dismiss the album as a middle-of-the-road pop punk album. All of the ingredients are certainly there, complete with bouncy guitars and big choruses. Opener "Glowing Crosses" utilizes everything that is expected of the genre, complete with uptempo drumming and distorted guitars. As the album progresses, it becomes increasingly obvious that Fireworks have been able to combine memorable songwriting with big choruses and an unmatched penchant for storytelling in the lyrics. The band even slows down the pace to match the solemn verses in songs like "One More Creature Dizzy With Love" and "The Back Window's Down", making the confessional lyrics even more affecting. The music is undeniably rooted in nostalgia, especially in the distorted guitar in "Run, Brother Run", one of the album's best offerings. Perhaps the strongest part of Oh, Common Life is that meaningful lyricism aside, it is still an incredibly enjoyable album on the surface. If you don't enjoy poring over a lyrics sheet, you can still be moved by the vocal performance on "The Hotbed of Life" or the angular guitars of "Bed Sores".

Whether it's the insanely catchy qualities of "Flies On Tape" or the morose lyrics of "Woods", there is something here for any listener willing to open themselves up as well. Oh, Common Life ripped open a personal wound of mine that I had simply put a band-aid on, and I am all the better for it. It forced me to look at a life-changing event that happened over five years ago and dissect how painful it still is to me. Fireworks provided me a soundtrack that will allow me to grieve whenever I need to. Oh, Common Life will be the album that I listen to when I don't want anyone to know how broken I still am over the loss of my father, and I couldn't be more thankful for that. Fireworks showed me that life may be common for most of us, but that doesn't make it hurt any less.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
cryptside
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


2306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Really personal review, but I needed to write this. I hope it reads well, it's probably the most important review that I have written thus far.

Digging: Blood Gemini - Snow Season

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


3009 Comments


So, is this a 4 or a 5?

Great review by the way, ofc

cryptside
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


2306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Damn, that 4 was my initial rating haha. I forgot that it doesn't automatically update your rating when you write a review. Thanks dude!

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
August 21st 2014


14245 Comments


damn


Digging: Built to Spill - Untethered Moon

ScuroFantasma
August 21st 2014


3017 Comments


Really good review Mark. Its cool to see you do a review like this that's so personal and different from your other ones and you still nail it. Sorry to hear that you lost your father.

Digging: Testament - The Legacy

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


4175 Comments


Personal reviews can either be really well-written or just overly sentimental and whiny. Yours was the former, my friend. Pos'd hard.

Digging: Death Grips - The Powers That B - Part II: Jenny Death

cryptside
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


2306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Did you dig the rev, foxxxy? Can't tell what that damn means haha.



Thanks very much, Scuro and Oranges!

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


20437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man, this just might be your best review to date! I really enjoyed the personal aspect but you also have a really nice balance between the personal and informative stuff here. Excellent work Mark! I'm glad this album spoke to you so much.





Digging: Downfall of Nur - Umbras de Barbagia

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
August 21st 2014


14245 Comments


nah im gonna read it tho im just surprised at that rating. im sure youve justified it well tho

this didnt really stick with me but i only listened twice

cryptside
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


2306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks much, means a lot to me Aaron. I appreciate the kind words.



@foxxxy, totally understand. I was pretty close to giving up after the first few listens because it wasn't really sticking with me.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


20437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

of course man, you've earned it!



Not sure if you know about this or not, but they had released the title track 'Oh, Common Life' as a bonus track. It's acoustic i believe and not the best production but i love the song and think it should have been included in the album.



http://propertyofzack.com/post/81596209166/fireworks-stream-oh-common-life-bonus-song

cryptside
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


2306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ooh cool, will check tonight! Excited to hear it!

cryptside
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


2306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I wonder why they cut it from the album.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


20437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well it basically sounds like a demo so i'm not sure the song even made it to the studio haha. Love the lyrics on the title track tho, and i've never been too picky about production

Crawl
August 21st 2014


1703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is incredible, been planning to bump this to 4.5 lately

cryptside
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


2306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed Crawl, you should bump it!

Crawl
August 21st 2014


1703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

WHEN I TRY TO SLAM THEM SHUT UT UT



bumped, the chorus/whoas of the final track get me every time

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2014


18223 Comments


Brilliant review in my opinion. I like how you were able to pinpoint the album's objective shortcomings while still justifying the perfect score you assigned to it. That definitely shows skill with persuasive wording and opinion justification.

I love when an album just hits you. That's what happened recently with Low Roar's 0 for me; sometimes an album just needs to be listened to a certain number of times or at the right time to be fully understood - and I think you really get this album.

If I had a minor qualm or nitpick, it would be these:

The music is inexplicably rooted in nostalgia, especially in the distorted guitar in "Run, Brother Run", one of the album's best offerings.

I don't think inexplicably is the right word. You're saying it's unexplainably rooted in nostalgia, even though that makes complete sense seeing as it is about his deceased father. I think you were going for irrefutably or undeniably, or some such similar word.

Fireworks provided me a soundtrack that will allow me to grieve whenever I need to; Oh, Common Life will be the album that I listen to when I don't want anyone to know how broken I still am over the loss of my father, and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

The semicolon just makes this part run on too long, and a period is the correct punctuation there anyway.

But like I said, minor details in an otherwise great review. I hate quoting stuff from the review because it makes the criticisms look larger than the praise, but alas. Pos'd.

Digging: Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell

skoopy48
August 22nd 2014


1662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That title track rules, one of my faves from them, also great review

cryptside
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2014


2306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wow, thank you Sowing! I appreciate the feedback, and definitely agree on both points. I also appreciate your comment about getting the album, if only because it feels nice to have someone else validate your writing every now and then. It's good to feel like I know what I'm talking about haha. I've gotten tons of great positive feedback on this one, which is great because I took a chance by putting myself in it.





Thanks Skoopy! It's been awhile since I've seen you post!



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