Life Will Write The Words is Bryce’s fifth album for his musical project, The Rocket Summer, and while it isn’t too much of a departure from 2010’s Of Men And Angels, the new album highlights a much more mature and personal side of his songwriting.
After releasing his previous two albums on Island Records, Bryce decided to do things on his own this time. As fans of The Rocket Summer likely know, Bryce has always written, played and sung every note on his albums, but this time he also released the album on his very own label, Aviate Records.
Life Will Write The Words kicks off with “Run and Don’t Stop,” the first song that fans got a taste of, both live and as a free download while The Rocket Summer was on tour with Switchfoot in April and May of this year. Though “Run and Don’t Stop” was the first song to have a video made for it, a single for the album has not yet been chosen. It’s not a bad song, but the album only goes up from there. If “Run and Don’t Stop” didn’t hook you, “Revival” will. It’s a fun, fast song with a flowing beat, lots of “oh’s” and a chorus of “Let the revival rattle me and open my eyes.”
“Old Love” is one of my favorites from Life Will Write The Words, about how things have changed over the years, especially when it comes to love. I love the end lyrics of, “Come on give me that old love. Is this chance or a red alert? So come on give me those bright eyes. Teach me how to widen mine. No I don’t believe in the lies that it’s not alive. I had a dream that could save my life,” and the confirmation that love is out there and is real.
“200,000” is another similiar love song, with powerful ending lyrics: “Because all good things come to an end. But the end will be the dirt between us. The end will be the dirt will be the end.” These songs show fans a very personal side of Bryce that hasn’t been displayed so much in The Rocket Summer until this point.
Consecutively placed, “Just For A Moment Forget Who You Are” and “Circa ‘46” provide a similarly hopeful message. “Keep your eyes open where you roam because you never know when your life’s about to change. Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are.” “Circa ‘46” includes the lyrics that give the album its name: “Life will write the words, but you choose your own melody. Yes, life has given me hurt, but I choose my own melody.” These songs are about making it through those hard times and staying positive throughout life’s struggles, a staple of many Rocket Summer songs.
While there are spiritual references and lyrics throughout Life Will Write The Words, I feel that they are more subtle than on Of Men and Angels. “Soldiers” is a folksy and stripped-down song of personal experience, with lyrics like, “If I said it was easy always I’d be lying. Today behind those doors of my heart I am crying.” It’s just Bryce and a guitar, but there’s a full sound to “Soldiers,” complete with different layers and harmonies.
In true TRS-fashion, “The Rescuing Type” is hopeful and upbeat, as Bryce sings, “Be the rescuing type. Be reckless. Be bright,” and about being there for someone in need. The faster tempo of “The Rescuing Type” is perfectly placed between two slower songs in “Soldiers” and “Scrapbook.”
“Scrapbook,” with its quiet piano melody, has some of the most personal lyrics Bryce has written, like, “And up in heaven God called a meeting. And in that space that was next to mine he chose to write your name. I never understood our weather here. Or how together life and death must dance. But I’ll forever be most baffled by the subtle glances from who I landed. What are the chances...” The piano-heavy build-up at the end of “Scrapbook,” is one of my favorite parts on Life Will Write The Words, as the lyrics take a turn away from a love song and into a song about making it through hard situations, “Though the waves will try to pull me away.. either way, I am going to stay.”
If there’s one thing that’s been shown on the previous Rocket Summer albums with final songs including “Christmas Present,” “So, In This Hour...,” and “Light,” it’s that Bryce knows how to end an album on a high note. Life Will Write The Words’ closing song, “Ashes Made Of Spades” is no exception. It’s about moving on from the past and can give you chills as the end of the song builds up while Bryce sings, “Stranded in the streams without a branch to rescue me and pull me from the tormenting. Will I die here in the water? I closed my eyes so I could see then there grew a tree from my belief. Now here I stand with two dry feet, and there my past dies in the water.”
With Life Will Write The Words, Bryce has shown us a more personal and mature side, while still giving fans fun sing alongs in “200,000,” “Old Love,” and “Circa ‘46.” The lyrics are a highlight of the album and its one to take the time to listen to with the lyric booklet. I think fans both new and old will love the first Rocket Summer album Bryce has put out while fully holding the reins himself, and I can’t wait to see what he’s got in store for us next.