Hints of Things To Come for Collective Soul

Mar 12, 2002 (Updated Mar 12, 2002)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Ed Roland's voice, catchy lyrics and melodies

Cons:Shoddy production, simplistic musical aspects

The Bottom Line: Only buy this one if you already are a fan of Collective Soul. Otherwise, look elsewhere or just get their Greatest Hits.

The first time I heard Shine was on the way to Florida for a family vacation in May 1994. I remember enjoying the song so much that on the way, I was elated to find a cassette single at a gas station. I listened to the lighthearted and upbeat pseudo-rock time and time again. Impressed by itís brightness, I decided that Collective Soul might just have some musical promise.

Like I saidÖthey might.

Collective Soul was around well before they were in the least bit successful. Formed in Georgia by Ed Roland (vocals, guitars), Dean Roland (guitars), Will Turpin (bass), and Shane Evans (drums), the foursome hit it big going double platinum with 1993ís Hints Allegations & Things Left Unsaid. It was by no means a complete album. It was simply Atlanticís attempt to release an easy album consisting of early demos. Shine was the most stellar of these tracks.

This no-muss, no-fuss debut included thirteen tracks. Some were rather bland while others helped to propel the guys to fame. Collective Soul went on to release their self titled second album (the bandís most successful to date), 1997ís Disciplined Breakdown, 1998ís Dosage and most recently Blender. Thereís also a relatively new greatest hits album available for less zealous fans.

Since my first exposure to Collective Soul, Iíve lost a great deal of interest. The first album seemed raw and true. The second one was a likely followup. The three that followed werenít interesting in the least. Musically, the band has gone to mush and thrown any promise that Hints Allegations & Things Left Unsaid presented out the door.

What impressed me initially the most about Collective Soul was Ed Rolandís voice. He has a rich, round tenor thatís uncommon in rock and pop music today. In addition, the songs the band as a whole put together early on were lyrically catchy and musically enticing. Later of course, these same musical aspects became clichťd and in the end had little of note to offer to fans of rock music.

Just two singles were released from Hints Allegations & Things Left Unsaid. The aforementioned Shine is undoubtedly the most important while Breathe also got a bit of airplay in the mid-1990ís. One of the major problems with Collective Soul is that they lack an overall spark. Nothing on this album (or the other one I own) strikes me as different, innovative, or even particularly appealing.

I guess to best describe Collective Soul is to say that they fit neatly into the same category as other bands like Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, and Better Than Ezra. Although, I will also say that the last band I mentioned is significantly more talented than the other four. Anyway, all rants aside Iíd like to talk a bit about this album and what to expect (and not to expect).

Donít expect groundbreaking, new music. Do expect to be entertained by lighthearted riffs and unchallenging lyrics. Donít expect to enjoy this album from beginning to end. Do expect to appreciate a song here and there. For bright spots look toward the mid-tempo modestly rocking Shine, the lightly melodic In A Moment, the introspective and country-infused Heavenís Already Here, and the musically impressive Breathe.

To avoid more annoying offerings, I suggest you hit skip instead of listening to Wasting Time, Sister Donít Cry, Pretty Donna, Scream and finally the repulsive Burning Bridges. These songs arenít worth the three or four minutes youíll spend listening to them. Itís better just to reach for the skip button.

Overall, I think that Collective Soul showed promise. It would seem that based on the success of both Shine and Breathe that they would have more decent tracks in them. Little did I realize in 1994 that the band would completely sell out and would manage to somehow even further water their sound down resulting in a string of boring albums and mediocre singles.

Hints Allegations & Things Left Unsaid is impressive if only for the fact that these songs were not recorded together nor were they ever meant to be assembled on one album. They are demos, and everything from the simplistic lyrics to the bad production points to this fact. I can only give this album 3/5 stars. I think thatís a generous rating as there are more bad songs than good. I will recommend the album conditionally. Only get the CD if you are already a fan of Collective Soul or any of those other bands I mentioned above. Otherwise, youíll be very unhappy.

Track Listing:
1. Shine
2. Goodnight, Good Guy
3. Wasting Time
4. Sister Donít Cry
5. Love Lifted Me
6. In A Moment
7. Heavenís Already Here
8. Pretty Donna
9. Reach
10. Breathe
11. Scream
12. Burning Bridges
13. All

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