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The Critics Corner: Albums
Easy Wonderful
Guster | Easy Wonderful
Pop/rock trio stay the unique course on comeback album
Name: "Easy Wonderful"
Label: Universal Republic/Aware
Release Date: October 5, 2010
My rating: 3 out of 5

Review by: Ashely Rosenberg
Guster emerged from the underground music scene back in the mid 90’s.  Their music is earthy, thought provoking, and unique.  To create melodies that compliment singers Adam Gardner and Ryan Miller’s voices,  they, Joe Parsipia, and Brian Rosenworcel incorporate many different instruments into their songs along with their standard drums, guitar, and bass.  They are known for being green, environmentally conscious, and for never failing to make music that is deeper than what it seems.

After a four year break full of life experiences, family, and friends, the men of Guster found their way back into writing and recording mode.  With the release of their sixth studio album, Easy Wonderful,  the band will begin touring again, eager to reconnect with their fans and keep their underground sound alive.

The album begins with a song about memories and moments.  Architects and Engineers is upbeat though the lyrics bring a fleeting and longing sense with them.  He has his face pressed against the window trying to keep moments from passing by and is reminded of an old man who now only has pictures to remind him of  memories and times of the past.  Architects and Engineers, he says, create “monuments and souvenirs” which are the things that we use in addition to pictures to remind us of things, good and bad, that have happened in the past.  The happy melody of the song keeps it from being too sorrowful and focused on sadness of moments past.

Do You Love Me, is the first single off of this album.  It reminds me of a song that you'd hear back in the late sixties or  seventies.  The happy, almost weightless tunes expresses the dreaminess of the song.  He knows how he feels about her, and wants to know how she feels about him.  She hasn't said anything yet, but he feels that she feels the same way.  He wants to get into her head, into her thoughts and daydreams and see if his love is reflected in her feelings.

I had a hard time focusing on the third track; not because the song was bad, but because it was very relaxing to me.  I kept zoning out while listening to the drums on On the Ocean; the song itself seems to be a self reflection.  He was trying to make something perfect and finally realizes that it cannot be.  A girl left him, but he tries to hold on even though she is not with him anymore.  She is still there in his dreams, but in reality, life is not what he wanted it to be anymore.  The music had a calming effect kind of as if you were on a boat in the ocean.  It rolled smoothly together, making the song and lyrics flow perfectly.

Track four, This Could All Be Yours is about growing up and things changing.  When we are younger, we don't see the potential of what our small hobbies and jobs could turn into.  Those things that we did for fun when we were younger might just become something very important in our lives.  The dreams that we had could become reality if we give it a chance and work on them instead of just letting them sit as dreams.  The song continues the retro sounding theme; the song almost seems to echo with the music, as if the song is actually an inspiring memory from the past.

Stay With Me Jesus is a beautiful, unique, soothing song about a man who sees the effect that his faith has had in his life.  He notes several events where he sees that there was something divine keeping him safe or keeping him in the right path to preserve his life.  The song is very moving; its the rawness and bareness of the music really bring the perspective home.

The next song, Bad Bad World tries to frame the way that people think about the world in a more positive spin.  Though things aren't so certain in the world at the moment, the world still has good qualities.  There are still people out there looking for peace, to educate, and to bring others together.  Musically, this song is very optimist; the beats and melody bring a sense of happiness and hope, antagonizing the very thought of the world being wholly bad.

This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart is a song about a couple did everything “right” in their relationship and still ended up in heart break.  The song is sung with a sense of complacency and matter-of-factness as smooth music accompanies the lyrics.

The next song is a deep look and opinion on what “love” has become to mean to today's youth. What You Call Love, explains what the growing thought of “love” seems to be.  Though everyone says they are looking for love, many people use it very casually, disassociating it with its true meanings. They use it as an excuse, or a way to get something else and then disregard it when things don't seem to be working out.

I really liked That's No Way To Get To Heaven, Jesus and Mary,  and Hercules, but I am not sure that I completely connected with those songs. Though I was not completely feeling the songs, I did find myself enjoying the music that they created to frame the songs.   That's No Way To Get To Heaven has a very soothing beat while Jesus and Mary is almost militant with a cadence backed by the funkier sounds of the rest of the instruments.  Hercules has a darker feeling to it and is more folky and almost eerie.

The last track, Do What You Want, urges people to do what their mind tells them to.  If it is the right decision in their mind, they should go for it no matter what the repercussions may be.  Those who know them and understand them will support them, and the others who do not should not matter.  Though the song says that no one will care in the end, in reality that is not always the case, but the point remains a real one.  In the end, each person needs to do what he or she feels is right instead of making decisions based on the feelings of other people.

This album had a strong musical base.  The tunes, melodies, and feelings evoked by just the music on this album was very impressive.  It was difficult for me to feel all of the songs in the lyrical sense, but there was not a second of music that I did not appreciate and enjoy.  In true Guster spirit, the songs go deep and will have different meanings for all fans of the band.  The band managed to maintain their unique stylings with interesting combinations of lyrics and music that their fans love and crave.
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