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  • RE: Happy 7th Anniversary, OOTW

    @shawn Yeah, that release was a really special one. They went all-out; Flight came out in November and blew everyone’s minds, then Hurricane and the track list in January, the album art contest, releasing Wish as the third promo single, and then releasing four versions of the album (standard, iTunes deluxe, Target deluxe, and Collector’s + tin) with different songs in each. I too bought all three special versions immediately, and used the picks until they disintegrated.

    The Target edition is my favourite, since that version of Clarity is probably my most-listened-to song from the whole album. Yesterday’s Son, Hourglass, Flight, and Firing Squad were probably my other favourites in that order, along with Wish (though it’s almost a different song than the demo, much cheerier vibe which is good in its own right but not as moving as the demo for sure) and Après La Vie (a song I have a hunch J wrote after the finale of How I Met Your Mother - he posted about the show at the time and Cristin Milioti’s performance of La Vie En Rose in the last episode was very similar).

    Angeline and Exhale are both solid, and Exhale feels like it was written in the Blyss days; he follows the nearly unrhymed lyrical structure of early tracks like Joshua, May, and Simon. I preferred the acoustic version of Angeline he debuted in 2011 though; the ukulele he added to the Paper Cuts/Wasteland version was a touch bright for my liking. I found Alien to be a bit bright too, preferring the bouncier Guitar Centre Sessions version.

    A real sleeper song for me was Hurt This Way, which I think he wrote with a country artist and really introduced something brand new for the band and his writing; it was the first real storytelling song I can remember him writing, maybe besides Angeline. Far more specific details of things than in his earlier, broader writing style (keys buried in the grass / Springsteen references / old man tying one up tight etc, and down the road from Annehein, it’s my birthday, middle of our hometown) and I think these songs served as early inklings of a shift towards his ØZWALD lyrical style of singing about the details of things, not just these large thoughts about life that defined Lifehouse until 2010.

    The iTunes version had Hindsight and You Are Not Alone, the latter of which he played in a lot of medleys. Hindsight sounded like a Smoke & Mirrors outtake to me, as it had a bit of the bitterness found in those co-written songs from that era (Had Enough, Wrecking Ball, HTGT, Nerve Damage). H2O isn’t a track I listen to very often, but I think fits content-wise with Gresham and a lot of the more recent work he’s done. Still a great stand-alone track in a similar vein as Storm, All That I’m Asking For, and Aftermath.

    If there’s one thing I know for sure, my least favourite track is Hurricane, and One for the Pain is probably second. I just never quite bought either of them as overly genuine lyrically, though I still love the instrumentation and melody of OFTP.

    posted in Lifehouse
  • Happy 7th Anniversary, OOTW

    Seven year ago today, Lifehouse released Out of the Wasteland, its largest collection of songs and official b-sides in its history at nineteen tracks. It’s kinda wild to think that it’s been as long between then and now as it was between the release of Stanley Climbfall and Halfway Gone, and longer than the time between the release of No Name Face and Who We Are. Ugh… feeling old.

    Thoughts or memories on this album? I found it to be closest cousins with Who We Are, but wider-ranging by a sizeable margin. Every album has had a few ‘legendary’ songs that changed the gravity in the room when heard. Simon and Everything, Take Me Away or perhaps Wash, Blind, Broken and Signs of Life, Nerve Damage, Aftermath (and Goodbye Kanan too); Out if the Wasteland took a ton of musical risks that really paid off, with three songs continuing this trend: Flight, Hourglass, and an underdog of a song, Yesterday’s Son. We finally heard Wish and it was rendered gorgeously, Angeline made an appearance on the Target CD, and we got our first taste of Paper Cuts through some more fully-realized versions of Central Park and Clarity. Bryce got his first solo writing credit with the inclusion of Stardust, and other notable tracks like Runaways, Alien, Hurt This Way, and Après La Vie showed the breadth of songwriting the previous six albums had made clear. While I’m not the biggest fan of Hurricane or One for the Pain, hearing that crunchy guitar on the TV gigs they had around its release felt really good and took me back to some of their alt-rock days.

    The European tour that followed might go down as one of their greatest tours ever, musically — the solo set in the middle brought out Joshua, The Edge, Eighties, and several other little- or never-performed tracks, and they performed Flight live during some of the encores.

    Would love to hear any stories from this time period for ‘the listeners at home’. Favourite tracks, general opinions?

    posted in Lifehouse
  • RE: The Great Big Music Trivia Thread

    Hi all,

    Reviving this thread in preparation of a track-by-track commentary on Ode to Silence that I’ll be posting in the coming week. I was thinking about songs that were written in one era, but released in another, and this got me thinking about what Lifehouse songs fit this description. Let’s go through a few 🙂

    You and Me

    Written 2000, released 2005

    LH’s biggest hit, we likely all know, was written in the same few months as Hanging By A Moment — it began as a track called You, Me, and All of the People, written when Jason proposed to his now partner. Jude Cole is responsible for the relatively simple G chords that make up the song’s main theme, and this was likely their first cowrite. The legend goes that it was featured in a movie by Ean Mering titled All Over Again, though I’ve never been able to verify this point. The song missed No Name Face (they were deep into the Blyss songs and newer rock songs like SSC and Quasimodo), but was tracked for Stanley Climbfall with what Jason describes as a “weird carousel theme”. They shelved it when it got too artsy, and revived it with John Alagia in 2004 while working on the yellow record — this third version had strings by the legendary Oliver Kraus, and became the song as it is now known.

