With his Live from... EP, Howie Day has just shot himself in the foot. Day's music is the kind you turn on when you're doing yoga in the dark, or writing something that needs melodic background music, or trying to get close to a special person on a summer night without trying to get a little freaky, or even just itching to listen to a good Neil Finn cover. And while I'm more of a lady in the streets and a freak in the bed myself, that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate Howie Day. He's far preferable to his fellow singer-songwriter John Mayer, at least, because he never attempts to pander to young, impressionable teenage ladies...or their mothers.
Yet, gentle reader, I can see you're wondering why I feel Mr. Day has done grevious harm to himself with this EP. It's because these seven songs genuinely demonstrate that Howie Day is boring to see live. In fact, on strength of this record there's a great chance that many people leaving one of his concerts will be mumbling, "I could've saved thirty dollars and listened to the record I already have at home and gotten the same experience."
Each and every song on the EP sounds too polished to merit a live album. The extended jam on "Brace Yourself" in particular does little to excite the listener - echoed lyrics and screams over a bass guitar and drum groove just aren't that interesting after Radiohead. Even the crowd on this disc feels as though it was manufactured in some music studio on the West Coast; when they do occasionally remind the listener of their presence, oftentimes it all feels a little too perfect, with their shrill girl screams and pitter-patter applause. All of this precise, polished atmosphere just makes this reviewer want to remind Howie Day (though I doubt he will ever read this site) what is the most applicable purpose of a live album. So, Mr. Day, sit up straight, take out a pen and a piece of paper and take note. Okay? Ready?
The purpose of a live album is to make an audience desire to see the artist live. When a live album fails to do this, all it appears as is a cheap bid to make an already successful artist some more money in time for the holiday season.
You got that?
Reviewed by Megan Giddings
This review is also posted on The Modern Pea Pod.