Collective Soul


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Blender it is, though blander might fit just as well -- for all the protestations of good-time recording techniques and the fun of writing and recording this album, it comes across as a carefully constructed piece of pop, ready for radio, dancefloor, and movie soundtrack album (and maybe a shot on Dawson's Creek at the time of release). The music is all very pretty, the songs are professionally constructed, the performances are all tight and efficiently edited, and the entire construction lacks soul of any kind, never mind collective. Aside from the coldly pop nature of the album, there is the duet with Elton John -- for which the mix is inexplicably softened to something approaching the mushy end of AOR, which is very much the place that people saw John inhabiting through 1999-2000. The end result is hardly distinctive enough to be of interest. Another element of confusion comes with the image that Ed Roland and the band have chosen to pursue this time around -- namely, the presentation is straight out of the Y2K boy band image catalog. It becomes seriously mind warping when looking at the interior artwork, where it's obvious that this bunch hasn't been beardless boys for some time. One has to wonder where they thought their market was for this release.

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