    Spin
    Written 1997, released 2002
    Spin began as an early poem of Jason’s, written near the beginning of the Blyss era but lacking a bridge — Ron Aniello helped him write one, turning it into a song and setting it up to be the first track off Stanley Climbfall.

    Wish

    Written 2001, released 2015
    
I’ve mentioned this in past posts, but Wish was written in 2001 and demoed for Stanley Climbfall, before being shelved for over a decade. Jason began working on the song again in 2012 for Paper Cuts, and finished that version of the song in 2013. The band once again totally overhauled the song for OOTW, and we are blessed with three versions of a fan favourite.

    Storm
    Written 1997/1998, released 2007
    Storm was initially featured on Diff’s Lucky Day, and wasn’t played in concert until it was requested at the Cleveland House of Blues in May 2005. Jason played the song there, and began to incorporate it into his set once in a while, and the band ultimately tracked the song in 2007 while finishing Who We Are.

    Crash and Burn

    Written 2006, released 2010

    Crash and Burn was a song written during the Who We Are era and used for soundchecking during their 2006 tour. The original version included a longer instrumental intro and several pre-chorus lyrics that were ultimately removed in an early-2009 revamp. The band began playing the song as part of their set that year, releasing it as a bonus track for Smoke & Mirrors in 2010.

    By Your Side

    Written 2006, released 2010

    By Your Side was written during the Who We Are sessions, and copyrighted alongside the bulk of that album. Jason said in an interview that they tried twice to record it and weren’t satisfied with what they had found, electing to pause developing it any further. After they invited a fan with declining health to their studio in 2009, whose family heard and loved the song, they decided to record it with her present and released it on Smoke & Mirrors in 2010.

    Central Park

    Written 2007, released 2015

    Jason wrote Central Park and Sink or Swim on a songwriting trip to New York the fall after Who We Are was released, and the band tracked it for Smoke & Mirrors before putting it on hold. J recorded the bulk of the song at home making Paper Cuts, before the band filled it in and re-recorded some parts for OOTW.

    Let me know if anyone knows of any other songs that skipped an era or two — it’s always interesting to hear what wasn’t scrapped but rather “paused” because it didn’t fit something but was too good to give up.

    posted in Lifehouse
  • RE: Future Wars (EP)

    My attempt at lyrics for a few tracks (in addition to yours @shawn, which I agree with; things I'm feeling more unsure of are italicized 🙂

    Limelight Parade:
    All these smiles look afraid
    All these miles of masquerade
    And all the while we've been played
    In a sea, blue and grey (?)
    Feel all spotlights (?)
    Turning shadows

    Welcome to some limelight parade

    Young Bloods:
    Young bloods, no one feels like letting down (?)
    Running for the exit signs,
    Tryin' find a new (lost love)
    Young bloods,
    Tryin' show the world what you're made of
    Old kicks tryna make the climb, tryin' find a new (lost love)

    A Couple Runaways:
    We'll been running down the ghost town
    Feelin' like we are close now
    The coast is all clear
    Watching the world disappear
    Yeah, you're my kinda trouble
    Yeah, we're both on the level

    posted in ØZWALD
  • RE: Future Wars (EP)

    @shawn nice, no problem! I asked them on Instagram and they said it was written a while after SD and HM, for a short film called On The Rocks (they were commissioned to write a “record’s worth of songs” as a film score, and liked them enough to release them). It seems to be touring some film festivals right now which is cool.

    Not sure if it’s actually synthwave or just inspired by that era of 80s music. Either way, some of the most unique vocals I’ve ever heard Jason be a part of, and something new and cool for both of them.

    posted in ØZWALD
  • RE: Future Wars (EP)

    @luiz4folks Young Bloods is definitely a top ØZ song for me, along with Fall, Fall, Fall, Requiem VII, Time, Tech Sky, Young Suburban Minds, and the These Days cover.

    posted in ØZWALD
  • Future Wars (EP)

    Unexpected release! ‘Future Wars’ is a five-track EP out today. In May 2019, these song titles (except Smithereens) were published on BMI, so the songs would have been written soon after the first album (though likely recorded later, similar to how Head Movies was written before Born in a State but released six months later).

    Very, very different sound than anything they’ve done to date; I kinda love it. A lot of synthwave vibes going on here. More upbeat and mucch more rock than folk. I particularly like Young Bloods and A Couple Runaways.

