Saturday, August 05, 2006

Two Lights

The “adult contemporary”, f.k.a. “soft rock”, king, Five For Fighting, a.k.a. John Ondrasik, is back with a new ablum Two Lights (Columbia Records). His last two efforts America Town (2000) and The Battle for Everything (2004) featured the hits “Superman (It’s not easy)” and “100 Years”, respectivly. Outside of the Superman-theme context, “Superman (It’s not easy)” has perhaps the most absurd lyrics (e.g. “It’s not easy to be me”) apart from The Who’s Baba O’Riley (“I don't need to be forgiven”).

Two Lights is continuity with his previous work that features a familiar soft sound and observational lyrics. However, this time around, “Two Lights” gives way to a less self-absorbed worldview. There are hopeful signs that he is attempting to grow beyond the exclusive Philistine genre that forms the malaise of most contemporary popular music that seeks “to present a message” rather than “just be fun.”

John Ondrasik makes an effort through music to support our men and women — strange days indeed for women— who are in the military in service to our country and others.

Freedom Never Cries

I Saw a man on the TV
In a mask with a gun
A man on the TV
He had a ten-year old son
I Saw a man on the TV
His son had a gun
He says that he's coming for me

I never loved the soldier until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
'til my baby hit the floor
I only talk to God when somebody's about to die
I Never cherished Freedom

Freedom never cries.

I Wrote a song for a dead man
To settle my soul
A song for a dead man
Now I'll never grow old
I Wrote a song for a dead man
Now I'm out in the cold
What's a song to a dead man to me?

Two Lights

He was young just 23
Didn't have to go
But it was the man he wanted to be
Like every son he was an only one
One day he came to me, said
Freedoms nothing to look over
Till each man can stand upon its shoulder
I'll right you mountains of letters
Each one a little bit better
And know I'll never be alone

Ondrasik’s voice can be a bit disconcerting but it’s refreshing to hear a nice range including his characteristic falsetto that’s not a falsetto. I can’t really point out any duds on Two Lights. It may take a few spins to warm up. “Easy Tonight” (a nice acoustic version is available on iTunes) and other songs from America Town required such a “warm up” here, very close to the Southern New Hampshire border.

You may visit Five For Fighting here.

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