Our Lady Peace

Healthy in Paranoid Times

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In the liners for Healthy in Paranoid Times, Our Lady Peace's first studio album in three years, there's a photo of a wall where facts are scrawled. "Within these 1165 days..." it says, referring to the lengthy time it took to record the album, "11 thousand dollars was spent on food for the band." "2000 hours were spent both discussing and playing music." But then the tone changes. "30 active wars were fought across the globe," "54 million people died from extreme poverty." The list goes on, itemizing everything from how many hours OLP spent on airplanes to the number of North American deaths from cancer. Are we supposed to see the futility of rock & roll in the face of international strife and hunger? That's certainly an honorable notion, but it seems sort of ham-fisted, too, mostly because no one made Our Lady Peace take that long to record their album. But it also has very little to do with the music on Healthy in Paranoid Times. Well, in "Wipe That Smile Off Your Face," Raine Maida does use metaphors of wars and bombs to describe a failing relationship, so maybe he's aiming for some connectivity between the music and those suffering phrases on the wall. Healthy is also a much moodier album than 2002's Gravity. The highlights of that record were the Goo Goo Dolls-ish singles "Somewhere Out There" and "Innocent." Here songs have a tendency to drag on -- opener "Angels/Losing/Sleep" plods along for nearly five minutes, and even the single "Where Are You" -- which otherwise has a peppy guitar line comparable to the Killers -- overstays its welcome with an extended "This could be the best day of your life" singalong. But the biggest problem with Healthy in Paranoid Times, besides its inflated thematic framework, is its lack of distinction. Our Lady Peace has proven how good they are at approximating U2's epic scope with modern rock atmospherics. So why did it take them over a 1000 days to do that again?

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