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Music Monday: Kodaline album review

Zachary Cole, News Editor

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   After their last album, Coming Up for Air, was released in 2015, Kodaline has released two EP’s and five singles; and finally on Friday, Sept. 28th, 2018, they released their third studio album, Politics of Living. Playing just under forty-five minutes, the album consists of twelve songs.

 

   The album starts with the single Follow Your Fire. The song tells a story of a young love that was ultimately lost. The narrator of the song is asking the subject in question if they chased their dreams. The narrator sings about how great this relationship was. The track is fun, and enjoyable to listen to.

 

   The same can be said for the next song on the album, Hide and Seek. Another lively song, begins upbeat and joyful. Follow Your Fire is a very captivating song, and Hide and Seek is a very strong follow up, but Kodaline keeps it different and engaging with sad and slow songs following.

 

   The track Angel shuffles back to the theme of the entire album– living and life. The song, however, is about death. The song is intriguing, emotional, and fascinating. The beautiful piano, the voice that longs to be with the person they lost, and the poetic lyrics that encapsulate the true feeling of grief– this track emcompasses all of that very well. Angel is the perfect pickup, and keeps the album going strong.

 

   Directly after that, the album starts to pick up the pace again. The track after Angel is Worth It. Worth It takes the concept of never knowing one’s future and puts it in a song. Yes, the lyrics talk about a relationship, but the chorus is so much more. This album is about life, or living, and while love is a driving force in the lives of many, it isn’t life itself. The chorus is the narrator simply saying he doesn’t know what’s worth him trying or not. Through life many people have questions about either themselves or their situation, and song is for them. It is on a level of understanding for those people.

 

   As they approach this level of understanding, Kodaline becomes sympathetic. The third single from the album, Shed a Tear, is a song that tells the listener to be strong, because things do get better. This song is weak comparative to both the album and other songs with similar messages. In the year 2018, every artist has made at least one song about these topics and while the message itself is great, the song lacks the power that it needs to deliver such a message, and frankly, with every feel-good song that comes out, the message gets less powerful. It becomes such a mindless industry tactic to make money, yet people still take it as groundbreaking music.

 

   The music of 2018 as a whole has started to lose the power it use to have, the power to influence the audience. Instead, the audience is influencing the music. In an amazing time of peace and of love, the music is becoming a product of its time.

 

   The following track, Head Held High is the same way. While it is a good and entertaining song, the message is monotonous. The album starts out admirable with different songs and different stories, but this is where the album starts to digress. While the album is supposed to be about life, it doesn’t tackle much about life but rather feeling good about yourself.

 

   This is all from the same band that once made very sad music, and seeing the change in their style is uplifting. This shows that the artist is improving their craft and making music they enjoy. But Kodaline, with this project, is not being ambitious at all. This is an album that plays it very safe.

 

   The song Born Again, however, changes this disappointment. The narrator of this song sings about coming from a darker place, and how someone else brought them out of that. This song is more hardcore than the others. It’s a very passionate song about someone who the narrator sees and looks up to. The person in question is perhaps the same person in the next song I Wouldn’t Be.

 

   After becoming the title track of their third EP, I Wouldn’t Be is a slower song,reminiscent of their previous work, however it is not a sad one. It is calm, a sudden change from the hardcore, Born Again. This song gives thanks to all the experiences of the past, and to the narrator’s family for being there for him. It accepts the past for what it was and thanks it for shaping who they are. It gives the album more substance, and steps outside of where the track was heading.

 

   The song Don’t Come Around also goes back to love, but it’s not a very happy one. While giving off an angry tone if anything, this song is riddled with the pure distaste of someone who the narrator no longer knows. They feel used, so they only ask that whoever is hurting them never returns. This track is not as strong as the other songs on the album, it lacks passion and ambition. Although, it does add more diversity to the other songs on the album, it is still lacking zeal.

 

   The album continues with the first single that came from this album, Brother. Brother is an emotional track, proclaiming a long lasting friendship. The song was actually written for a fan who died at a Kodaline concert. Through this song, Kodaline is essentially saying that they’d do anything for their fans, and that they love them like family.

 

   The album starts to come to an end with the second to last track, Hell Froze Over. It’s a hopeful track that asks the question of, “what if?” This song also goes back to the theme of love, this time being heartbreak. For around half of the album, Kodaline sings about being there for someone, but in the second half, they now need someone, and have no one. That is what Hell Froze Over starts out as. The song picks up with the narrator being all alone, and still wishing more than anything to be with the person who they love.

 

   The last song on the album is Temple Bar. Temple Bar is a place in Ireland, where Kodaline is from. Temple Bar is best known for its party scene, with live music, and very active pubs. This is nothing like the song. Temple Bar is a follow-up song, still feeling very lonely. They wish to go out and have fun with an old friend, or one they used to love. When they get there, alone, Temple Bar has no more meaning. To the narrator, it is now a sad place. This is a very strong finish to an otherwise weak album. The track is powerful, and emotional.

 

   For this project, Kodaline released five singles while the album only has twelve songs. Releasing almost half of your album before your anticipated release is not a good idea on the band’s part. All of the singles were similar to each other as well, they offered no buildup for the album, and made it seem as though there was only going to be one message and one story for the whole album. With this in mind, the album exceeded expectations; but not by much.

   With the direction Kodaline decided to take Politics of Living, they did a good job with it. Overall, the album was still enjoyable to listen to, however, it could have been much better. I am going to give this album a 6/10.

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Music Monday: Kodaline album review