    Definitely gonna be on repeat today; anyone who isn’t an Ozwald fan, give this one a listen and you might change your mind about them:)

    posted in ØZWALD
  • Garden of the Sun (ØZ 7)

    Long time all,
    Yesterday Jason announced online the title for the seventh (!!) Øzwald record, 'Garden of the Sun'. The album art is being designed by collage artist Inga Markstrom. No further information at this time... I like this title!

    Absolutely wild that once this comes out, there will be as many Lifehouse albums as there are Øzwald albums. I'm much more into most of the Lifehouse stuff than I am into the duo stuff, but I must admit that I listen to my least-favourite LH records less than I listen to my favourite Øz albums. Curious to see where they take this.

    They've also announced a double album, which will be a compilation of Beatles covers: 'OZWALD Sings the Beatles, vol i & ii'. All the songs they've released so far will be included, as well as several new ones. Jason's been into this stuff for over 20 years so it only makes sense that this is the platform by which tribute can be paid... I'd love to see an Elliott Smith cover album next 😉

    posted in ØZWALD
  • RE: The Great Big Music Trivia Thread

    Happy Monday! Today's interesting piece of trivia is a two-parter. Both Lifehouse records released under Dreamworks, NNF and SCf, had tracklists that were reworked prior to the albums' respective releases. These are known as 'Advance' copies in Dreamworks-speak, and they can shed interesting light on the process of making the records that otherwise wouldn't come to be. Let's go through 'em 😎

    No Name Face, before it had a name:
    $_57.JPG

    Jason's said before that the album was otherwise almost finished when HBAM was written, and that he was tracking vocals for Somebody Else's Song the day he sat down and created the song. What's interesting to me is that the record name seems to have come later – this copy of the album has no title and contains WWWT as a thirteenth track, nestled in between Quasi and SIB. But wait, there's more! Check out the reorganized tracklist... Only One and Trying are moved up and swapped, changing the feel of the first half of the record. Also note that WWWT seems to be 22s shorter than the version that made it onto the HBAM Single (which was 3:54), unless this was a typo. SSC is also a bit longer, at 4:31 versus 4:23... perhaps they sped it up for the final release? Cling & Clatter was slowed, and Breathing is 4:18 instead of 4:25, a significant enough difference that it must've had a fade or an extra bar or something added in. Super nerdy but it's fun to geek out 😉

    Stanley Climbfall, four months before its release:
    alt text
    As for SCf, some of us have seen this before, but The Beginning was the last track written and Wish was a placeholder for a while. This album was closer to the final, except for one difference: My Precious and the title track (the two softest songs on the album) were in opposite places. I've been listening to it this way for a couple of months now and honestly prefer it – I never really liked My Precious because to my ears, it didn't fit with the nine songs that came before it. But moving it up allows for less build-up, and it's a nice change of pace from AIEGFO that would've come before it. Interesting!

    Bonus trivia piece: the self-titled album has no record of the tracklist ever almost being different, but The End Has Only Begun was originally simply titled, "The End". A fitting nod to "The Beginning".
    alt text

    posted in Lifehouse
  • RE: Demos Vol. 1 - Review & Discussion

    @snowfist said in Demos Vol. 1 - Review & Discussion:

    Woah a great read you guys. Love to see your reviews in this demo. Apart from the obvious favourite - The Place that I Fit In, I really like All The Same for its sinister undertone (like Goodbye). I wish Jason produce more songs like this.

    IIRC, Jason wrote hundreds of songs during Almeria-OOTW era right? Wonder if we can listen to some of them some day? I know most fans don't really like Almeria too much, but it always has a soft spot for me. I really like the vibe it brings, just the lyrics are such a letdown.

    Thanks @snowfist! It's a lot of fun really breaking these down – been a busy month so I think my next one will be an EP (sorry for the wait @shawn).

    I remember reading that Smoke & Mirrors was whittled down from around 80 songs to the 18 that made the record in some capacity. Not sure about the Almería sessions, but I know that Jason was working on Paper Cuts around the same time so it's possible that that figure includes the Almería tracks (14), the Paper Cuts tracks (14), and the OOTW tracks (another 15 new). The story goes that while finishing Paper Cuts, he started another solo album that he then brought the band onto, which ended up being "Seven" and renamed to OOTW. I remember him registering Hurt This Way, Hurricane, Flight, Yesterday's Son, Runaways, Central Park, Alien, and Hourglass with BMI all in mid to late 2013, and since Central Park was initially on Paper Cuts, it seems like he had even decided that it was going to be grouped with the new batch of songs a whole year before Flight was first released.

    The only straggler that we know about from that era is a song called "LAX", which presumably is the airport code for Los Angeles International. Jason once mentioned that the sessions for OOTW included a song that felt too forced and poppy, so they scrapped it – I tend to think it might've been this one. Or it became My Universe 🤣

    posted in Jason Wade