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Collective Soul – Youth
By Zane Ewton

The band that had those songs on the radio that you liked but could never remember the name of has returned. 

Four years since their last album, Collective Soul has returned with Youth, a title that implies a renewed sense of purpose and an excitement for the music.  That is good news coming from one of the more successful bands of the late nineties.  Collective Soul has enjoyed a steady string of radio hits since “Shine” from their debut album. However, the band has been quiet since their 2000 misstep Blender.

The long wait is over and it appears that the quiet period for the band has had positive results as Youth is an upbeat album.  Bandleader Ed Roland has a talent for writing solid, memorable songs.  Unfortunately his albums can be uneven, for every good song there seems to be two or three that are forgettable.  This isn’t necessarily the case on Youth as there are really only two or three weak tracks on the whole album.  

One of Collective Soul's strengths is they have a distinct sound, Roland’s voice and the guitars are some of the most recognizable sounds on the radio in the last 10 years.  The band is at their best when they play to those strengths.  Roland has a habit of making many of his songs too busy with samplers, like the lead-off track “Better Now”, where the songs has too much going on. On the other hand, tracks like “Counting the Days” and “Him” are where Youth is strongest, relying on Roland’s melodies and appealing guitar riffs.

Youth has the high production value of the previous albums.  Roland serves as the producer and each album has the feeling that every note has been accounted for.  Collective Soul has never been a progressive band but they use the tried and true formula so well that it is hard to argue the results.

While Youth is not as immediately memorable as Collective Soul, it is definitely a step in the right direction.  Expect to hear the songs on the radio a lot, as “Counting the Days” is already on heavy rotation.  Maybe you will remember the band’s name this time around.

CD Info 

Collective Soul – Youth
Label: El Music Group
Tracks (according to CD Universe):
 Better Now
There's A Way
How Do You Love?
Feels Like (It Feels All Right)
Perfect To Stay
Counting The Days
Under Heaven's Skies
General Attitude
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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