It’s almost refreshing when a recording artist releases a new album that centers only on one theme. With Andrew Reed’s latest release If All The World Were Right, the singer/songwriter channels the power of positive thinking, while also delivering some good old fashioned slices of Americana. But alas, despite its inspirational ambitions, which are admirable, the new concept album just feels so samey samey from song-to-song.
Kicking off the record with the sounds of a lonely beach, Andrew Reed kicks off with a soothing and pleasant called “Sailed Away” that feels light and friendly enough, but there’s not much to get out of it. It’s like listening to a self-help audiobook set to folk music and jamband sounds. There’s a sense of empowerment and joy that spread throughout the song, but as soon as we get to the next track that feeling comes right back with “Cure My Mind.” And then again with “Life in the City,” then again with “Putting Things in Order.” And so on and so on.
While it might seem great that Reed is keeping to the theme of his concept album, it really never explores those messages of positivity and just declines into banality. There’s just something so in-offensive about If All The World Were Right that it just doesn’t create a lasting impression with this listener. Even the title track boils down to a spiritual cattle call that really never really says anything about anything. It’s something that’s just there and quickly leaves your mind as soon as the song is over.
It’s not a problem with songwriting or construction, it’s actually pretty strong in that sense with driving guitar work from Reed and walking basslines from Trevor Walker and Rob Geisler, but it just seems too hippy-dippy for my taste. While, again, it is admirable for a concept album to center on notions of positive thinking that’s truly inspirational, especially in these modern times, it just seems like a small dent in the bigger damn of life.
But maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. There might be something to the power of positivity, as Andrew Reed continues down the path of life and everything around it. After all, he did opt to release If All The World Were Right on January 1, 2018, a day usually reserved for change for the better. However, New Year’s resolutions usually don’t stick throughout the month of January, so it seems that the overall message of positive-thinking is lost on those who gave up on their resolutions so soon.
Overall, If All The World Were Right is perfectly suitable for anyone who likes their music to be completely inoffensive and safe. But I just prefer music that’s a little bit deeper than that. However, the penultimate track “Sailed Away (Reprise)” ends with a beautiful and pleasurable addition of smooth trumpet sounds from Alex Bradley. It’s pretty delightful. But the last track undercuts it with a pretty hokie poem that serves as the album’s mission statement. It just seems like a well-worn message after listening to song after song about virtually the same thing.
Songs – C-
Technical – C
Overall – C-
If All The World Were Right by Andrew Reed is out now on Spotify and Apple Music. For more info, check out AndrewReedMusic.com.