As many of you know, I go to more concerts than is probably healthy, and in the modern music industry it truly is an amazing find when you get a musician who's genuinely interested in their fans. At a small concert at a dingy bar called Mac's in East Lansing, I had the opportunity to meet one such artist. Back in 2007 I saw Charlotte Sometimes with Every Avenue, I had never heard her music before the show but I was intrigued. Her set wasn't working well (piano issues) and I got the chance to talk with her before the set for about 3o minutes, getting to know an artist always makes you appreciate their music more. I saw her again at Warped Tour '08, and got the chance to pick up some much needed merch and have another brief conversation, what I learned, Jessica Poland is an all around cool person.
Before I get into the review of her new EP "Sideways" let me state that her first studio album "Waves and the Both of Us" is one of my favorite cd's to pop in while driving around during the summer with the windows down. It's an anthem to girl power with an upbeat folk-pop feel. If you haven't heard it in it's entirety you're missing out. All my friends have added the songs to their collection and are the better for it.
That being said I jumped at the opportunity to review the new Charlotte Sometimes EP "Sideways", which is a self-released free EP that you can all get HERE (Do it... seriously, like now!). I didn't know what to expect after downloading the EP, I'd only heard one track before hand, and you'll all be glad to know I was pleasantly surprised. As much as I loved the first c.d. after the past year of lackluster follow up albums from almost every band this year (read: All Time Low, Every Avenue, etc), I'd begun to lower my expectations. "Sideways" has restored my faith in quality pop music.
The first thing I noticed about this album was the perceptibly more acoustic sound, this EP is more "raw" you could say. I actually prefer this to "Waves and the Both of Us" for the mere fact that it allows Jessica's voice to shine through. I also like this cd because I find it more "relateable" than her previous album.
The first track "Bad Bad World" which is all about being told to get over something, even when you're not ready. Not only an homage to getting inexplicably dumped by her record label, but a song anyone who's ever had their heart broken. People often tell us to feel something different than what we do, this is an anthem to say to them "I'm going to feel what I want to feel."
The next track "Better Than This" could be interpreted in so many different ways, which to me is a sign of a great song. It could be referring to any various heartbreak one might face, be it a relationship, a friendship, whatever. Again, this song also features a much more acoustic feel that fits perfectly with the tone of the song.
The title track "Sideways" is one of my favorite on the EP. On the surface it seems like another homage to her lost record deal, but again, anyone can relate to it. This song contained probably my favorite lyric on the c.d. "It's all good 'til it's not."
My favorite song on the c.d. "Call Me Up" (Title track to this post) is a great summer track, it has a much more poppy feel than the other tracks and it has a highly addicting chorus. It's the kind of song that makes you want to jump around, definitely a much needed upbeat song to the c.d.
"Ooh Love" is the only song I had heard before the EP was released and is one of the few tracks that reminds me of her past work. Much more uptempo and filled with various instruments galore. It's one of the shorter tracks and when it's done all you want is for it to keep going. I remember hearing it before listening to the whole album and thinking that this album was going to be exactly the same as "Waves and the Both of Us" luckily I was wrong.
The last track "Hurt The Good" was a risky move in my book, it's by far the darkest most pain filled track on the cd. Which can do one of two things to a listener, make them feel sad, or make them fall even more in love with the cd. In this case, for me at least, it made me just want to listen to the cd again, which is exactly what I did.
If you haven't by now, download the EP, it's FREE why wouldn't you. I will personally guarantee you'll find a song that you can relate to on "Sideways" and it's great to know that you're helping out an artist who's mega-awesome. Once you pick up the free EP go ahead and buy "Waves and the Both of Us" and then get tickets when she heads out on tour again. Trust me, it's totally worth it.