October 24th, my birthday had come and gone, and I was left to reap the benefits. Included in these benefits were at least $75 in gift certificates to some CD store. Like a kid in a candy store, I ran up and down the rows picking out my favorite band’s new CDs. Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie and many more found their way into my hands and eventually into my stereo. Finally, I was left with 9 dollars and the real hunt began. I had to find a cheap used CD under 10 dollars before my brother and dad made me leave. After about 10 minutes my eyes fell upon Snow Patrol’s Final Straw
. This wasn’t my first experience with Snow Patrol, being addicted to VH1 for quite a while, I had seen the video for “Run” quite a lot. I liked the song and my friend had told me the CD was quite good. So I bought it. Many listens have followed and now I sit at my Dell PC and type up an intro to the band’s new CD Eyes Open
out of year-old personal experiences. Moving my mouse to the Rhapsody icon on my desktop, I double click the play button and start my review.
After a few listens, I have decided to summarize Snow Patrol’s sophomore release for you. It’s not a huge departure from their debut, as Snow Patrol sticks to their tried and tested U2/Coldplay formula. But Eyes Open is different from Final Straw in that it is on some levels, a concept record. Each track is about love, or the loss of it. Each track gets progressively more sad, as the main character goes from being kind of clueless to the next turn his troubled relationship will make (Hands Open) to fully losing his love interest (Set the Fire to the Third Bar). In the same way, the songs get progressively better and more beautiful. Tracks like opener You Could Be Happy and first single Hands Open are great pop tunes with their soaring, early U2-esque guitars set the base for clever lyrics. Hands Open, the better of the two even manages to mention Sufjan Stevens in its catchy set of lyrics. Put Sufjan Stevens on /and we'll play your favorite song /"Chicago" bursts to life and your /sweet smile remembers you, my /Hands open, and my eyes open /I just keep hoping
/That your heart opens
flow off of lead singer Gary Lightbody’s tongue and fit perfectly over the lightly effected guitar music. These fun pop-songs slowly evolve into Kid-A era Radiohead-esque electronic ballads.
While the first two tracks are cool pop songs, the third is a preview of what is to come later on the album. Chasing Cars
is a tune that could not only top the charts but is truly beautiful as well, much like the track that introduced me to Snow Patrol “Run”. Chasing Cars is what Snow Patrol do best, beautiful soaring ballads. These ballads make many appearances on Eyes Open. Make This Go On Forever
is probably my favorite track on the album. Its heartbreaking lyrics fit like a puzzle over its equally heartbreaking music. The lyrics document the last desperate attempt to save a dying relationship. Please don't let this turn into something it's not/I can only give you everything I've got /I can't be as sorry as you think I should /But I still love you more than anyone else could
are the lyrics that open up the song. Make This Go on Forever’s ambient music perfectly evolves into the haunting piano chords that open the equally brilliant, Set the Fire to the Third Bar
. Said piano chords hold the album’s most chilling vocal performance high on their shoulders. Lightbody’s voice is paired with a girl’s on this song and it sounds great. Bells and light drums come into the song during the chorus. This song is truly a masterpiece.
The album ends on both a high note and a low note. The high note being that The Finish Line
is a brilliant song. Electronic ambience and snyth chords make up the majority of the music. Not to mention The Finish Line has some of the best vocals on the album. The low note is not really a low note in the sense that the end is bad, only that The Finish Line is a haunting, beautiful song but is also and incredibly depressing one. All in all, The Finish Line seems like a near perfect way to end a near perfect album. Some may not like the poppier side, some may not like the electronic, depressing side but I can’t find a bad song.