"Train's follow up to "My Private Nation" and "Alive at Last" is long-awaited and much anticipated.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Train's new release after a new assembly of band members and the drastic changes in the band, but I wasn't expecting "For Me, It's You."
Called their most "personal" and "most intimate" of all their records, "For Me, It's You" takes Train in an entirely new direction as a band. Gone are the mandolins, the catchy phrases that you're not quite sure what they mean but you love them anyway. Here are the new piano-driven pop songs, accentuated by more electric guitars and an enormous hole where the acoustic sound used to be.
Lead singer Pat Monahan's voice has continued to mature and he sound incredible on this disc. He carries every song flawlessly, creating emotion even if the lyrics are sub-par compared to the rest of the Train canon. I'm amazed at how good his voice continues to be.
New addition pianist Brandon Bush shines on several tracks ("Shelter Me," "Explanation," "Always Remember," "I'm Not Waiting in Line" to name a few), and it's fun to hear a piano so heavily favored in the mix. Bush is a talented, talented keyboardist and Train was fortunate to add him to the band. My only complaint is we don't get enough of guitarist Jimmy Stafford because everything is so piano-driven. Bassist Johnny Colt also makes some changes, as the songs have a much heavier bass influence - which is actually welcome, but again, not what one expects with Train.
The angst that has filled Monahan's life in the past year is obvious in the lyrics of the disc, as many songs address a heart breaking, leaving, or something else ending. There really isn't a lot of hope on the disc. In fact, the cheeriest song musically is the cover of "If I Can't Change Your Mind," all about a breakup because of accused infidelity that really didn't happen. But it's a great song.
Standouts on the disc are "Give Myself to You," "Shelter Me," "All I Hear," "If I Can't Change Your Mind," and "All I Ever Wanted." The latter builds to epic proportions as instruments are continually added and the song finally climaxes in a chorus that showcases Monahan's vocals and the band's beauty, backed by strings. "Give Myself" has such a great message: "When I find out who I am/I'm gonna know just what to do/When I pull myself back together again/I'm gonna give myself to you."
More differences include how the disc is mastered. On past Train albums, Monahan's voice has melded with the instruments. He was an instrument more than a voice. On "For Me," he is the voice. He's mastered more loudly than the other instruments, which works, but it is different than typical Train. My biggest complaint is how straightforward the songs are. One of Train's hallmarks was their depth lyrically. But here it's just absent. Not really any head scratchers, though "Skyscraper" is a great metaphor.
But for the most part it's all out there on "For Me." Also lacking is the band's versatility with different styles, different sounds. When I was about halfway through the album, I started to think I had already heard the songs before. There is nothing breakthrough musically on "For Me," and I'd venture to say it's even a bit boring musically. There are exceptions, "Shelter Me" for example, is a great rocky, groovy little tune that almost has a Paul McCartney influence.
Overall, Train's latest edition is their weakest disc. After all the upheaval in the band, it's acceptable. "For Me, It's You" just doesn't have the Train vibe. This disc is what I would have expected Pat's solo CD to sound like. There isn't anything wrong with that, but it's just not the Train I know and adore.
There are classic tracks on it that will be spun in my changer for a long time to come. But this is not a "Train," "Drops of Jupiter," or a "My Private Nation." There are skippable songs (for perhaps the first time), and there are some songs that just don't quite make it.
For those of you who weren't fans before, I'd highly recommend picking this disc up, because it's different than what you've heard and I daresay you'll like this, since Pat's pretty much flawless and the music is good. For us who are fans, pick it up, because it's Train and it's a good CD, just not what many of us were expecting or hoping for."
Now this is a Train you should be sure to catch
Amanda Richards | Georgetown, Guyana | 02/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the fourth studio album from the Grammy winning group from San Francisco. You may remember previous hits like "Meet Virginia"; Grammy winner "Drops of Jupiter"; "Calling All Angels"; and from the Spiderman 2 soundtrack "Ordinary".
First single "Cab" follows the tradition, with a beautiful rock ballad that you'll be hearing a lot wherever you go. Other songs to watch are first track "All I Ever Wanted"; the melodic "If I Can't Change Your Mind"; "All I Hear"; the "Police" sounding "Shelter Me"; and "Skyscraper" which showcases Patrick Monahan's distinctive vocals; but a few of the tracks sound a little too similar to stand out.
