Raine Maida considers his first solo album The Hunter’s Lullaby to be “a collection of poems set to music.” The album is a departure from the albums he has made with his “post-grunge” band Our Lady Peace. On this album Maida leaves behind his rock influence in favor of style more similar to Leonard Cohen, whom Maida has cited as a direct influence. The album is also somewhat evocative of Lou Reed, both lyrically and musically. Maida uses strings and classical piano throughout The Hunter’s Lullaby as a way of creating a particular mood and atmosphere for the songs.
Lyrically the album takes a very personal and introspective look at Maida’s life. “Yellow Brick Road” (not a cover of the Elton John classic), is a look back at Maida’s feelings about life as a teenager. He reminisces about a young man’s idealistic view of the world. The song fondly recalls a time when jobs, marriage, kids and mortgages have yet to become the main focus in life; a time when someone can still think about how they can change the world. Musically “Yellow Brick Road” is almost a rap song, and is the most hip-hop influenced song on the album.
“Careful What You Wish For,” the song that opens the album, chronicles Maida’s move from Toronto to Los Angeles to pursue his career. Just as the song implies, not everything is the “Shangri-La” he is looking for, as he ends up feeling out of place in a town where “no one ever gets old.” Maida’s wife Chantal Kreviazuk bangs out an intense but monotonous piano progression as a backdrop for the song. The chords are dissonant, representing the feelings of being overwhelmed by his situation. The monotony and dissonance, however, do make the song somewhat unpleasant to listen to.
Maida also spends some time pontificating about the world at large. “The Less I know” bridges the gap between the personal and the political. Sounding like an Irish Folk song with a driving rock beat, the song is a reflective look at the world. Kind of like George Harrison’s “The Inner Light” (recorded with The Beatles) which states, “the farther one travels the less one knows,” “The Less I Know” discusses the realization that the more you find out about the world only leads to more questions. Other songs like “The Rat Race,” “China Doll,” and “One Second Chance” take a more blatant look at politics, society, and the government.