Album Review: For Me, It’s You

It should be obvious to most of my readers that I am a fan of Train [1]. This particular album came out in 2006, at a particularly crucial time in my life, and it is an example of an album that matched my mood at the time it was released, and to a great extent that is still true nearly a decade later. For example, first single “Cab” is a song that reminded me a great deal of the loneliness of my recently deceased father, and of my own rather intense loneliness [2]. Other songs reflect a desire for love and intimacy (like the title track “For Me, It’s You,” “I’m Not Waiting In Line,” “Get Out,” and “Give Myself To You”), a desire that is fairly common in my own life and also something that Train sings about a lot. This is a beautiful, well-produced album that has stood the test of time well, and remains as pleasant and lovely now as it is when it was released.

That said, this was not a very popular album despite its virtues. It remains the only one of Train’s studio albums that has not gone at least gold yet, and broke their chain of three straight platinum albums. The failure of the album led to Train’s hiatus, temporary breakup really, and the attempt by the band’s lead singer to have a solo career, one that faltered with his equally unsuccessful “Last Of Seven” album. It took the fluke success of the band’s comeback single “Hey Soul Sister” to bring the band back into popularity and give it a second chance at pop superstardom. That said, this album is definitely one that deserves a look by Train fans who may have passed it by when it was released, even if it is the only album by the band that has lacked a massive hit single. In order to understand this album, let’s give it a brief track-by-track review:

All I Ever Wanted: This song is a pretty standard but well-done pop-rock ballad expressing the feeling that the narrator had “all he ever wanted” with the relationship he had been in, and wishing that did not have to end.

Get Out: This song is a passionate narrative about the narrator’s love of a girl who became a dancer and fell in love with a druggie in Los Angeles, expressing a desire for mutual escape together and his patience with her. It’s one of the more uptempo numbers from the album.

Cab: The initial single from this album, this song uses the inventive conceit of a New York City cab driver waiting for a fare as a symbol of loneliness and isolation in the winter. Given the death of my father in February 2006, and the fact that he too was a lonely driver (albeit of a bus), and the fact that I had been a cab driver as a college student made it particularly appropriate for me as well.

Give Myself To You: The second single from this album, this song manages to combine hooky pop-rock with a white soul rap that reflects the narrator’s knowledge that he has some personal business to attend to but also expresses the author’s desire to connect with someone as soon as that business is taken care of. It’s a mid-tempo song that should have been a bigger hit.

Am I Reaching You Now?: This song, the third single from this album, is a driving country-rock track that expresses the narrator’s dissatisfaction with a relationship where he seems unable to communicate what he is feeling or thinking with his partner. This is a pretty common frustration in relationships that aren’t working well.

If I Can’t Change Your Mind: This is a sad but beautiful track with powerful drum work that expresses the narrator’s desire to change the mind of a departing lover that he was loyal to, with a sense of resignation about the impending end even though he still loves her.

All I Hear: This song is a pop-rock number with a pretty minimal instrumental background parts that asks how many times he must lose someone, the sparse instrumental track showing that all he hears is the suffering and loss in his heart. It’s an effective case of a spare piano rock ballad whose music matches its mood effectively.

Shelter Me: This song starts out with a minimal instrumental track, and its lyrics a little repetitive that seems to make a lot of late 1970’s and 1980’s song references (“Hey, na na na. I’ll make it with or without you.”). It marks the beginning of a trend that will continue in terms of lyrical references in future albums in songs like “Hey Soul Sister” and “Drive By” and also shows a brave and defiant spirit about the breakup presumably represented in other songs from this album.

Explanation: This song has a particularly intriguing bass line but an otherwise pretty sparse instrumentation at the beginning (building as the song goes on) that looks for explanation for what the narrator’s lover has done and looking for the other person to change their mind, even if that seems unlikely to happen. The echo effects on the singing on this song are pretty effective as well.

Always Remember: This song, with more of the occasionally covert white-boy rapping, belongs to that group that seeks to ask a lover to remember him even though their relationship is over again, looking to give encouragement to someone to allow them to go on despite life’s changes. It has a lovely guitar solo in the bridge as well and is a touching and reflective song in an album that can be considered touching and reflective in general.

I’m Not Waiting In Line: This song as some soulful and defiant lyrics, a bit of classy falsetto, and some inspired guitar riffs and drums expressing the narrator’s refusal to wait in love for a lover who plays him and makes him wait in line for her. I can definitely relate to this song, and I’m guessing a lot of others would be able to as well. Of course, the defiance of the song is undercut the song’s last lyrics, “Unless you want me to,” which is ironic and humorous.

Skyscraper: This song is very slow and lovely, looking at how the skyscraper stands tall above rumors and birds of death (namely, crows), with a bit of distorted guitar and singing that show a desire to be above the death and gossip that so often define our lives, as well as a desire to give (and receive) encouragement in difficult times.

For Me, It’s You: This song ends the album on a reflective album, commenting that the narrator is inspired by a particular person, implying that the “you” reflected in various songs stands for the same person. Like “Shelter Me,” this album repeats the “na na na” lyric and also has a sort of gentle rap lyric in parts of the verses and some soulful pianos and guitar fills.

As a whole, this album is a reflective breakup album, ironically foreshadowing the impending (if temporary) breakup of this great rock band. The failure of this album led the band to make a dramatic change in the production of their albums, and also to change their approach dramatically, but the album is lovely and full of touching numbers, features some intriguing and unconventional spoken-verse lyrics, and features a polished and well-produced instrumental arrangement. The lyrics are full of hope despite the melancholy longing and sorrow they contain, and this album was supported by an excellent tour. It’s an album that Train fans should take a second (or first) listen to, especially for the magnificent first six tracks.

[1] See, for example:

http://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/a-musing-on-liner-notes-an-imaginary-history-of-train/

[2] http://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/sometimes-i-think-im-the-only-cab-on-the-road/

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About Nathan Albright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Album Review: For Me, It’s You

  1. Pingback: Album Review: Train | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: A Skeptical Companion | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Hope For The Hopeless | Edge Induced Cohesion

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