Search - Five for Fighting :: Two Lights

Two Lights
Five for Fighting
Two Lights
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

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CD Details

All Artists: Five for Fighting
Title: Two Lights
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 9
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 8/1/2006
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Adult Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 827969447123

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CD Reviews

Familiar sounds from Five for Fighting...
A. G. Corwin | 08/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"John Ondrasik, the mastermind behind Five for Fighting, clearly never met a piano ballad he didn't like. Following the successful formula he developed on the mega ballad Superman (It's Not Easy) and the follow-up hit 100 Years, Ondrasik delivers a new album full of sugary ballads and gentle falsettos of the kind that hit the charts on earlier albums. Like those other albums however, Two Lights has only a few standout tracks and not as much of the diverse sound one hopes for on a new record.

"Freedom Never" is a somewhat weak opener that is entirely too soft musically but sentimental enough lyrically to make it difficult to dislike. "World" is the kind of beautiful ballad sure to be a hit and one of the standout songs on the album. On "California Justice" the band tries but fails to capture the sound of Counting Crows; despite similarities with Adam Duritz's voice and style, the song just doesn't work. Solid first single "The Riddle" is commercially viable, full of hooks, and laced with sentimental lyrics sung in Ondrasik's warm falsetto. "Two Lights" is the most elegant track on the record, a story of a father and son surrounded by layered strings and piano. This track is the kind of great track you wish the album had more of.

The second half of the album shows the band being a bit more adventurous. "65 Mustang" is the most different and most admirable track. This sound is a departure from the rest of the album, and thus stands out nicely. "I Just Love You" sounds like every other piano based ballad, but "Policeman's Xmas Party" comes across like a bizarre genetic cross between Devo and Sheryl Crow. "Road to Heaven" is another solid ballad, this time with keyboards instead of piano. The closing track "Johnny America" is another Crows sounding track, but this time the layered harmonies on the chorus and a Billy Joel piano sound produce a solid and enjoyable closing song.

Produced by Ondrasik and his fellow bandmates, Two Lights is a technically competent album clocking in at a touch over 43 minutes. Production values are solid, and the instrumentation is layered elegantly. Fans of the band will find enough on the album to be pleased, and radio will find several singles that will sell, but the obvious comfort level Ondrasik has with ballads renders this a good album that doesn't distinguish itself. In the future I hope someone takes away his piano for a while, gives him an electric guitar, and tells him to rock out and venture out of his comfort zone. The talent is there, but one can't live on ballads alone. This album is better suited to individual track downloads rather than a full album purchase unless you are a big fan.

A.G. Corwin
St. Louis, MO
"
Great Storytelling That Grows on You
Greg Robertson | Historic Quincy, MA | 08/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"My primary recommendation for enjoying the album "Two Lights" is that you put it into your iTunes mix (or your CD player) and just let it play without focusing on it. Why? Because most of the songs here start a little slow in comparison to, say, "Superman" or "100 Years," so it's easy to think, "Man, he's lost it." When I just let the album play and got busy with work, though, after a while I found myself repeatedly pausing to listen and think, "Hey, that's good...who is it?"

The savior of this album, for me, is the lyrics. That is, most of these are great stories relating to family or the state of the U.S. and the world. "World," in fact, is all about deciding what kind of world you want it to be, because your choices make a difference. "Johnny America" and "Freedom Never Cries," on the other hand, are about the impact of America on the world -- good or bad. While "The Riddle" focuses on what a father teaches a son about living life and "I Just Love You" rings particularly true to anyone who loves a wife, husband, child, or parent well beyond the point of having particular reasons for doing so.

That said, "California Justice" and "Policeman's Xmas Party" don't do much for me, but they're OK. "65 Mustang" is light and fun to drive to -- no surprise there. And while I can't blame anyone for thinking, "Get to the point, will you?" on several of the songs, once they get going, they're well worth the listen.

My personal favorites? "The Riddle" (both versions), "World," "Two Lights," and "I Just Love You."

"Two Lights" isn't a really GREAT album, but if you enjoy Ondrasik's brilliant lyrics and light, crisp piano style, you should give this album the try it deserves."
Highlights and headlights
Amanda Richards | Georgetown, Guyana | 08/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The San Fernando Valley can relax again. After suffering the after shocks of the disastrous Ray Romano/Kevin James movie "Grilled", along comes California born John Ondrasik with the save, a collection of songs worthy of printing another batch of "Visit California" bumper stickers. (Ondrasik goes by the name "Five For Fighting", which is normally used in reference to a hockey penalty, but he figured it would be easier for people to remember)

A series of little essays about life in America, freedom, war heroes, vintage cars and what have you, this album was inspired by real life conversations, and is the most personal of his three albums to date. First single "The Riddle (You & I)" is already taking the charts by storm, and justifiably so. He shares a conversation with his son, and sings "Here's a riddle for you / Find the Answer / There's a reason for the world / You and I..."

Other notable tracks are "Freedom Never Cries", a non-political war commentary with the lyrics "I only talk to God / When somebody's about to die / I never cherished freedom / Freedom never cries"; and also "World"; the highway anthem "California Justice"; the title track, and the retro "Johnny America". For pure, unadulterated feel-good listening you MUST try "I Just Love You", and for a quirky change try the reggae-tinged "Policeman's Xmas Party"

The one major failing of this album is that it only has ten tracks, but they're darned good songs, so dust off your Americana collection, get a new flag for the porch, and relax with Five For Fighting in your CD player today.



Amanda Richards, August 1, 2006
"