Album Review: Let's Be Still by The Head and the Heart

It isn't often that an album sticks with me like Let's Be Still by The Head and the Heart.

Released on October 15, 2013 by Sub Pop Records, the album contains 13 original tracks that generally fall somewhere between the warm lyrics of Damien Rice and the clean vocals of John Paul White.

The lyrical praise does come at a cost as the album is best listened to alone where you can appreciate the songs. With distraction, the songs blend together a bit, only distinguishable by the disruptive songs fronted by Charity Rose Thielen.

In fact, my biggest complaint of the entire work is that Summertime and These Days Are Numbered belong someplace else -- with particular emphasis on Summertime. They're not terrible songs, but they don't sound or feel like the other 11 on the album.

On the contrary, Homecoming HeroesAnother StoryJosh McBrideLet's Be Still, Shake, and Cruel are well worth the 53:16 of album time to experience within the context of the entire work.

And if that isn't enough, the song Another Story was written by Jon Russell shortly after the Newtown shootings and is a song about the catharsis of such a horrible tragedy. Not only have I always had a soft spot for songs with strings, but the lyrics balance the sharp edge of simple, yet beautiful.

In the end, I wish Charity Rose Thielen's songs hadn't been included in the work because the rest of the album is brilliant. Not since Plans by Death Cab for Cutie have I consistently had an album that I listen to from start to finish nearly every day. 

Amid the corporate dreck of over-bassed, autotuned music the industry feeds the public today is Let's Be Still. It's a throwback piece of work where the whole is better than the sum of its parts. It may take another full year before such an artistic treasure is released, but I'm sure The Head and the Heart will still be playing through my speakers when it does.


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