Rebel, Sweetheart

Studio Album by released in 2005
Rebel, Sweetheart's tracklist:
Days of Wonder
The Passenger
The Beautiful Side of Somewhere
Here He Comes (Confessions of a Drunken Marionette)
We're Already There
God Says Nothing Back
Back to California
I Am a Building
From the Bottom of My Heart
Nearly Beloved
How Far You've Come
All Things New Again

Rebel, Sweetheart review

With over 6 million records sold and 2 Grammy’s under their belts, The Wallflowers have released their fifth album and first with producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen). Rebel, Sweetheart is the welcome re-introduction to a grown up rock & roll band with a renewed sense of purpose. The Wallflowers have created an album that yearns for clarity while reflecting the world’s complexity – these are songs written by a man and performed by a band that’s already lived a little. From the powerful expression of hope on the first single The Beautiful Side Of Somewhere to the moodily stunning We’re Already There, Rebel, Sweetheart is poised to be the most focused and accomplished album of their career.

The Wallflowers continue to play straight ahead rock & roll, and even if Jakob sounds more like Bruce Springsteen than daddy Bob, every song is handcrafted in the finest rock sense. While their previous album may have tried to please too many people, Rebel, Sweetheart returns to what The Wallflowers do best – make rock & roll, just like they did back in the classic rock days. Each of the 12 songs is engaging, thought-provoking, melodic, and layered. Producer Brendan O'Brien brings his signature techniques to the album, layering the songs with various guitars, keys, and vocals. Every song is written by Jakob Dylan, whose songwriting talents are in top form. The themes in the songs reflect the title of the album: a tension between fighting who and where you are vs. finding contentment in being that person in that place. Dylan paints a lot of situations where a fight is warranted. In Here He Comes (Confessions of a Drunken Marionette) an exploited puppet realizes there might be a way out. A song with a unique and catchy sound, I Am A Building, portrays a character who is defeated, closed, & abandoned, but then sees things differently. Or, in Back to California, there's a promise of hope by returning to the way things were. In From The Bottom of My Heart, a beautiful ballad with minimal instrumentation accompanying Dylan's honest vocals, we learn the lesson of the perseverance. There are many ways to rebel. And then sometimes, it's best to accept. A stand out track, We're Already There, is just one song that explores this side of acceptance. The lesson is in the title of the song How Far You've Come, with a message about altering our perspective instead of the world around us. And finally, Nearly Beloved, a contradictory song: upbeat in tempo but full of struggle.

While some may fight everything and err on the side of being always the rebel, others may resign themselves to accepting "whatever comes their way". There's a delicate and beautiful balance between resistance and acceptance. The beauty is in finding happiness in both roles. When a bunch of rock & roll songs, with catchy lines and foot-tapping melodies can teach us life lessons that profound, that is good music. The Wallflowers are a delight to listen to. If ever a dull moment manifests itself into your life, play Rebel, Sweetheart and be prepared for a carnival of sounds. After the less than stellar response Red Letter Days received, some feared The Wallflowers days as radio busters were numbered. And although they still may be, at least the music loving public has been blessed with one more outing by Dylan Jr. and his alliance of bandmates.

(02.06.2005)
Rate review4.78
Total votes - 14


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