From the very first seconds of One Life, the first track on Hedley’s new album, Storms, you know this album will be full of energy and vitality. Last Call is not the mournful dirge you might think from the title – the lyrics are indeed heavier and ‘thinking', but the tune and vocals kick up the energy to keep it from being a depressing song.
I Won’t Let You Go tones down in tempo, sound and vocals; which is great – after the first two songs a respite is a good move. Predominantly backed by piano and strings, the vocals are crisp and sharp and shine.
Hiding Place has hand claps in the intro and more piano which blends nicely with the drums and bass. Lyrics are similar to the previous songs in that they’re personal, and predominantly speaking to life’s difficulties and relationships.
Carry On is probably the most ‘Pop’ song on the album, and sounds distinctly different than the previous tracks – so much so that it threw me for a few seconds. Heavy on gang vocals and ‘ba-ba-ba’ chorus it’s an okay track, but my least favorite.
Acoustic ‘Heaven’s Gonna Wait’ is more in tune with the feel of this album. The deeper lyrics and deeper sentiments make this one stand out for me, as does the stunning vocals.
Invincible is another softer ballad type song, but turns the tempo suddenly and dramatically. The chorus is sweeping and has a hook that is catchy and sing-able almost immediately. Heaven’s Gonna Wait is repeated in a non acoustic version and just doesn’t have the same punch or feel as the acoustic version. I much prefer the first rendition of this song. This version is no comparison.
We Are Unbreakable seems somewhat generic in flavour. It’s your typical pop song heard in any generic club or on any radio station – gone and forgotten with little to attract a lasting impression. Radio friendly yes – but definitely generic.
Young is a fun song – the lyrics are humorous and lighter hearted than all previous songs. A definite party song and Beautiful is aptly named – the guitar picking at the start is well executed and stunning. Softer singing that shows off the quality of the vocals, and a female vocalist make this song its namesake ‘Beautiful’.
The band eventually retuurns back to a harder edge with Bullet For Your Dreams – I like it! It’s got a snap to it that is fresh and just feel good, while Hot Mess is a teenager song for sure – all about getting caught by the cops and partying – again its an okay song, but doesn’t shine for originality in any way.
Stormy ends the album the same way it started – on a high note with tons of energy.
All in all this is a decent album. The less ‘commercialized’ tracks are what stand out to me and give the album depth and spark that makes it worth owning. The more commercialized tracks would be the ones I’d perpetually skip or not include on my iPod. It’s well written, both lyrically and musically, and not overly produced or shined up and spit polished, which makes it a more engaging listening experience. Test it out. See what you think.