The Best Collective Soul Album to Date

Jul 26, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great mix of hard rock and light ballads

Cons:none, unless you don't like rock music

The Bottom Line: Solid album with a good mix of soft and harder songs, that would satisfy anyone into rock music.

I didn't even know who Collective Soul was until someone gave me the album as a gift back in 1995. I put it in my stereo, and within weeks the album converted me to an avid fan of the band, and of rock music as a whole. It was the most played CD by me and by all my friends (who bought it the second they heard it) all summer '95.

The opening track 'Simple' starts off with a faint distorted melody in the background, then after 30 seconds, the song explodes in a full-driven hard-rock masterpiece. Ross Childress, lead guitar player, sounds his best on this album, and the proof alone stands on this opening track. The song is an instant, sing-a-long classic full of the memorable CSOUL 'hey hey's', and a very powerful ending that always gets cracked every time I hear it.

'Untitled' picks up where Simple left off, and takes the listener on a melodic journey that forces him or her to keep the stereo cracked the whole time. Nothing too heavy here: very catchy, comfortable rock on this track.

'The World I Know' is a 'made for pop-radio' hit that gave Collective Soul huge attention both on radio and on MTV. It is the first ballad on the album. It has depressing, yet reflective lyrics that are sad, yet deep.

'Smashing Young Man' is one the album's best tracks. An excellent melody supported but a drum loop carries this track. Ed Roland's(lead singer) voice goes well with the music, and the guitar solo sounds unbelievable: a great rock tune.

'December' is another ballad, but with more upbeat lyrics, and a better ending. Another big radio song, and with good cause. It is one of those songs you just don't get tired of: a classic.

'Where the River Flows' is the heaviest song on the album powered by a strong opening guitar riff that eventually leads into one of the coolest guitar solos Ross has ever done. Any fan of rock music would like this tune.... well as 'Gel', the following song. 'Gel' has a quiet opening like 'Simple' and powers into a real cool melody, like 'Simple', and a catchy chorus, like 'Simple'. The difference here is that this song has a little stronger sound to it, giving it the edge on radio, and making it a concert favorite for fans everywhere.

'She Gathers Rain' is probably one of the best songs Collective Soul has ever done. Not only does it have cool narrative lyrics with a great chorus, but it has the best Collective Soul guitar solo that I have ever heard. It gives me chills every time I hear: unbelievable song.

'When the Water Falls' continues the 'water' theme this album provides, but this time delivers a slower song that tells a story about 'a picture perfect child'. It is my favorite slow song on the album. Very cool lyrics and nice melody.

'Collection of Goods' plays with the vocals, and gives a new sound to Ed's voice. It is separate from the rest of the songs on the album due to the vocal samples, which really help add to the mood of the song.

'Bleed' is an almost-a-slow-song-but-not-quite song that is carried with a real cool melody. I like it a lot, and it kind of reminds me of 'Where the Water Falls', but with a little more guitar.

'Reunion' is a great ending to the album. It is a blues-ish home-sick song that features an acoustic guitar and a real soothing melody. It brings good closure to an otherwise electric-guitar driven album. One of my favorites.

Collective Soul helped introduce me to rock music in a time when I was just starting to get into the music I enjoy today. I highly recommend it for all people who want a solid rock album with no duds. If you like rock music and want a good mix of heavier (but not too heavy), and softer (but not too soft) music, than Collective Soul's self-titled album, also their best, would satisfy your need for rock.

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