It's Hard Not to Enjoy Something So Good and Pure
Jason N. Mical | Bellevue, WA, USA | 04/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hailing from the vastly underrated and largely ignored (at least by mainstream audiences) Christian Rock genre, The Normals offer an olive branch of reconciliation between a niche genre and the broader "rock and roll" scene. Their sound, described as everything between U2 to R.E.M., is wholly unique, a reasonable feat for any band, and helps make them emissaries between mainstream music lovers and the Christian stations they are largely regulated to. It's a sound that has lent them an air of quality already, with a standing-room-only European tour, albums that reach #1 on the Christian music charts, a team-up with producer Malcolm Burn (John Mellencamp, Emmylou Harris), and an appearance on the popular Dawson's Creek series only reaffirming the band's mass appeal. Their latest CD, A Place Where You Belong (also known as "The Home Album"), moves The Normals into slightly new musical territory. Billed as a true compilation effort between all band members, it sports songs in the traditional style of frontman Andrew Osenga, but gives other band-members their proper due as well. The insert leads more like an Arkansas family tree, and it's difficult to keep track of which musician did what on which song. The effect isn't nearly as jumbled as some might expect; instead, it only highlights the various members' musical talents, and allows them to explore areas they might not have.The CD opens with a traditional ballad, "I'll Be Home Soon," and moves forward into its rocking riffs and high-energy style. Even slower songs resonate with a sense of something special. "Romeo On The Radio" and "King" stand out among a pack of great tunes as songs that become life's soundtrack. That, in essence, is what The Normals offer their listeners: should movies be made out of the lives of ordinary people, this music makes the ultimate soundtrack. The range of emotion expressed (sardonic stoicism on "Happiness"; the cry of the world-weary on "We Go On") demonstrates a sense of class and maturity many bands can only hope for, and it's one that The Normals offer on a regular basis. It's difficult to argue with success, and even harder to argue with sincerity; combined, the two aspects of The Normals make them an act to watch in the future, and enjoy in the present."
True to The Normals
Caleb Chancey | Alabama | 04/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a Normals fan for about 6-9 months now and I was really looking forward to their new albume. I LOVED "Coming to Life" and I was hoping this would be just as good. Well, I was right. This CD (although a little different than CTL) was a major success in my mind! I think in my mind CTL will always be my favorite, but as all music goes, A Place Where You Belong is amazing!Faithful Fan,
Caleb Chancey | 03/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There aren't many albums like this.If you go into it expecting a pop rock album, with a few singles - you'll likely be very disappointed.It needs to be taken as a cohesive album - the songs paint a broad, but still focused picture of a journey. Osenga's lyrics are really in top form, and he's as personally open as ever, but has the usual poetic insights, as well.The basic message is simple enough... We're in a lonely place - and we're all feeling homesick, somewhere. But "I'll be home soon..."The album is about going (finding?) home, and it's something everyone can relate to, Christian or no - his answers might not be yours, but the journey will be familiar, and you might find yourself surprised by how hard this can hit."