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Soul Asylum “The Silver Lining” Review

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , , .

Soul Asylum releasing new music is a strange thing. It sparks thoughts about a friend you had all but forgotten about a decade ago. You’ve both moved on and neither had since taken the initiative to check in periodically, both content with your current state of living without any burning curiosity as to how the other was doing. Then it comes as a rush, your old friend Soul Asylum is back. There’s been a death in the family and new relationships have been made, but your friend Soul Asylum is still the same as when you two separated.

With initial hesitance your old friend sounds very similar, and despite new words based on new experiences, your friend doesn’t sound as though they have changed all that much. And that bothers you, even if only a little.

When talking to Bill Maher about the band’s new album, the track “Success is Not So Sweet” came up in discussion. There was a surrounding feeling within the band’s members that they needed to leave the scene for a while, which explains the eight year gap between albums, and find a way to make their lives work outside of music. And since the last album’s release the band lost their drummer, who left to play with David Bowie, and their bassist, who died from cancer in 2005. Soul Asylum’s original members continued by suggesting that the music was fun again and that they were performing as bassist Karl Mueller would have wanted. Throughout the brief interview there was a sense that the band is genuinely speaking from the heart when explaining the fresh new album.

Tracks such as “Oxygen” shock as pure examples of what made the band so popular during its prime in the early to mid 90s. That track in particular succeeds an anthem that can be sung along with, finding itself immediately rememberable. But of course, there is the album’s single and guiding light, “Stand Up and Be Strong.” Its lyrics are quite fitting for a band that has seemingly survived against critical failure and a dwindling fan-base.

After the refamiliarization between old friends gets going, it starts to feel like you never forgot about each other; you’ve always been there for each other and you’ve both, surprisingly, grown in the same direction. Initial hesitation aside, you find it gratifying to hear your old friend’s opinions on war, fame and Jesus. At times you might not understand what in the hell your friend is talking about, but that’s always part of Soul Asylum’s charm, at least for me.