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Live’s V

Fifth Album Full of Love

By Andrew Selbst

Most people will remember Live as the band which wrote “Lightning Crashes”, “Selling the Drama”, and “I Alone”. Though Live’s fifth album, V, is new and interesting, it still cannot live up to the legacy of Throwing Copper.

However, this is not an album without merit. It is comprised of fifteen songs (fourteen and a hidden track), which flow well together. As a whole, the album is Live’s statement that they can change with the times and technology. The album is centrally focused around the theme of the necessity for love in the world. The first few songs set up that need for love. Then comes the frustration at misunderstanding, to which lead singer Ed Kowalczyk says he has an answer. The twelfth cut on the album, “OK?”, shows anger at the messed-up world, which Kowalczyk comes to terms with in the next song, “Overcome.” The last track, “Hero of Love”, brings us almost full circle thematically.

Live has legacy of combining a relatively uncomplicated string of guitar chords and lyrics into catchy rock songs, with well defined choruses and clear lyrics. Some of their lyrics are refreshingly straightforward, demonstrated beautifully by the chorus of their first full song on the album, “Simple Creed”(“Cuz we need each other. We gotta love each other”). The entire song’s message is summed up in two lines.

In contrast to their fourth album, which tried to mimic the style of their first, this album implements interesting new techniques. In “Deep Enough”, Kowalczyk’s lyrics come very fast, and sound as if they were spoken rather than sung. The hidden track is a remix of that same song, but faster and synthesized. The version contains more effects, and Kowalczyk raps the lyrics, a welcome departure from their regular style.

Along with the style changes come a shift in lyrics. Many of the songs on V have more poetic lyrics than tracks those on their previous albums. “OK?” explodes with rage and frustration: “It’s our world and I’m on fire with anger and desire not the kind that they feed to me with their emptiness and greed greed greed”.

There is also more variety on their latest album, such as the ballad “Overcome,” which Live released in commemoration of the events of September 11, and “Intro,” in which Kowalczyk simply speaks the lyrics in a harsh voice.

Overall, Live’s latest album marks a positive change from their first four albums. The band will be performing tonight with Jane’s Addiction at the Centrum in Worcester.