Blind Melon
For My Friends



by MassiveAttack USER (91 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2010 | 8 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Warren speaks the truth: "It all comes tumbling down".

There's something about a band that crumbled due to their lead singer's demise that makes me cringe when they decide to give it a last hoorah. It's not that that the lead singer is the entire heart and soul of the group (this wasn't the case in Alice In Chains), but it's always clearly a large part of their sound. Thankfully Alice In Chains decided not force the vocals to sound like the late and enigmatic Layne Staley. Blind Melon, a band that clearly was drawn by their free-loving, more often than not drug induced lead singer Shannon Hoon opted for the format I utterly despise. It seemed all too familiar when they looked to keep their sound intact by making their now-former lead singer Travis Warren hide in the shadow of Hoon; to put it bluntly its noticeable once he detaches from Hoon's vocal persona or should I say try to keep pace with it.

The psychedelic and mixture of folk and blues within both their self-titled debut and more experimental Soup had a fantastic mellow feeling that was drawn out by the band collectively. They were an unlikely combination and always seemed as if they were just jamming instead of recording, something that is still prevalent within their reunification album - For My Friends, the instruments still breath life within every crevice of the music that opens due to the hole that isn't strikingly noticeable until a few tracks later.

Once the album moves forward it becomes painfully apparent the band doesn't seem to know where to head in terms of vocal distinction. Warren bobbles between rendition howling of Hoon, as seen in the beginning of "Down On The Pharmacy", but it only becomes a glimpse and soon Warren takes his approach. In no means is Warren a bad or mediocre singer; it's just he's far too similar to the man that is and was the heart and soul of this band. Blind Melon's debut is more predominately known for their fantastic single "No Rain", but its full of diamonds in the rough like "Tomes of Home", "I Wonder", "Change", and "Holyman". The same can be said for their last album as the first formation with Shannon. Soup, the experimental barrage of psychedelic, folk, and even jazz is perplexing and inspiring to say the least. For My Friends seems to have a void that lacks any kind of distinction that those albums had. Instrumentally they sound as they first did on their debut and their second wave of influence is non-existent, which is unfortunate because it was beautifully flawed in many ways.

It's difficult to sit and detail the problems with For My Friends for the fact it isn't a true Blind Melon record in the sense it was meant to be and what most of us expect from them. Warren's vocals start to fall apart when he begins to lower his energetic tones, but unlike what he was meant to do he can't match Hoon's superior almost lethargic singing abilities - the melancholic, passively beautiful, almost lazy tone he inhibited in so much of Soup. You can see the problem as it rises to the surface every time Warren tries to incorporate Blind Melon's past patterns on this release - energetic over rambunctious songs under weary, almost lazy emotion that pins it for most of the other outings. For the most part For My Friends shows that the band still has what it takes to continue their sound, but until they find a competent singer that doesn't stay under Hoon's shadow for more than most of the album then Blind Melon won't be any more interesting then the next release any other reunited group.

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user ratings (38)

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 2nd 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

This probably seems a bit overly harsh, but I couldn't really sit through most of this; case in point: Last Laugh, Hypnotized. Review might be a bit bland, but I haven't written in quite some time and I had to pick this up after a brief inactive stint, but at least we got a review for this album now eh?

July 2nd 2010


Nice review. The debut and Soup are great, I was planning on checking Nico and this out as well.

July 2nd 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

Nico is totally worth it...this isn't.

July 2nd 2010


Thankfully Alice In Chains decided not (to?) force the vocals to sound like the late and enigmatic Layne Staley

I agree with you 100% on this album, nice review Marko

I just unearthed my copy of their debut last week and have been bumping it again--so good.

September 29th 2010


nice review Marko, good to see you writing again. This is not my type of music, but very rarely do our tastes coincide anyway so it's predictable already haha. I still need to get that Nitzer Ebb album, though.

March 24th 2013


This is a terrible review. Marko Polovina states in paragraph one "It's not that that the lead singer is the entire heart and soul of the group" then he goes on to assert in paragraph 3 "In no means is Warren a bad or mediocre singer; it's just he's far too similar to the man that is and was the heart and soul of this band." I seems to me he is the one who is totally hung up on comparing Shannon to Travis and 1991 Blind Melon to 2008 Blind Melon. What would he say about Kid Rock? and he is the same dude!

If you listen to this record as you would an other record from a band you like it is very good, if not great. Tracks 1 and 3 "For My Freinds" and "Wishing Well" are 100% jamworthy and will not disappoint any true Blind Melon fans. Track 9-"Last Laugh" Really rocks. It has a weird 50's vibe in my mind like that number Pearl Jam did "Last Kiss" which was written and sung by Wayne Cochran in 1961. The last track "Cheetum Street" is a soulful little bluesy number you can ease on into and get your groove on in a Rolling Stones "Waiting on a Friend" kinda way.

If you are really hung up on comparing Travis to Shannon and are dead set on looking for flaws and shortcomings it is really your loss. This is a really good album and if you are like me and are a Blind Melon fan that missed this when it came out you will be glad you bought it and will really enjoy spending time with your ol pals.

March 26th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

I know, I'm terrible. You should write a counter review, I'd like to see it.

March 26th 2013


good review

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