Catch this one before it pulls out of the station without you.
Amanda Richards, February 5, 2006 "
Whose Line? | Boston, MA | 03/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had almost given up hope on another Train album when they went ahead and released For Me, It's You. I had taken a break from listening to their three previous albums and almost forgot that they were still together...shame on me. I find when it comes to Train's albums (and you can let me know if you agree of disagree), each one leaves you with a certain emotion. Their first self-titled release leaves me sort of melancholy, but in a good way. Drops of Jupiter puts me in a very introspective and pensive mood. My Private Nation is much more upbeat and catchy. Lastly, For Me, It's You finds me somewhere in between all of that. Train managed to somehow capture everything they've done right on each of their albums so far and put it all into one helluva solid effort. This fourth release is one that I can really listen to beginning to end and enjoy each song equally. For some reason, Train gets slammed by a lot of critics for their niche status. They aren't really an alternative rock band, certainly aren't straight-up pop, and do have a slightly southern/country feel to them occasionally. Personally, I think it's what makes them so great. Each song is it's own statement, with definitive and thought provoking lyrics, performed always admirably by Monohan, and beautifully layered music that always accents the strong points of each song, whether it be the divine strings of Drops of Jupiter, guitar heavy "All American Girl", or lyrics-heavy ballads like "Skyscraper". The newest release opens with "All I Ever Wanted" is a regret-laden gorgeous tune that doesn't hit its climax until its 2/3 over, and I love the payoff. "Get Out" seems a bit Coldplay-ish, only I actually enjoy Pat Monohan's voice. Oddly enough, the single "Cab" is the song I listen to the least on the album. The song is wonderful, it's just that there are so many that shine even brighter. One of my favorites is "Give Myself to You", with a message that I think so many people can connect with, about learning to take care of yourself before you can really care about somebody else. The best song on the album for me is "Explanation". This is vintage Train right here - tricky, sometimes cryptic lyrics that we think we understand dripping with Monohan's inflection combined with not-too-harsh musical interludes. I can't figure out if I like "Always Remember" or not, with the notes of the chorus being remarkably discordant and odd-sounding. But it's certainly different. The album closes with the groove-heavy title-track "For Me, It's You", a song with a selfless message. I'm waiting for the day that I get out of work and don't immediately summon up "For Me It's You" on my Ipod on the commute home. I know I'll have to tire of it eventually, but for now, I'll just "sit in every bit of it's afterglow." "
Listen to it again
Blue Squiggy | Madison, WI | 06/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've had this cd for several months now, and when I first listened to it, I wasn't digging it. Like other reviewers, I thought a lot of the songs sounded the same and kind of boring. But, knowing that I was going to an upcoming Train concert, I kept listening to figure out some of the lyrics. Then, the strangest thing happened -- the more I listened, the more I liked it. The lyrics are smart, well-written and entertaining. Bottom line -- if you listened and didn't like it the first time, do yourself a favor and run through it a couple more times. You'll probably like what you hear."
Best Train CD - In My Opinion
G. Herrick | Massillon, OH United States | 01/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a LONG time fan of Train, so maybe I'm a little bias. If that bothers you, then I won't be offended if you think I'm full of...you know :-)
I really loved the self-titled album, Drops of Jupiter, and My Private Nation. I really can't say that any one of those albums is much better than the other two. They are all good, and they all bring a bit different style to the table.
As much as I loved those albums (they are all 5+ stars for me), "For Me, It's you" is an album I'd give 10 stars if I could.
The lyrics are thoughtful and meaningful. The instrumentation is superb, and, as much as I love seeing these guys live, the orchestration on some of the songs is amazing.
It's hard to explain it. Just listen to it. I didn't think music could be that great, honestly. I wish I'd heard these songs at earlier points in my life....they really hit home on a number of real topics as the "you" in "For me, It's You" changes throughout the album.
My personal top 3 on the CD (in no particular order): "All I Hear" "Get Out" "Always Remember"
Hope you liked the review guys :-)
FINAL RATING: A whole lot more than 5 stars / 5 stars"