Collective Soul’s new album Afterwords was released on August 28th on Itunes and at Target. Unfortunately for me, my digital music store of choice, Rhapsody, does not have the new album. So I just decided to listen to the new album in it’s entirety at CollectiveSoul.com where if you click on the boom box on the table in the group picture you can control each track. I was thinking of buying the album at Target but the listing on Target.com says that the album is 31.98 and will be released September 5th. You would think that if a great band like Collective Soul provided you with an exclusive opportunity to sell their new album that they wouldn’t mess it up this badly. Hopefully they recognize their mistake soon and fix it before they lose out on potential sales.
This is the first album I have reviewed in a while but I decided that anything by Collective Soul is worth reviewing and at the very least giving a listen to. The album has eleven new tracks including their newest single, “Hollywood”. The run time for the album comes in at just over 40 mins, a fairly short album with an average song time of about 3:40. This is their first studio album since Youth was released in November of 2004. The album kicks off with “New Vibration”, a song with that classic Collective Soul sound, a solid guitar riff and Ed’s signature voice. Should become a concert favorite similar to “Counting The Days” was on their last few tours. The next song is one of my all time favorites from Collective Soul, “What I Can Give You”. It was one of those songs for me that I just had to listen to it over and over, and made it pretty tough for me to get through the whole album so that I could review it. It doesn’t quite have the epic sound of “Run” or “The World I Know” but it comes pretty close.
It is tough to follow that up but the album continues with “Never Here Alone”, a fun song with an upbeat tempo and a message of putting the pain of yesterday behind you and looking forward to the future. Next up is “Bearing Witness”, also one of my favorites from this album. They slow it down a little bit and create a great love song that is not for everyone. The great thing about Collective Soul is that it is a band that draws in all kinds of fans with their broad range of appeal. They attract fans of hard rock with songs like “Where The River Flows” and “Heavy” and the more soft rock fans with “Needs” and “Run”. The Fifth track, “All That I Know” was one of the songs that they played when I went to their last concert. It really is a great concert song and they had the whole crowd singing the “Do Do Do Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Do”. It a memorable song that can put a smile on your face every time you hear it. “I Don’t Need Anymore Friends” is the next track and a unique one at that. Front man Ed Roland takes a back seat on this track as lead guitarist Joel Kosche sings his heart out. The song itself isn’t anything mind blowing but Joel does a good job taking on the lead vocal job. Placed in the middle of the album it gives the album as a whole a nice break and welcome change for any Collective Soul fan. The seventh track, “Good Morning After All”, is the longest one on the album coming in at 4:23. This song about God and hope is a nice addition to the album.
Yes, you guessed it. “Hollywood”, the eighth song on the album is next. It’s one of those made for radio songs that they really did a good job on. It’s catchy and sure to be a crowd-pleaser just as “Better Now” was for “Youth”. With only three songs left on the album, they give you one more foot tapper, head nodding, song before the slow it down with the last two songs. “Persuasion Of You” has a nice chorus but probably my least favorite song on the album. It’s not a song that I would skip over but I think that the verses just fall a little flat. They bounce back with “Georgia Girl”, a song where everything just seems to fit perfectly together. They add the sweet sounds of the piano in this one and it reminds me of how well the violins fit into “Needs”. They finish out the new album with “Adored”, a great song to finish off a far from disappointing album. A beautifully written love song is the way that all good albums should end and this album did just that.
To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this album. I got a taste of it at their concert this summer but wasn’t sure if Collective Soul still had it in them to put out another solid album. Clearly, I should not of doubted them as they made a great album that, if I ever make it out to Target, I will surely pick up. Undoubtedly, I had my favorites in this album but I have to give them a lot of credit for making 11 more than solid songs. I have a feeling that a lot of these songs will grow on me the more I listen to it. It is clear that Collective Soul has been on the decline as far as mainstream popularity but I hope that all fans of this band give this album a chance because I can’t see how you could be disappointed by an impressive effort like this.
I give “Afterwords” four stars out of five and hope that you give it a listen. Thanks for reading the review and hope you liked it.