When I met with Stephen Kellogg last April, he told me that 'Glassjaw Boxer' was their most personal album yet. The songs would merge to create a letter to the world about family, friendships, and life’s experiences. The idea sounded absolutely incredible at the time, which might explain why I was a little hesitant before listening to it. But then I realized it’s Stephen Kellogg; the man whose lyrics have withstood the test of time and never fails to record an impeccable album. Sure enough, the Sixers did not disappoint me.
The record opens with one of my favorite songs, “Sweet Sophia.” From the first few seconds, a piano powered melody haunts the listener. The voice parts further along the song might remind fans of classic Sixers harmony. From the beginning of the album, Kellogg sings some of his most honest and heartfelt lyrics yet.
Next, the title track is one of the most upbeat songs of the album and the chorus is definitely one you will sing along to moments after the song is over. “A Cabin in the Woods” is another one of my favorites. I love the guitar recurring guitar part and the harmony at the end of the verses and the chorus. It goes without saying that the lyrics incredible.
“4th of July” is the story of Kellogg’s life. The song is a nice transition in the record, slowing it down a bit. He sings about mainly his struggles when he joined the band through the context of a holiday. Yet the song is not overwhelming; I am sure almost everyone can associate to it in the slightest way. Another piano driven song, “Sweetest Goodbye,” is a nice balance of Kellogg’s melody. The vocals to this song are very bitter sweet and the tune is both relaxed and catchy.
If you have been to a Sixers live show you can probably recall “In Front of The World,” the song they all sing acoustic accompanied by Keith Karlson’s accordion. I absolutely love this song and I am glad they finally recorded it. To my relief, the recording does not take away any of the song’s magic. The fact that they left the acoustic feeling to it is really nice. This is one of those songs you have to stop and listen to what Kellogg is saying; the message is simply beautiful.
“Milwaukee” picks up the pace of the album. The track represents both the hardships and the rewards of friendships with a touch of piano driven melodies and striking harmonies in the chorus. Slowing down once again, “Father’s Day” deals with the themes of fatherhood. This song is both bittersweet, and heartfelt. The pictures Kellogg sings about are just beautiful; this clearly shows some maturity in his songwriting. The long piano introduction sets the tone of “Hearts in Pain.” Both the melody and lyrics of this song deal with the pain of love. Kellogg’s vocals really get the tone of the song across to the listener, giving them their own share of a broken heart.
“Why Are You Talking To Me?” picks up the pace of the album. This catchy song has a very powerful instrumental part and Kellogg’s vocals are in the higher range. The bridge leading into the chorus is my personal favorite. Finishing the album in a slow note, “Big Easy” has very clear country influences. The repeating chorus at the end is not overwhelming. The harmonies and the acoustics of the song give the perfect closure to the Sixer’s latest album.
This is Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers' most personal record yet. Every song is unique in its own way and worth listening to more than a couple of times. The songwriting and the melodies are Kellogg’s best. This record is one of those that you can turn to for comfort and will never get tired of. He deals with such personal themes in a universal way so everyone can relate to them. Now there is only one thing that I cannot stop wondering, what the boys will do with these songs when they play them live.
Name: Glassjaw Boxer
Release Date: July 10, 2007
My rating: 4.5/5
Cristina Carrazza is a staff writer on Musiqtone. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.