Happy Monday, everyone! I must once again apologize for my few and far between posts lately. Midterms have just passed, and I have been desperately grasping for time to catch my breath after the past two weeks. But I am (barely) back, and ready to bring you back your regular scheduled program.
Like I said, I have had an incredibly hectic couple of weeks with midterms sneaking up on me. I spent every moment possible studying and practicing and memorizing theorems and definitions, which can be incredibly tiresome for just one Math class, let alone four. It is during these frantic study sessions that I am in dire need of music to calm my nerves, since I can’t rely on the promise of a full night’s sleep (at least during the onslaught of midterms).
Kodaline’s debut album, “In A Perfect World,” was that saving grace that I needed to soothe my anxiety in the moments leading up to exams. The band delivers an easy going vibe through their music, utilizing pure acoustic instruments with little to no production. The songs on the album alternate from Indie Rock to Folk, while still working together to form a smart and sonically cohesive album. Now that we are well into the month of February, with the last of the leaves falling from trees and the sun shining higher and longer each day, Kodaline’s music is perfect for inducing contemplation and relaxation.
The album starts out with “One Day,” a song that urges its listener not to waste their life waiting for something to happen, and to just go and make that something happen. This message is pushed forward with soft acoustic guitar strums and a simple beat, incrementally adding on more instruments building itself up into an anthem. The soft vocals of the lead singer, Steve Garrigan, in combination with the ethereal backing vocals help drive the song forward, making it a great introduction to the rest of the record.
Another outstanding track on the album, “Love Like This,” takes on a more upbeat tempo, embracing a fast paced Folk sound. Like many of the other songs on the album, this song starts out with simple acoustic guitar strumming, before delving headfirst into the Folk genre with the addition of a harmonica, whistling, hand claps, and fast-paced percussion. Lyrically, the song talks about being so deeply in love, but still keeping in mind that it could end at any moment. Despite seeing the end in sight, instead of being saddened by the possibility of falling out of love, the subject of the song remains optimistic. Garrigan sings, “I know that a love like this won’t last forever/But I don’t really mind at all.” The optimism of the lyrics and melody are well-accompanied by the instrumentation, which helps bring the positive message forward.
“High Hopes” was incredibly strategically placed to immediately follow “Love Like This.” Like I said before, “Love Like This” talks about seeing the end of a relationship, but remaining optimistic. “High Hopes” takes place at the tail end of a relationship, feeling heartbroken, yet capturing the same optimism of “Love Like This.” “High Hopes” has a much more lonely tone to it, yet Garrigan’s broken voice is picked back up, realizing that the end of a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world. Once this is realized, the heartbreak and loneliness is pushed aside, making room for the promise of being able to start all over.
Finally, one last standout track of the record is the cheerful track, “Brand New Day.” The cheery instrumentation is paired with an equally cheerful underlying subject matter that I am sure many people will be able to relate with. Garrison sings about the yearn to start over and to have new adventures after outgrowing a place that he has been confined to for much too long. He not only longs to get away, but also for someone to share these new adventures with. He paints a vivid picture in the chorus, describing a scene where he flicks rocks at a window, urging its inhabitant to run away with him. The song is best summed up in the lyrics, “If we find gold/Well we’ll just throw it away/We can write stories about the journeys that we made.”
Overall, this album allowed me to escape my own mind that’s been plagued with the stress of school, and pretty much life in general, and all of its curveballs. The lyrics themselves were enough for me to paint a mental picture of a scene from a movie, and the instrumentation helped drive my mind to a different, much more pleasant place. Sitting under a tree, or just strolling around campus from class to class, the music of Kodaline provided the perfect backdrop to briefly allow me to break free from the confinement of academia, and help put my mind at ease. Kodaline has just released a follow up album, “Coming Up For Air,” which I am certain will accomplish the same things “In A Perfect World” has, helping the listener get away from the strains of everyday life.