I suppose I am revealing my age by telling you this, but I first
remember hearing Soul Asylum back in junior high - the beginning
of my angst-ridden teen years. How wonderfully annoyed lead vocalist
Dave Pirner was in the "Runaway Train" video. Oh,
and that messy hair and grungy flannel shirt
This was a band
that spoke to my young soul.
I had high hopes when my editor gave me The Silver Lining.
Perhaps this was to be the start of a renaissance in rock music. A
little more anger, a little less screaming and missing entirely would
be that poppy punk from the radio. I've grown out of my torment, so
I hoped that one of the bands I had loved listening to a decade ago
The lyrics of track one, "Stand Up And Be Strong," seem
to be aimed at the struggling listener - a bit of a self-help affirmation
set against the backdrop of music. And it was upon listening to the
lyrics again and again that I knew that co-founders Pirner and Dan
Murphy were still melancholic. "You might just think that
your life has gone on for too long," Pirner tells me. Um, nope,
but thanks for trying to talk me off the ledge, but should I call
a hotline for you? "You might have to fight, you might have to
stand up and be strong," he continues.
I understand that the band has undergone a lot since their last studio
album in 1998, including the death of bassist (and third founding
member) Karl Mueller in 2005, but I just couldn't get into
this CD - the lyrics were aimed at the listener, but I found myself
thinking that this was a cry for help.
In track four, "All Is Well," I determined the real
tone of the album; I learned that "all is well in hell."
Track eight, "Success Is Not So Sweet," continues
the downward spiral. "You could try to save me, I'll try
to save you."
All twelve songs have happy, upbeat beats and rhythms. The
lyrics, however, make me want to weep. It's like listening to
a person with serious problems tell you he or she is fine, but
you can hear the despair and self-deprecation in his or her
Pirner and Murphy are as poignant as ever, but it's in those lyrics
that they fail for me. I felt the storm clouds, but I couldn't find
The Silver Lining. I think old fans are going to feel the same
way. And, as far as new fans, this wouldn't fly with the kids. No
way would this touch the heart of my fifteen-year-old cousin the way
that their old music touched mine in junior high.
1. Stand Up And Be Strong?
3. Crazy Mixed Up World?
4. All Is Well?
5. Bus Named Desire?
6. Watcha Need?
7. Standing Water?
8. Success Is Not So Sweet?
9. The Great Exaggerator?
11. Good For You?
12. Slowly Rising
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