This band has, while achieving chart standings (number 1 on VH1 Top 20 Countdown ["Stay"] and creating amazing albums, Life Left To Go and These Times [number 7 on Billboard 200]), remained a secret. I think that everyone can agree that it's fun when no one really knows who one of your favorite bands is, but it is also disheartening; the band deserves so much more. Actually, the band has appeared to be more well known on the west coast than on the east, and their sophomore album did receive a lot more attention than their first album (even though I still think their first was better) but they still have yet to become a household name.
The band (Doug Brown, Dave Garofalo, Jeremy Henshaw, Tate Cunningham) formed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but is now based in Nashville (as all great artists are [Paper Route, GoodNight City]) and has toured with a slew of great artists, including Collective Soul, The Script, 3 Doors Down, Ryan Star, Daughtry, Hoobastank, and Parachute. It would be great to see them live; supposedly, they have great live performances. The band itself is pretty awesome though, and I don't use awesome often (I use fantastic, great, amazing; but awesome is awesome); they are like this wonderful mix of Sleeperstar and The Gaslight Anthem, in that they have this really great rock sound and the vocalists voice is just scratchy enough to be amazing, but in such a beautifully clean and clear form that I cannot get enough of it.
"The Moment" is just such a great song, if only for the line "you will probably end up with someone half as good as me"; I love it. The song has that classic rock beat, but it maintains a clean sound throughout; there is not a line in this song that is not great.
"Someone Like You" is a great song; "If I were strong enough... would you have let me come to be with you," "would you, would you be strong enough too". The music video is just as great as the song, even if it is kind of cheesy. I'm just going to make a blanket announcement that all of the songs on the albums, Life Left To Go and These Times, are great before I reiterate the same phrase throughout this post.
"Down" sounds like the '90's rock songs that bands like Switchfoot or 3 Doors Down used to make and, while "Gone Away" and "Life Left To Go" may be underrated, they are still just as perfectly written and composed as all of the other pieces by the band.
The songs all tie in with each other in a great way; "Anywhere But Here" begins with, "is this the end of a moment" and, though it would be better if it followed the song "The Moment" on the album, it still reiterates that title, tying them together and reminding you of the other songs. It's a form of, possibly subconscious, self advertising, and it's great. The song is kind of fantastic itself though, with lines like "maybe I could be all you ever dreamed 'cus you are beautiful inside... I can't see why I'd do anything without you"; why is this band not more popular? "Find A Way" does the same thing with a simple line like "make you stay" while being directly before the song, "Stay," on the album. Of course, this does not lessen how amazing the song is; "you know I'm going to find a way to let you have your way with me" is just too good.
After all these years (four, five? oh gosh, I'm getting old... relatively) I still can't get enough of this album. I mean, "Stay" is so fantastic; "what did I do to make you say that to me... what can I do to make you say come back to me". "Apology" is just amazing, period. There are no words to describe how great the entire thing is. "Something I Said" has an amazing composition and the lyrics, combined with the breathy intro by the vocalist (which just sounds great with his scratchy voice) makes lines like "I am on your side, no matter what you do" even better. "What If" would be great for the concept alone, but the fact that the band reiterates the phrase, with such honesty, makes it great. There are no descriptions which would make "Annie" sound any better than it already is; beginning with the spoken introduction, followed by every great line and guitar riff after that.
"Get Around This," aside from the great lyrics ("I don't know why I make this hard for you" and the repetition of the phrase, "take me back to yesterday") begins with only the sound of violins, which maintain the same beat and notes throughout the song; I am a sucker for any modern composition which integrates the use of violins into their piece.
"Staring At It" composition sounds a little disjunct at the beginning, but no other sound would work with the lyrics or the emotion surrounding the song. "Never Stop" ties into that '90's rock sound that the band has been able to recreate so easily on both of their albums.
"These Times," the title song of the album, is fantastic; it sounds retrospective and great with lines like "these times will try hard to define me," "I'm only trying to dig my way out of all these things I can't" or "these times are hard but they will pass".
"Believe" sounds like one of the songs from the bands first album; the same thing with "Stranger" and "Crash" (both great songs, especially "Stranger"). Though I am a fan of the bands earlier sound, their newer sound shows just how much they have grown, and I am loving it more and more each time I listen to These Times. "Let Go" is a really great song, with that combination of techno to their rock sound, and the great lyrics (every SafetySuit song, regardless of the sound, has amazing lyrics; just, their lyrical ability is, amazing).
"One Time" shows just how far the band has come, composition wise, since their first album. The song is great and, as always, I love the lyrics. "Things to Say" switches up the composition a bit, adding a country-esque twang, but the combination of rock and country always comes out sounding great; it only makes the band sound more like The Gaslight Anthem on this song. I am not comparing SafetySuit to these bands (Sleeperstar and The Gaslight Anthem) to lessen their greatness (I think SafetySuit is better than The Gaslight Anthem), but only to try and define their sound for someone who has never listened to them before.
If any song is capable of showing the composition and lyrical growth which the band has achieved since their first album in 2008, it is "Life In The Pain". The song is, all together, amazing. "What you don't know, will save you from some pain" and "now you don't have a purpose, you don't let anybody in" are simply fantastic. The lyrics which this band is so adept at creating, in all of their songs, are just awe-inspiring.
"Never Stop" borders on the edge between the sound from their first album, and the sound on their second; as does "You Don't See Me". It makes me excited for their third album, as it sounds like it will be a perfect mixture of the mature compositions of the second album, with the honest and thoughtful lyrics of the first album.
SafetySuit is just awesome. They deserve so much more than they have received and I can only hope that, now that their tour is coming to a close, they are going to begin work on an amazing new album that I will play on repeat, much as I have with Life Left To Go and These Times. There will be at least one song whose lyrics (or composition) will make you stop and fall for the band.