Blues Traveler - Hurry Up and Hang Around
Blues-rock outfit Blues Traveler have returned to their roots on Hurry Up and Hang Around after the experimental record Blow Up the Moon. A modernization of the classic Blues Traveler sound found on albums like Four creates a rollercoaster of emotions found in a varied album. Frontman John Popper expressed the band’s interest in returning to their roots, and the album delivers on that expectation. A little bit of a country flair can be found throughout since the group recorded the album in Nashville and Popper admitted this influenced some of the album.
The album contains varied themes, allowing it to be a more interesting listen than if all the songs sounded the same. “Accelerated Nation,” the lead track, talks about how society is about quickness now, and people cannot take their time on anything. “The Wolf is Bumping” is a bit more country; it would be at home in a NASCAR game soundtrack from the mid-2000’s and is an enjoyable track. Some tracks are a bit more emotional like “Daddy went a Giggin’,” which is about an artist sad that he has to leave his family to go on tour, but then “Daddy’s got the stack and is coming on home,” as Popper puts it. The emotional range in the album from some sad blues songs, to some country jams, and even a couple of ballads like “Ode From the Aspect” give the album a refreshing quality, especially in the latter tracks.
The instrumentals go hand in hand with this odd blend of genres into an enjoyable album. The harmonica famous on many Blues Traveler tracks is found on some songs, usually the more blues-rock tracks like “Accelerated Nation,” yet is not annoyingly overused, something bands with a gimmick tend to do. Impressively, no change in style feels out of place as “She Becomes My Way” and “Ode From the Aspect” is much sadder and somber in style with a focus on acoustic guitar and piano with a more restrained vocal delivery from Popper that creates a dreary mood fitting of these songs. The harmonica is used in the former to accentuate the sad mood throughout.
Being able to blend styles on an album is no easy feat, especially between genres like blues, rock, country and even a little reggae, and different moods: upbeat, melancholy and party music. Blues Traveler manages to do this by not fusing these elements into every song. Rather, they decide to take a risky approach by having a few songs of each genre sprinkled throughout. Also, there is a cohesion between the songs; none feel out of place, which is in large part to the blues influence, singing about problems and sadness, even on the more upbeat tracks. Most of the time, albums with many genres tend to fall flat, but due to this cohesion, Hurry Up and Hang Around is an enjoyable romp.
Blues Traveler does not reinvent the wheel on this album, but they do not need to. A return to their roots allows them to blend the lessons they found on their more experimental efforts with the sound fans fell in love with. This album has love and care put in throughout, shaping it into a great soundtrack for camping, or if you just want some blues in the background.
Owen Paiva is a sophomore majoring in film/video. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Junior / Film/Video