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Collective Soul Here to Eternity Review

Making music happen

Upon first listen, I wasn’t impressed. I was looking for a strong start and a statement of intent. As someone that listened to them in the mid 90s and play their songs to this day, I was there when they released their second album and they set a standard and offered something no one else was. An awesome guitar hook along with a singable anthemic chorus.

Something like these songs:

  • Tremble for my beloved (Dosage)
  • Precious Declaration (Disciplined Breakdown)
  • Simple (Collective Soul)
  • Shine (Hints, allegations …)
  • Better (Youth) is borderline shitty guitar but the lyrics are so damn great, the song is a standout.
  • New vibration (Afterwords)
  • Welcome all again (Rabbit album)
  • Cut the cord (Vibrating) has a guitar riff that sounds like they ripped themselves off!

So my initial thoughts after listening to a number of the songs were that I’m not impressed. I was looking for that statement of intent from the kick-off but it actually better the deeper into the album.

Its more of a slow burn.

Here’s my track-by-track analysis:

Classic CS sound in chorus. Guitar underwhelms. Drop D or D-flat riff. Completely diatonic. No surprises.

Another guitar riff that sounds like it was written in 5 mins. Chorus amazing uplifting. Vocals even better. Bridge – lazy guitar. Guitar leads are deep in the mix for good reason, they suck.

Starts with synth bass. Syncopated guitar. Again the vocal melody and build is great CS. No fancy guitar work but the guitar tone is snappy and fits the song really well.

Perfect pop rock. Perfect songwriting.

Huff puff harmonica live recording. Poignant lyrics. Saying we need more activists or at least people that sing about the better parts of humanity and not stand for war.

Lyrically continues from Bob Dylan at first but quickly devolves into lyrics a lot less interesting.

Sounds like different parts that were slapped together. So intro is cool. Verse guitar parts boring and chorus is vocal dominant. I’m very neutral on this side. Don’t like or dislike it.

Cleanest guitar sound I’ve ever heard on CS. Blues funk thingy. This will be very compelling live, not so sure it translates on the album as well but its prob a callback to earliest influences. Guitar break is underwhelming.

I would start with this album to say this is the new terrain they covered. Make this song number one.

Bit of a Beatles vibe in verse. Amazing background vocals. Super melodic. Speaking of the Beatles, something like oblidi-oblida isn’t lyrically deep but it has ear worms galore and will get stuck in your mind for the rest of your life. This song has that level of hook. Absolutely kills.

As an aside, they had a song on their debut album called Sister don’t cry. That was a romp! It was like gospel and rock met. This song isn’t that even though the lyrics are swapped on Apple Music!

This song was the only one I liked the first time I listened to the album. On second listen I love it even more. And no surprise there’s no guitar on it. I mean if you’re going to write shitty riffs, then rather leave the guitar at home.

Sorry I’m still bitching about the guitar parts.

The simple truth is that this song is a goddamn masterpiece.

Throwback to their 2000 Blender album that had some ear candy synths strown in. Nice slow build. All the elements came together nicely. I’m a sucker for positive lyrics and this song has them by the bucketload. For the first time I hear emotion coming through the guitarist’s fingers and Ed’s Oh’s are emotive. All the elements came together nicely and this song is also a keeper.

Awesome falsettos on intro. Great lyrics. For a love song there’s some urgency in the moving this song along. It’s compelling. Seamless transition to the middle 8. Cool spoken third verse. Not too deep but head and shoulders above many of the other offerings on the album. Gave me warm and fuzzy feelings from intro to outro.

Sing along song and chik a chika strumming. For some ungodly reason the vocals are buried so deep in the mix I had to look the lyrics up to get an inkling of what he was singing. Bit bizarre. Close to three min mark the vocals come in with just ‘la dee da la dee da’. Either ironic or unironic that empty words working just as well as many of earlier songs’ actual lyrics.

Sugary love song. Not bad but good God there’s so many like this songs prior to this. I don’t want to dismiss the song as its not a bad song and the chorus is again a nice melodic hook. But its not anything special.

A bit more moody acoustic guitar. Matched by lyrics that have something to say. I’m not sure what that message is but its definitely worth a second listen to try and figure out the meaning. First proper melodic guitar lead break. Fits the song nicely and

Slow paced. Again something happening in the lyrics that I can’t quite figure out and that’s ok. It seems Ed Roland is making a career out of lyrics that serve only as a vehicle for vocal melodies. The whole song and All the lyrics seem to only indicate the fact that we’re living in no man’s land. Whatever that means. The song closes with ‘Jesus prayed a lot, though he too soon forgot, He was living in no man’s land’ That’s a hell of statement because the album feels like its trying to not offend anyone or make a stand on anything except love but this lyric is definitely a bold statement.

Woah, a breath of fresh air. Ed actually sings lyrics that have meaning line after line. “I know that time’s not easily found, I don’t have time in my pocket cause time never sticks around.”  The instrumentation also sounds fresh and dense with a bright acoustic guitar riff that weaves in and out of the song. Even a cello in there. Definitely a keeper.

Its got some mood, its got vibe. Some people will really like this song. The chorus lyrics are a bit bland but its saved by a dirty rock guitar solo at the end.

Very interesting lyrics. Its again about love but love that went wrong. So more like anti-love. The meaning is as disguised as in earlier songs. Another dirty solo but this time it sounds similar to what came before. The love gone wrong lyrics are what saves the song though.

Acoustic. Love song. Last song on the double album. Time and love. That seems to be the theme of this album. Not a bad closer. Big melodies will keep ringing in your mind when you switch it off. Don’t look too close at the lyrics on this one, at first I thought they’re super bland but its actually a beautiful ode. And it made me think that as a closer, this song says look a bit closer. Don’t just dismiss it but give it some time to catch fire.

So they didn’t deliver a big heavy hook. In essence what I loved about their songs as a teenager. I loved that combo of heavy kicking guitar and Ed’s sweet vocal on top. Also when Ross was in the band there were proper solos, now it doesn’t get close to those either.

I remember the ass kick openers on those earlier albums, and it often was followed by another ass kicker. Then it became one kick ass number per album and then it became none. The opening riff of Mother’s Love is just lame.

But the rest of the song holds up.

What it lacks in guitar it makes up for in pure collective pop. The sweet vocals are here in abundance forget about the guitar for a second. There are some classic CS here and I’ll take it what I can get. CS in 2024 isn’t that much different from early CS and I’m delighted to hear that Ed’s voice is as great as ever, he hasn’t lost any singing ability even though he’s 60 now!