One of the joys and benefits of writing for a community-oriented site like Blogcritics is that you build a history. I’ve recently topped 800 articles since I joined the site in August 2004 and looking back through them is at times horrifying – please, someone tell me I’m getting better at this — and at other times an interesting time traveling experience through my musical obsessions.
There was the Great Springsteen madness that brought me hours of joy and ire on-and-off throughout 2007-2009. There have been explosions of blues obsessions going back to 2007 and really taking root late last year and throughout this year. Before all that, there was my gushing about Guster obsession. I mancrushed on their music so hard I think I’d walk the other direction if I were to happen upon Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, Brian Rosenworcel, or Joe Pisapia on the off chance they are aware of my virtual stalking of their music.
Time marched on and other obsessions took hold of me but I never forgot Guster or Ganging Up On The Sun. It’s been four years since that masterful record but they are back! They have offered fans the chance to download a song from Easy Wonderful, due Oct. 5, called “Bad Bad World.”
When most bands go “political,” you can count on a song filled with dour bitching. Guster doesn’t really do explicitly political music (despite being committed to environmental activism) so it shouldn’t be surprising when they do a song that has a “current events” feel that they’d do it in their own manner. It’s refreshing in these troubled times to not only hear someone sing “It isn’t such a bad, bad world” but to do it with cheerfulness, energy, sincerity, and effervescence.
The lyrics matter with Guster but their real strengths lie in their sense of melody and use of harmony. How does “Bad Bad World” rate on those two scales? Their marvelous sense of the harmony vocal has always been part of their sound and “Bad Bad World” is bathed in them. They’ll regret the Beach Boys-esque falsetto “ooohs” before the end of the tour when they have to hit them every night. We fans will embarrass ourselves trying to hit them at all. It took a couple listens for the melody to hook me but there is an infectious bounce in “Bad Bad World” even if it isn’t immediate or obvious. No, it isn’t such a bad, bad world afterall.
The point is, break’s over. You’ve had four years off. Guster is back and I’m ecstatic. I’ve bought my tickets to their Nashville show. Let’s do this thing.