Monday, May 14, 2012

Album Review - Train, "California 37"

Megan Purazrang
WCB Music Writer

California 37
Released - April 13, 2012
Producer - Espionage, David Hodges,
Diji Parq, Butch Walker, Gregg
Label - Columbia, Sony
Train has returned to mainstream radio with the release of their sixth studio album titled California 37.

It was as recent as October of 2009 when Save Me, San Francisco the band’s fifth album, lead to the band’s third grammy win for its dominant single and the title of Top Selling Single of 2010, “Hey, Soul Sister.” The album re-established Train’s strength as a rock/pop band that has and continues to survive the modern evolution of music. The other singles released “If It’s Love” and “Marry Me” in what made the album popular. Anyone who was aware of music in the early 2000’s without question heard Train’s infamous hits “Drops of Jupiter” and “Calling All Angels.” 

California 37 is themed to a tee – from the introductory note through each melody and lyrical word leading up to the conclusion, the album is filled with references that state a realization of time and life. These two subjects clearly have infinite meaning and encompassing detail. It is an easy assumption to reach that the three core members Pat Monahan (vocals), Jimmy Stafford (guitar, vocals) and Scott Underwood (drums, percussion) are taking this album to re-check the progression of life circling exclusively around their endeavors.

In order to understand where life is going it is healthy to reference the box of memories as “This’ll Be My Year” the premier song does with continuous movement. The nearly four minute song seems to last only a moment as the melody drives the many year-by-year past memories including the stand out line “Train leaves San Francisco in a 1000 dollar van” in a staccato percussion style.

The current single “Drive By” has taken over the charts without hesitation. The influential boundaries are cross-mixed. With the re-introduction of the successful use of the ukulele in the first few seconds of “Hey, Soul Sister” a Jamaican meets pop sound creates the leading melody, and lyrically it is a story from beginning to end.

The fourth track on the record, “Bruises” features country artist Ashley Monroe singing in slow drawl (similar to the sound of well-known country star Miranda Lambert) duet with Monahan. Lyrically the song focuses on the folk tradition of story-telling as two people catch up on lost time. The song presents another defining factor of a time capsule motif. The Nashville artist’s debut album labeled Satisfied was released in 2009, and in the time between she has worked on several collaborations with big-name artists.The love ballet “You Can Finally Meet My Mom” draws an allusion to the legends that have passed and the importance of spending time with a significant other in the moment of death and there-after.

Train’s album California 37 is a gem that embraces the meaning of life in a way that many bands have not done in recent music. Their honesty in music has proven to shine through in the past. Let’s wait and see what they’ll have to reminisce about in the future.

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